​​Richard Clark Leads New Combined Unit 


Dr. Richard Clark, UT Institute of Agriculture

​Dr. Richard Clark now leads the UT Institute of Agriculture 4-H/ALEC Department, which oversees the youth development efforts of the Institute.  Photo by R. Maxey, courtesy UTIA. Download image.



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A life-long educator, Richard Clark is dedicating his career to giving young people in Tennessee every opportunity to grow and succeed. It starts as early as the fourth grade and continues through the college years.
Clark recently started work at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture as the new leader of Tennessee 4-H, the youth development program for UT Extension, and Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC), a department in the Institute’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. These two units – service-oriented and academic – have been merged in an effort to better serve Tennessee youth.
“I’ve been involved in 4-H and ag education in some capacity for almost my entire career,” says Clark. “The new department of 4-H and ALEC has the opportunity to serve as a model for other universities for impacting the lives of young people from elementary school through college. 4-H and ALEC have a common, underlying youth development and education knowledge base which makes this merger ideal.”
Clark’s main responsibilities will be providing leadership to the state 4-H staff in Knoxville and county 4-H agents all across the state. He will also serve in an academic capacity, developing curriculum for faculty and students here at UTIA.
“My first goal is to inspire students of all ages to reach for their dreams and empower them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in life,” says Clark. “The second goal is for the department to become a national leader in scholarship related to youth development in both non-formal and formal education. We will continue to engage in cutting-edge research and showcase innovation in university teaching and in outreach through 4-H.”
“Dr. Clark brings a diverse background and experiences that make him an ideal leader for our new 4-H/ALEC Department,” says UTIA Chancellor Larry Arrington. “This newly created department pulls together all of our faculty and staff working in the areas of youth development and leadership. This will allow UTIA to better serve the state of Tennessee – including 4-H and FFA programs throughout the state.”

Clark comes to UTIA from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, where he served as Associate Director of Agricultural Education from 2009 to this year. He also led the Illinois 4-H program during that time as Interim Director. In his career, Clark also led the 4-H program in New Jersey for Rutgers University, and had administrative appointments at Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech. He holds his doctorate from Ohio State, and also has degrees from Virginia Tech. He is a native of Danville, Virginia, and very early in his career worked at the county level in 4-H in that state.
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and outreach through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.
Contact: Chuck Denney, 865-382-8058, cmdenney@utk.edu