On June 30, 2020 Chuck Ross stepped down as Director of UVM Extension, having served in the position since February 2017. Organizational achievements during Ross’s tenure include design and adoption of a comprehensive strategic plan, development of $1.5 million in new Extension funding, launch of the Forest Watershed Management Partnership, and help securing the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) funding for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). In addition, he maintained a national Extension presence and recently led the effort to create the Climate Collaborative within Extension, an initiative designed to address climate change by leveraging Extension’s unique expertise with research, education and technical outreach assistance throughout the country.
Leslie Parise, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will serve as interim Extension director. Parise came to UVM in mid-May 2020, having had a very successful career at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). For the past decade, she served as the chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, which currently ranks fifth in the United States for National Institutes of Health-funded (NIH) biochemistry departments. Parise brings an impressive skillset to CALS including support for entrepreneurship, technology transfer and student success (at all academic levels); high level academic and administrative leadership; and commitment to application and translation of research to benefit society. Her continuously funded cardiovascular and cancer research portfolio included more than $14.5M from NIH.
Because leadership of UVM Extension is highly critical to the success of CALS, the University, and the state, there will be a national search for the next Extension Director. Specific details will be available when a search announcement is made.