Director of Extension Takes on New UNL Roles

LINCOLN, Neb. - The founding executive director of eXtension has returned to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in a joint position involving integrated technologies and online education.



Dan Cotton assumed his new positions as UNL Extension's director of integrated technologies and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources' coordinator of online education Jan. 1.



Cotton was hired as the first executive director of the national eXtension initiative in 2004. He led the formation of more than 75 communities of practice, development of several national extension applications including Ask an Expert and Learn and a partnership with the Department of Defense and others to create the Military Families Learning Network.



Cotton received an eXtension Champion Award in 2009 and was part of the eXtension team that received a USDA Secretary's Honor Award in 2009.



Under Cotton's leadership, eXtension connected more than 17,000 extension workers and partners nationwide through content development, expertise sharing and professional development efforts.



"We're pleased to welcome Dan 'home' to take on these new responsibilities," said Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of UNL Extension. "Extension has greatly expanded its use of a variety of technologies to reach our clientele, and Dan will help direct the integration of those efforts."



Steve Waller, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, added that Cotton also will coordinate the college's extensive and expanding online education ventures.



"Dan's national experience with eXtension will serve him well in heading up our online education," Waller said.



Before he assumed the eXtension position, Cotton was director of UNL's Communications and Information Technology unit. He came to UNL from the University of Illinois where he served as director of Extension Information Technology from 1989 to 1996. Cotton began his career in Cooperative Extension at the University of Missouri in 1984.

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