eXtension Honors Four Champions

eXtension recognized four individuals who have been deemed “instrumental in the creation and development of eXtension.” Recognized as eXtension Champions were: Greg Crosby, National Program Leader, USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture; Karen Hinton, Dean and Director, University of Nevada Extension; Craig Wood, eXtension Associate Director for Content Development and Kevin Gamble, eXtension Associate Director for Technology.

Greg Crosby

Since the beginning, there have been many people who have played a critical role in the eXtension story, and perhaps no one has had a more important role than that of Greg Crosby. Since being asked by Colien Hefferan, former administrator of USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (now the National Institute of Food and Agriculture) to serve as the agency’s liaison to eXtension, Greg has been instrumental in the development of the Initiative. He helped organize and produce the 2004 eXtension Pre-Select Business Case, the plan CES Directors and Administrators used to base their decision to develop eXtension. Since then, he has contributed to all other eXtension implementation and strategic planning efforts. He actively serves as a member of the eXtension Governing Committee, Directors’ Council, and Finance Task Force and his efforts have led to a significant integration of eXtension into NIFA. Today, many NIFA National Program Leaders serve as liaisons to Communities of Practice, and eXtension is a critical component in many NIFA competitive grant programs. Yes, he is a cheerleader, a partner, an instigator, a schemer, and a leader, but that’s what it takes to be a champion, to be an eXtension Champion. It’s believing in the cause and the willingness to go the extra mile to make it happen. This is the story of Greg Crosby and why he is an eXtension Champion.

Karen Hinton

As Dean and Director of the Nevada Cooperative Extension, Karen Hinton has a vested interest in eXtension. She knows that for eXtension to work it requires wise investments by Cooperative Extension in return for real value for those its been designed to serve. As a past member and Chair of the eXtension Governing Committee and eXtension Foundation Board of Directors, and a current member of the Directors’ Council, Karen has been and continues to be an good steward for Cooperative Extension in the development of its 21st Century network. Every step along the way she has provided leadership and guidance while representing the views and needs of the CES. At home, she has encouraged and incented Nevada CES faculty and staff to participate in eXtension, while at the same time relying on and using the expertise of Communities of Practice to serve Nevada citizens. Nevada Cooperative Extension is also using eXtension to leverage and develop local educational partnerships. Championing a cause is not just about believing, it’s about acting upon what you believe. Karen decided long ago that eXtension could help transform Cooperative Extension, help the organization work more efficiently, provide needed educational resources and services, and save the organization money. Yes, she is a believer, a leader, a wise counselor and spokesperson that understands that eXtension is an integral part of Cooperative Extension. This is the story of Karen Hinton and why she is an eXtension Champion.

Craig Wood

The strength of eXtension is found in its ability to serve the public. Today, with over 60 Communities of Practice at work, eXtension provides access to thousands of pages of content and programs, learning modules and courses, Ask an Expert services and the engagement of audiences through social media. Only a few short years ago, eXtension and Communities of Practice were a concept yet to be proven. Our success to this point owes in great part to the leadership and hard work of Craig Wood, Associate Director of Content. From the beginning, Craig has demonstrated a spirit of partnership, collegiality, and collaboration along with a “can do” attitude. He has been able to cultivate these same qualities within the content development team and together they foster and nurture the development of Communities of Practice. Craig, who always seems to be on the go, engages Cooperative Extension staff and partners nationwide with ever present grace, trust and a sense of humor that makes eXtension fun for all those listening and participating. Being a champion is not just about believing in the cause, it’s about being able to convince others to join that cause and to make it their own. Yes, Craig is a leader, a spokesperson, planner, teacher and doer, and that’s what makes him a true eXtension Champion.

Kevin Gamble

Today’s world relies on technology to function. Imagine shutting down the network at our universities or for that matter in our financial, transportation, medical, or information industries, just to name a few. You can clearly see the enabling affect of technology and how it touches each and every one of us in what seems like every facet of our lives. If you think about it, it’s what led Cooperative Extension to envision and develop eXtension. From the beginning, Kevin Gamble has understood the importance of technology and how it can be used to enhance the mission of Cooperative Extension. Kevin, and the engineering team he has assembled, have developed and continue to support a state-of-the art technical infrastructure anchored in the values of Cooperative Extension: openness, transparency, collaboration, community, scholarship, trust, and engagement. He is responsible for a culture of developing and launching applications quickly, adding value to them on a continual basis, and integrating new technologies when they will add value to our work. He’s always looking for better ways of doing business and is never shy about challenging us to work differently. Being a champion requires that we stay sharp and push the envelope and that’s exactly what Kevin helps us do. Yes, he’s a visionary, leader, teacher, and always on the move, and it’s what makes him an eXtension Champion.

The Champion Award is determined by the eXtension Governing Committee. The awards were presented on June 29, 2011 during the National eXtension CoP Workshop in Louisville, KY.