URBANA, Ill. – A passion for continuing education, innovation, and educational leadership brings Pamela Vaughan-Sturgeon to her appointment as University of Illinois Extension county director serving Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie and Shelby counties.

Extension offers practical resources and accessible programs that help people learn and solve problems. The role of county director is to ensure that outreach efforts meet the specific needs of the communities.

“County directors wear many hats,” says Antonio Franklin, associate director of field operations for Illinois Extension. “They are the backbone of Extension, and we rely heavily on their leadership.”

County directors are responsible for local program management, personnel management, interpersonal effectiveness, organizational leadership and development, fiscal management, and facilities management, Franklin says.

Sturgeon has her doctorate in leadership and higher education administration from Indiana State University and a master of science degree in family and consumer science from Eastern Illinois University. Her focus is one of educational inclusiveness and innovation. She previously served as academic dean and executive director at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at Philadelphia University.

“It’s always been about research-based education for me,” Sturgeon says. “I hope to foster interactive, inclusive connections in our community, across units, and throughout the state.”

With a background in hospitality, conference and workshop development, and online learning innovation, Sturgeon is equipped to do just that. Her list of professional accolades is long, including the first instructor to offer an online course at EIU. She played a significant role in implementing the institution’s online degree programs. 

Happy to return to hometown Charleston and closer to family, Sturgeon says she has “come full circle”.

“I grew up knowing Extension as just a part of life,” she says, recalling her mother’s 4-H roots and grandmother’s active involvement with Home Extension.

Sturgeon looks forward to lending her continuing education expertise to develop more workshops and learning opportunities for local residents. She encourages others to “embrace our differences and find ways to make them work for us.” Her base office will be at the Coles County Extension Office in Mattoon.

About University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension is the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, offering educational programs to residents of all of Illinois' 102 counties, and far beyond. Extension provides

WRITER: Liz Smith, Media Communications Coordinator