1890 land-grant universities to confront issues plaguing nation’s disadvantaged communities

Monday, June 8, 2009


Administrators and staff of the Cooperative Extension programs at the historically black land-grant universities will tackle the emerging issues of the nation’s underserved communities at the 2009 summer meeting of the Association of Extension Administrators (AEA).


The meeting will be held June 15-18 in Charleston, S.C. at the Charleston Marriott, and is expected to attract representation from the 18 institutions, also known as 1890 land-grant universities. Meeting participants will examine problems that affect their clients, which include families, youth, businesses, agricultural producers and others who have little to no access to social and economic resources. The attendees will explore funding opportunities to help them address issues such as obesity and overweight-related diseases, youth development, economic development, food safety, sustaining small and minority farmers, and managing and improving energy resources with new developments in energy conservation.


Land-grant universities share the mission of improving the quality of life for all persons through teaching, research and outreach or Extension. The schools provide research-based programs and services that are designed to improve the quality of life for their constituents.


“Our clients need us now more than ever,” said Dr. Albert Essel, AEA chair and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences at Delaware State University. “These tough economic conditions require us to employ stringent, well-calculated approaches that will create out-of-the-box solutions to address the needs of our clientele,” Essel continued.


One approach the universities will discuss is developing and implementing regional initiatives. Members of the Association are aggressively pursuing and encouraging multi-institution collaborations.


“By establishing partnerships with other universities; state, federal and local agencies; and community organizations, the Association hopes to increase access to and secure substantial funding in order to maximize its efforts in enhancing the welfare of small farmers, businesses, families, youth and communities, as well as the various types of resources on which they rely,” said Dr. L. Washington Lyons, AEA executive administrator.

The Association of Extension Administrators, which represents the leaders who are responsible for directing the Extension programs at 1890 universities, rotates its meetings at locations near member institutions. This year, SC State University serves as the host institution.

“We are delighted to host such an important event for the Association and to help raise awareness of the value of 1890 land-grant universities,” said SC State 1890 Extension Administrator Delbert Foster, who noted the Association elected to adjust its rotation schedule in 2007 for SC State to host the event this summer. Foster is a member of the Association’s executive committee and holds the office of secretary.

AEA member institutions were established in 1890, 28 years after Congress first enacted the Morrill Act of 1862, which granted funding to states to establish land-grant colleges and universities. The Morrill Act of 1890 provided support for states to create institutions committed to educating minorities.

Universities in the 1890 Land-Grant System are: Alcorn State University, Alabama A & M University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, Virginia State University, West Virginia State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

For more information on the Association of Extension Administrators, visit www.1890aea.org. Details on the meeting are available by contacting Elizabeth Mosely, 1890 Research & Extension communications coordinator, at emosely@scsu.edu or (803) 536-8464 (office) or (803) 378-4781.