After nearly 10 years as the New York State 4-H Director, Andrew Turner ’88, MPS ’98, is moving into a new role as director for Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) beginning Dec. 1.
In this episode of ‘Extension Out Loud,’ Turner shares his vision for moving the organization forward and his deeply personal connection to and appreciation for the CCE educators across the state who selflessly drive and embody CCE’s commitment to New York state communities.
Turner was prepared for his new role by a lifetime of personal and professional experiences. A third-generation extension professional, Turner has led NYS 4-H since 2014, providing program leadership, professional development, and support for one of the largest and most diverse 4-H programs in the nation. Prior to that, he spent two years on campus as CCE assistant director for field operations and communications.
However, it is Turner’s boots on the ground experience at the county level that he says has most prepared him for his role of director. That journey began in 1989 at CCE Rockland County where Turner worked as a 4-H educator for nine years before serving as executive director for CCE Greene County for 14 years.
Turner says having experienced CCE at different organizational levels, as well as being a Cornell graduate, has had a profound impact on the way he views the reciprocal relationships between communities, local CCE educators, and extension faculty and researchers on campus.
While appreciative of CCE’s rich history of serving New York communities, Turner also acknowledges the need for extension to adapt and embrace new ways of reaching people. Still, Turner emphasizes the importance of maintaining the human element as part of extension’s two-way exchange of ideas with communities. “We're not information providers only, we're community builders,” he said. “And that happens through collaboration and context and embracing diversity, finding a way to engage all the people.”
Download the podcast to learn more about Turner’s perspective on the future of CCE and extension work as well as his deep admiration for the educators who drive and define CCE’s work across the state.
Paul Treadwell is the host of the 'Extension Out Loud' podcast and a member of the CCE Communications team.