Doug Steele named sole finalist for AgriLife Extension director

Writer: Kathleen Phillips, 979-845-2872,

COLLEGE STATION — Dr. Doug Steele was named sole finalist for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service director position at the Texas A&M University System board of regents meeting today.

The regents may consider approving Steele for the position after the 21 days required by state law for public notice of the appointment with the Texas Secretary of State.

“Dr. Steele returns to his roots in Texas with a wealth of experience that comes from his varied roles in education and administration across the nation,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences. “His proven leadership and communication style will be critical to future success in securing funding, creating partnerships and growing collaborations for A&M AgriLife efforts.”

Dr. Doug Steele (Photo courtesy of Texas AgriLife Extension Service)

Steele currently is vice president for external relations and director of Extension at Montana State University. He also currently chairs the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, which provides leadership and direction to the national Extension system.

As AgriLife Extension director, he will be returning to lead the agency where he started his career in 1981 as an assistant agent for agriculture and natural resources in Potter County.

    “The general principle that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom continues to have a profound effect on the mission of Extension,” said Steele. “The success in completing the mission and vision of any institution is incumbent upon shared governance, valuing everyone’s contributions and adequate support for identified initiatives. Excellence is obtained when objectives are clearly stated, accountability factors are understandable, and there are open lines of communication.”

From 1985-88, Steele served as AgriLife Extension agriculture program director in Hutchinson County before going to Texas A&M to work on his advanced degrees. There he was an Extension associate for community and economic development from 1988-90, and an AgriLife Extension 4-H youth development specialist and assistant professor from 1990-93.

    Steele then went to Purdue University as Extension 4-H youth development specialist and assistant professor in the College of Education from 1993-1997 and to Colorado State University as assistant director of Cooperative Extension and state 4-H program leader from 1997-2004.

Montana State University hired Steele as vice provost and director of Extension in 2004, a position he held until assuming his current position in 2010.

Steele earned his bachelor of  science in animal science and agri-business from Panhandle State University in 1981, his master of agriculture in agronomy and horticulture from West Texas A&M University in 1985 and his doctorate in educational human resource development from Texas A&M in 1992.

He has been a speaker at Extension and university conferences throughout the U.S., is widely published in his area of expertise and has served in professional and community leadership roles throughout his career. More information is available at


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