Dr. Laura Stephenson will serve as assistant dean


Dr. Laura Stephenson
​Dr. Laura Stephenson will serve as Assistant Dean for UT Extension and lead the Family and Consumer Sciences programs statewide. Download a high resolution photo.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Laura Stephenson has a new challenge and focus in her career – building stronger families in Tennessee.
The veteran academic administrator is the new assistant dean for UT Extension – heading the Family and Consumer Sciences Unit, which includes agents in all 95 counties in Tennessee. UT Extension FCS includes professional specialists and agents who work in such areas as health, housing, parenting, money management and nutrition.
“UT Extension is highly respected across the nation for a strong commitment to excellence for the people they serve daily,” says Stephenson. “It’s an honor and privilege to begin a new phase of my career serving and leading agents, the state staff and our local stakeholders in moving the mission and vision of Tennessee FCS forward.”
Stephenson joins UT Extension after 25 years with University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension. Her most recent assignment was Assistant Director for FCS Extension Programming and she also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Family Sciences. She was involved in a number of unique projects such as educational programming for grandparents raising grandchildren, studying the dynamics of drug and alcohol abuse and its impact on families and a recycling effort to reduce waste in landfills.
Stephenson also worked as an FCS agent for Clark County, Kentucky, and taught high school home economics for 5 years in Monticello, Kentucky. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in home economics education and vocational education from Eastern Kentucky University, and her Ph.D. in gerontology from the University of Kentucky.
“Through my professional experiences – teaching, serving as a county agent, district director and program leader – I’ve had wonderful opportunities that shaped my perspective of our profession,” said Stephenson. “As professionals we bring a unique holistic approach to our work as we focus on the family by building the capacity for wise decision-making. We reach families at all ages with real skills in nutrition, financial management, healthy lifestyle choices and human development,” she added.
“Dr. Stephenson’s education and experience provide a sound foundation for leading our FCS statewide programs,” said Tim Cross, dean of UT Extension. “She joins us with a rich background that includes serving in Extension leadership roles at the county, regional and state levels.”
UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the UT Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

Dr. Laura Stephenson, 865-974-7385,