Ohio State University Extension Director Rennekamp to step down

Roger Rennekamp

COLUMBUS—Roger Rennekamp, associate dean and director of Ohio State University Extension, will bring his 40-year career in Cooperative Extension to a close on July 31.

Rennekamp has served Ohio and its citizens since 2016 as the 12th leader of OSU Extension, which has an office in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Specializing in agriculture and natural resources, Ohio 4-H youth development, community development, and family and consumer sciences, Extension educators bring the knowledge of The Ohio State University directly to Ohioans.

During his tenure, Rennekamp has been responsible for a number of positive organizational changes. “Dr. Rennekamp has forged a large number of new partnerships that have served to heighten awareness of Extension’s mission among both internal and external stakeholders,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Rennekamp also led a comprehensive restructuring of OSU Extension, CFAES’ outreach arm, that aimed to eliminate inefficiencies and expand the voice of county-based personnel in organizational decision making.

Some of his other accomplishments while at OSU Extension have included increasing the starting salary for Extension educators, streamlining the promotion process for nonfaculty educators, initiating Ohio State’s Community Engagement Conference, and creating an Extension internship program. Additionally, Rennekamp was responsible for using an issue-based framework for communicating the value of Extension, bringing a renewed focus on talent development within the organization, and introducing a new videoconferencing platform that allowed for enhanced communication and saved Extension personnel both time and money.

Rennekamp was also responsible for the Extension Endowment Initiative, which resulted in record-breaking philanthropic support for OSU Extension.  

He earned his bachelor’s from the University of Kentucky, his master’s from Morehead State University, and his doctorate from Ohio State.

During his career, Rennekamp has held a variety of positions at land-grant universities, beginning as a county Extension agent in Kentucky in 1979, then working as a program specialist in program and staff development at the University of Kentucky. Since 2005, he has served exclusively in administrative positions, first as state 4-H program leader and department head in the College of Education at Oregon State University. He later served as the associate dean for outreach and engagement at Oregon State’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences immediately before his current role at Ohio State.

Maintaining a strong professional presence outside of Ohio, Rennekamp has also served on numerous national committees and task forces, and as chair of the North Central Cooperative Extension Association. In 2017, he was named a founding fellow of the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship, and he became Ohio State’s site director for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Food Systems Leadership Institute after previously participating in the program as a fellow.

“Please join me in thanking Dr. Rennekamp for his service as associate dean and director and wishing him all the best,” Kress said. She plans to announce an interim director of OSU Extension soon.

Sherrie R. Whaley
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Cathann A. Kress