Judith H. Jones, associate director of Virginia Cooperative Extension, has been named Interim Director, replacing Steven H. Umberger, according to Sharron Quisenberry, dean of Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Jones, who is associate director for administration will also head up a nationwide search for a permanent replacement for Umberger, who has resigned and asked for a reassignment within Virginia Cooperative Extension. The search for a new director is expected to begin within a few weeks.

"I appreciate Dr. Umberger's dedication and service to Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences," Quisenberry said. Umberger led the development of an agency budget proposal, known as the Critical Staffing Initiative. The initiative is an effort to restore state funding for positions and capabilities that have been lost due to recent budget reductions. Quisenberry said the initiative remains a priority not only for Extension, but also for the college's education and research missions.

"We're fortunate to have someone of Dr. Jones' experience and ability who can step in and provide strong leadership and vision for our Cooperative Extension programs across the state," Quisenberry said.

Jones said, "I will be working with our partners and stakeholders to get their input and to ensure that our programs continue to meet the needs of the people of Virginia. We have many unique and highly valuable educational programs. I will be working with our people here, at our sister institution, Virginia State University, and with our field faculty to continue these strong efforts. I will be supporting them so they can continue to do their jobs successfully."

Jones has more than 20 years of senior administrative experience at Virginia Tech. She was Director of Affirmative Action from 1982-89 and then became Assistant Vice Provost for Virginia Cooperative Extension. In 1990, she was selected as Associate Director of Extension for Field Operations and has spent the past seven years as Associate Director for Administration.

She earned her B.S. degree from Radford University, an M.A.T. in Higher Education Personnel Administration from Virginia Tech and her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of North Carolina.

She also has served as a consultant and teacher for numerous private and public employers on personnel management, team building, effective communications, leadership, affirmative action and diversity, ADA compliance, consensus decision making, and conflict management. She is an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management, the American Association for Affirmative Action, Epsilon Sigma Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Delta Kappa. In addition, she is past president of the Journal of Extension Board of Directors and has served on many regional and national Extension committees.

Virginia Cooperative Extension provides educational programs to individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; 4-H youth development; family and community sciences; and food, nutrition and health.