University of Illinois Extension recently announced awards for six collaborative projects, totaling over $1.2 million, to interdisciplinary teams of faculty and staff. The awards were part of the University of Illinois Extension and Outreach Initiative, a special partnership between U of I Extension, the Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), and the Office of the Provost. The six awards were selected from a pool of 71 pre-proposals from 16 different campus units.
“We were very pleased with the number and quality of the proposals we received from across campus in response to this initiative,” said Robert Hauser, Dean of ACES. “The six projects moving forward are outstanding examples of the impact and value that extension and outreach can provide to a variety of disciplines throughout the University.”
University of Illinois Extension is the flagship outreach arm of the University. Extension’s statewide network of educators and county-based offices provide programming in economic development, health and nutrition, agriculture and natural resources, and youth development. Traditionally, most Extension programs are related to departments within the College of ACES. This Extension and Outreach Initiative was aimed at establishing programs with departments and units elsewhere on campus.
Principal investigators and project titles:
- Jon Gant, Library of Information Science and Illinois Informatics Institute, Graduate School of Library and Information Science. “Enhancing Economic Development in Illinois with Digital Tech Hub Creativity Studios.”
- Kevin Hamilton, Department of Art and Design, Fine and Applied Arts. “Designing for Health in Central Illinois.”
- Lenny Pitt, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering. “4-H Computing Connections.”
- Aric Rindfleisch, College of Business. “Marketplace Literacy and 3-D Printing: Enabling Economic Development for Impoverished Communities.”
- Kim Sheahan, Spurlock Museum, Liberal Arts and Sciences. “An Artifact Speaks.”
- Wei Zheng, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Prairie Research Institute. “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products: Extending Knowledge and Mitigation Strategies.”
Hauser explained that the Initiative was intended to expand Extension’s research base across the Urbana campus, raise awareness of Extension among faculty and stakeholders, and advance the University’s land grant mission through new, innovative partnerships.
“This year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Smith Lever Act, the federal legislation that launched Cooperative Extension at Land Grant institutions nationwide,” Hauser said. “We are working to broaden our approach to provide research-based information from the whole University.”
For more information about University of Illinois Extension, visit extension.illinois.edu. University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems.