Stephenson appointed interim director of UNL Panhandle Center
As the search continues for the next permanent director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center at Scottsbluff, Mitchell Stephenson, Range and Forage Management Specialist at the Panhandle Center and associate professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, has been appointed interim director.
Stephenson had been interim associate director since mid-2020, when Panhandle Center Director Jack Whittier retired. He replaces Jeff Bradshaw, who had been interim director between Whittier’s departure and December 2021. Stephenson’s appointment will allow Bradshaw to return full-time to his entomology program at the Panhandle Center.
Stephenson has been on the Panhandle Center faculty since 2015. His interim appointment was announced by Archie Clutter, dean and director at the Agricultural Research Division of UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“I want to recognize the significant contributions of Dr. Jeff Bradshaw to leadership at the center over the past four years, including as interim director during uniquely challenging times in the past 18 months, and thank him sincerely for his service in these roles,” Clutter wrote in an email to Panhandle Center faculty and staff. “Jeff has indicated clearly his wishes to return a full focus to his faculty role as Extension specialist, and I wish him well as he continues to build his program trajectory.”
Stephenson will continue his programs as Extension specialist. Meanwhile, review of candidates for the open director position is scheduled to begin May 2.
An overview of the director position can be found at https://ianr.unl.edu/panhandle-research-extension-and-education-center-director-search/overview-position.
This overview includes a concise description of the Panhandle Center director’s responsibility to stakeholders and citizens in western Nebraska: “The PREEC director is IANR’s lead for engaging with farmers, ranchers, food processors, natural resource managers and regional economic development leaders, to ensure programs, initiatives, and accomplishments are highly responsive to the Panhandle’s surface and groundwater systems and the integrated, precision cropping and livestock systems they underpin.”
The director will serve a key role in collaborating with IANR academic unit leaders and administrators in Lincoln, as well as Nebraska Extension’s engagement zone coordinators in western Nebraska, who serve as liaisons with local leaders and elected officials throughout the state.
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