Dr. Keith L. Smith retired June 30, 2015 after serving as Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration, the Director of Ohio State University Extension and Associate Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU). He was appointed Director and Associate Dean on July 1, 1992. On July 23, 1998, Dr. Smith was named as Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration, and on July 1, 2006, he was appointed as Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership within the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership (ACEL).
With over a $70 million budget, OSU Extension is an organization with nearly 800 faculty and support staff, who design and deliver educational programs to the more than 11 million citizens of Ohio. The programs focus on agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, youth development and community development. As Director, Dr. Smith is responsible for the entire operation of the OSU Extension organization, including budget development and management, legislative contacts on resources and programs, personnel policy development, and coordination with other agencies.
As Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration, Dr. Smith extended his duties beyond the college as he interacts with the university and community at large as a representative of the Vice President. In his role as Associate Dean, he was responsible for recommendations to the Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the college concerning allocation of funds, selection, promotion, and remuneration of Extension personnel, and provides leadership in both program and policy development.
As Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership, he continues to collaborate with Extension Education faculty in mentoring faculty, and designing and conducting research and scholarship, especially in the area of leadership. He is also responsible for creating graduate and in-service programs for Extension to attract participants from across the nation and for developing seminal literature that will influence Extension Education practice throughout the country.
A native of Utah, Dr. Smith received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Agricultural Education from Utah State University in 1974 and 1976, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University in 1980. Dr. Smith began his career in 1973 as an agriculture science teacher in Brigham City, Utah, followed by two years as a vocational agriculture teacher in Orem, Utah. He joined the Utah Cooperative Extension Service in 1976 as a county agent in Cache County, Utah. In 1978, he moved to Iowa State University as an instructor and Extension associate while working on his Ph.D. He came to OSU in 1980 as Extension Leader for Personnel Development and Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Education. In 1989, he became Associate Director for Extension.
Dr. Smith is a professor in the department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership (ACEL) at OSU. He has authored/co-authored numerous refereed articles and papers in the areas of leadership, teaching and program development. He has served on copious university, college, professional, regional and national committees. Dr. Smith was nominated and received the National Distinguished Service Ruby Award, Epsilon Sigma Phi (Cooperative Extension Professionals’ Organization). He served as chair for the national Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) for the year 2003-2004. Dr. Smith participated as a fellow in the Kellogg Food Systems Leadership Institute – a training ground for future high-profile leaders in the university setting.