Michigan State University Extension is under new leadership. Last month, Quentin Tyler was named director after serving as the interim director. His roots in extension go back to his days as an intern at the University of Kentucky.
“I worked as an agricultural agent intern for the summer in my home county of Christian County, Kentucky—a really robust agricultural county and community,” he said. “It opened my eyes to all the possibilities, to the tradition and background of extension. I had a very tenured agent I worked under to show me the ropes, and I got to spend a lot of time out in the community and witnessing firsthand the impact of extension.”
Tyler has been with MSU since 2018. He has three main areas of focus at the helm of extension.
“With COVID, how can we successfully transition back to business in terms of offices, face-to-face programming, creating a space and place where folks can be successful, and meet the needs of the community,” he said. “Second is that a lot of times we continue to think about proactive—as we talk about filling the gaps and reaching out to non-traditional audiences, but at times we do forget what made extension who we are. While valuing and honoring our past and respecting those traditional programs, but also looking to new and innovative ways to reach our clientele.”
And third, he wants MSU Extension to increase their visibility on a state, national and global level.
“We have some amazing leaders in our counties, as our institute directors, as our district directors throughout the whole organization, and people need to know who they are,” said Tyler. “A lot of times people will say extension is one of the best-kept secrets, but my goal as the leader of extension is to embrace that and make sure that people know who we are and what we do.”