State Extension director to lead national committee

State Extension director to lead national committee
In lieu of in-person events for small businesses, such as this, Extension is now offering virtual town halls and webinars for small businesses to help them through the COVID-19 crisis. Photo by Donna Morell.
University of Nevada, Reno Extension Director Ivory Lyles is chair of the national Program Committee for the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). Photo by Theresa Danna-Douglas.
University of Nevada, Reno Extension Director Ivory Lyles is chair of the national Program Committee for the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). Photo by Theresa Danna-Douglas.

RENO—The director of University of Nevada, Reno Extension, Ivory Lyles, has been selected to lead a national committee tasked with supporting cooperative extension programs across the country with policy decisions and organizational leadership.

The Extension Committee on Organizational Policy (ECOP) has a handful of working groups that focus on common issues or extension program areas. Its elected members represent 57 state and territorial cooperative extensions. Lyles was selected as chairperson for ECOP’s 15-member program committee, and in that role intends to reshape the role of the committee to increase the impact of extension programs nationally.

“Having national program groups and leaders can really enhance Extension programs across the nation,” Lyles said. “The Budget and Legislative Committee identified seven program areas for Extension, so now our Program Committee is taking the ball and running with it, putting the structure around those program areas to support the entire Extension system.”

The seven program areas for which working groups and leadership are being developed include:

  • Climate 
  • Workforce development
  • Health 
  • 4-H Positive Youth Development
  • Urban agriculture
  • Broadband/Infrastructure (focusing on access and literacy)
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion

Extension leaders and teams already work together, said Lyles. His goal, however, is to create more structured ways for collaboration and cooperation to promote common goal-setting and information sharing.

“Extension is a unique system in the U.S. that takes the research and knowledge of our universities and puts it to work to benefit people from all walks of life in both rural and urban communities,” he said. “Our Program Committee aims to make sure our Extension programs are working together as effectively as possible in order to maximize those benefits to our communities.”

Lyles has worked in the extension system for nearly four decades, including in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Ohio. In Nevada, Extension is part of the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, and Lyles also serves as associate dean for engagement for the College.

Source: UNR Extension