URBANA, Ill. – A 16-year veteran of Illinois Extension was selected to lead the organization's educational programming in the state's northeastern counties. Durriyyah Kemp began her duties as assistant director on Aug. 1.
Extension has a local presence in every Illinois county, allowing it to seamlessly link communities, businesses, and the public to the innovative research of the university and its partners. A regional network provides support for the organization’s 650 staff members.
Kemp joined Extension in 2006, first serving in youth development and later in social and emotional learning. She is certified in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and has trained Extension staff in cultural awareness and human behavior to create inclusive and cooperative work environments.
Kemp serves on the National Urban Extension Leaders steering committee, as well as the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy’s diversity, equity, and inclusion action team.
“Extension staff members are fully invested in learning and understanding the needs of the unique communities they serve,” Kemp says. “Our staff delivers information-rich experiences transforming how communities look and feel and how individuals live and work.”
Kemp says a priority will be to create new funding streams to elevate Extension work in the region and establish deeper connections to people and communities.
“County-based staff need the resources and encouragement to thrive and remain on the cutting edge of community needs” Kemp says. “As assistant director, I must ensure the environment is ripe with support for sustainable excellence.”
Kemp says she hopes to create a culture of excellence.
"Communicating a clear vision and priorities will be critical," she says.
As the outreach arm of the state’s land-grant university, University of Illinois Extension translates research and knowledge into practical applications for Illinois residents to help them create solutions to local challenges.
Kemp is joined by two other assistant directors. Janice McCoy will serve as assistant director for the northwest and west central Illinois counties. Doug Harlan will serve as assistant director for the central and southern Illinois counties.
ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.
WRITER: Judy Mae Bingman, Illinois Extension Marketing and Communication Manager