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Cooperative Extension names new dean

Dr. Hannah Carter was recently named the dean of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, effective May 1.

Currently, Carter is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida. She is also the director of the University of Florida’s Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Originally from Caribou, Maine, Carter graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle before going on to receive her masters and doctorate from the University of Florida in agricultural education and communication. She has been a member of the University of Florida community since 1997 and has been very involved in leadership development on state and national levels.

The University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension is one of the 74 land grant institutions that make up the national Cooperative Extension System. The system is a publicly funded education network that aims to partner federal, state and local governments to bring educational resources from universities to local communities.

The UMaine Cooperative Extension focuses on 4-H programs to support youth development and the Maine food system. Cooperative Extension also has a network of offices in different counties around the state where they provide “locally-based solutions for farmers, small business owners, kids, parents, consumers, and others,” according to the organization’s website.

“The overarching goal of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is to help Maine’s people help themselves, through education,” Interim Director of the Cooperative Extension Lisa Phelps, who will serve until the beginning of May, said.

In UMaine Cooperative Extension’s 2017-2018 Annual Report, some of the organization’s major accomplishments were listed as: opening a new diagnostic and research laboratory, hiring an assistant Extension professor and blueberry specialist, and hosting the 11th Annual 4-H@UMaine Weekend that welcomed kids from all over the state.

What changes are to be made, if any, to the Cooperative Extension program has yet to be discussed.

“Once the new Dean arrives she will first need to learn about our organization and the work we are currently involved with,” Phelps said. “The University with the new President is working on a Strategic Vision and Values plan and our work will align with that in addition to addressing the issues and needs of our stakeholders and the citizens of Maine.”

The Strategic Vision and Values planning held several public forums last semester to gain public perspective on their proposed values such as “creating and innovating for Maine and Beyond.”

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