Stephenson Named Director of UK Cooperative Extension Service
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2019) — Laura Stephenson has been named associate dean and director of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. She will begin her duties on Aug. 1.
“Dr. Stephenson’s appointment is one more step in the college’s ongoing efforts to provide the best leadership and fiscal management for a system that is indispensable to communities across Kentucky,” said Dean Nancy Cox. “We are happy to have her back home and excited about the wealth of knowledge and leadership she brings to the post.”
Stephenson currently serves as assistant dean of extension and department chair of family and consumer sciences at the University of Tennessee. However, much of her extension career has been in Kentucky.
She brings an abundance of experience to the system, having served the state as an extension agent, district director and assistant director for family and consumer sciences extension field programs. Stephenson is a strong advocate for county-based programming, building capacity of interdisciplinary faculty teams and engagement of local, regional and state stakeholders.
“The expertise and talents of the faculty, staff and volunteer leaders solidly positions us to build local skills to meet community challenges. Extension is the strong bridge between the university and the people across the state,” Stephenson said. “I am honored to lead the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service’s efforts to serve each of the 120 counties in the commonwealth.”
A transition team will be named soon to assist Stephenson in the many initiatives that will be undertaken in the weeks and months ahead.
Stephenson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Kentucky University and a doctorate in gerontology from UK. She began her career in Cooperative Extension in 1988 and transitioned into leadership roles at UK before leaving for Tennessee in 2013.