Following a national search and recruitment process, Jacob DeDecker has been named director of Extension and associate dean for engagement with the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources at the University of Nevada, Reno.
His appointment begins July 1. DeDecker comes to Nevada from Michigan State University, where he spent the past 16 years building Extension and 4-H youth development programming, most recently serving as associate director of the Children and Youth Institute and the state leader of MSU Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program.
He earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate in animal sciences, as well as a certificate in business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In his appointment as extension director, DeDecker will have offices both on campus in Reno and at Extension’s Lifelong Learning Center in Las Vegas. As the statewide leader of Extension, he will also visit Extension’s many other offices across the state and will serve as a liaison for Extension with many organizations, including the Nevada Association of Counties and the USDA, Extension being a state-county-federal partnership.
DeDecker began his career with Extension at MSU as the 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology program leader in 2006, and became the associate state leader in 2014, before assuming his current role in 2018. DeDecker has provided leadership, vision, and direction to the program’s more than 150 faculty and staff and 10,000 volunteers.
While at Michigan State, DeDecker also supported efforts that extended well beyond Michigan’s borders. His support of international collaborations and partnerships helped to bring knowledge and resources from MSU Extension directly to leaders and practitioners in Guatemala, Iran, New Zealand, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
DeDecker serves on several national, regional, and MSU committees and has taken advantage of a host of special trainings and programs to broaden his knowledge and extend the reach of his work in Extension.
He is a graduate of Coming Together for Racial Understanding, a national Extension program that helps participants develop competencies around multicultural communication and interaction, so that they can help organize, convene, and lead efforts to bring people together for conversations around challenging issues.