NEED welcomes Dr. Lisa Townson (URI) as Board Chair

October 12, 2023

Dr. Bill Miller (University of Massachusetts Amherst) passed leadership of the Association of Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) — and the ceremonial gavel — to Dr. Lisa Townson (University of Rhode Island) on October 12, 2023 at the close of the organization’s Fall Board of Directors meeting.

NEED thanks Dr. Miller for his visionary leadership as Chair for the past year and welcomes Dr. Townson into the role.

As NEED Chair, Dr. Miller led NEED to numerous successes including but not limited to:

  • Expanding an effective relationship with the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture resulting in creating collective 2023 Farm Bill recommendations that were provided to both the House and Senate Ag committees.
  • Developing and publishing the Northeast Agenda with the Northeast Regional Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA).
  • Supporting the creation and delivery of a Northeast Extension Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Workshop, a first of its kind workshop initiated to increase Northeast Extension capacity for professionals across all program areas to understand and utilize DEIJ principles in their Extension work.
  • Creating best practices for member institutions seeking to invest in a Multistate Extension Specialist
  • Crafting two regional impact statements on EXCITE vaccination education efforts and workforce development. View.
  • Convening Extension professionals inform the development of an ultimately successful, application for Regional Food Business Center funding led by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Foundation. View.  
  • Creating the first award to honor innovative urban Extension programs in the Northeast.
  • Funding three multistate urban Extension projects that will have outsized impact on the region’s ability to effectively communicate the value of urban Extension programs, work together to combat food loss and waste, and to empower youth in urban spaces through 4-H.

NEED is excited to see what the next year will bring under Dr. Townson’s leadership. You can read her letter to the region, which lays out her goals and hopes for the year here: