Virginia Tech has named Mark A. McCann of Newport, Va., an associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the director of Virginia Cooperative Extension.

“Mark brings an extensive and solid background in Extension to the position,” said Dean Sharron Quisenberry. “His knowledge will help create a vision for Extension that ensures programming to meet the changing needs of Virginia’s citizens.”

McCann oversees the Extension program, which provides research-based educational resources to individuals, families, groups, and organizations, especially in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development.

McCann began serving in his current post on an interim basis in August 2005 after spending four years as head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

In response to the news that the college had appointed him on a permanent basis, McCann said, “With this announcement comes a greater sense of responsibility and honor.” He added, “We have Extension agents and faculty in 107 units across the state who provide important and needed services, and the knowledge that I am facilitating and guiding their efforts is humbling.”

McCann received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University before earning his Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. He then joined the faculty at the University of Georgia, where he built a beef cattle Extension and research program funded by more than $800,000 in research grants. His work aided the release of Alfagraze alfalfa, Jesup improved tall fescue, and Max Q tall fescue.

Additionally, McCann led cooperative research efforts focused on the effect of cattle management and its impact on water runoff and stream quality. The author of many articles and abstracts, McCann has worked to accelerate the dissemination of information to beef cattle producers through Extension and experiment station publications as well as programs and conferences.

Audio clips of McCann discussing his vision for Virginia Cooperative Extension are available on the Visual and Broadcast Communications website.

Virginia Cooperative Extension operates through a network of on-campus and local offices found in every county and almost every city in the commonwealth, where agents bring the resources of the land-grant universities – Virginia Tech and Virginia State University – to all Virginians.

Ranked 11th in agricultural research expenditures by the National Science Foundation, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers students the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading agricultural scientists. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives students a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. The college is a national leader in incorporating technology, biotechnology, computer applications, and other recent scientific advances into its teaching program.