Stokes to join Office of Engagement

After working for many years in outreach and engagement efforts in Louisiana, Hawaii, areas in the Pacific Rim, and in Colorado, Ashley Stokes is eager to follow her passion for connecting with students, faculty, and Colorado communities.

Stokes, who currently serves in a leadership role in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University, will join the Office of Engagement as Assistant Vice President for Engagement and Deputy Director of CSU Extension.

Ashley Stokes, Assistant Vice President for the Office of Engagement, Colorado State University, June 15, 2016
Ashley Stokes, Assistant Vice President for the Office of Engagement, Colorado State University

Leading initiatives in food, ag systems

Stokes will transition into her new role on Aug. 23, and will lead initiatives in food and agriculture systems, while she continues to foster connections among Colorado’s agriculture, natural resource and other stakeholder communities.

She has also been tasked with championing applied research, campus curricula and student learning opportunities with external partners, and will advance the Office of Engagement’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Stokes will work closely with leadership in developing strategies for university-based extension that broaden and deepen engagement across all eight colleges at the university.

‘Passion for engaged scholarship’

“Ashley has a passion for engaged scholarship,” said Lou Swanson, vice president for the Office of Engagement and director of Extension. “She will serve as a partner and provide leadership in the continuing expansion of CSU’s campus, state and global engagement and outreach.”

Engagement and outreach is central to Colorado State University’s land-grant mission. In 2006, CSU created what is now the Office of Engagement (OE) to renovate and infuse a culture of innovation into its engagement divisions, to create new pathways for the people of Colorado to access its talent and creative culture, and to create a comprehensive engaged 21st century land-grant university.

OE has successfully brought forward a blended model of engagement, which meshes the multiple capacities of divisions including CSU Extension, CSU Online, the Colorado Water Institute, and the Office of Community and Economic Development as well as international initiatives focused on university-based extension. The Office of Engagement connects communities around shared solutions through education, research and leadership.

Listener, thinker, doer

“My goals are to continue to make the Office of Engagement and CSU Extension relevant,” said Stokes. “We do this through effective communication, shared goal-setting, and growing long-term relationships with our stakeholders. I describe myself as a listener, a thinker, and a doer. By spending time with our partners, being thoughtful and practical, and then acting to affect change, we can enhance our relationships and effectiveness.”

As a land-grant university, Colorado State offers a balanced program of teaching, research, extension and service. It holds exclusive statewide authority for programs in agriculture, forestry, natural resources and veterinary medicine. And Stokes has lived the land-grant mission in previous roles at Louisiana State University and the University of Hawaii.

“My work in Extension in Hawaii included undergraduate and graduate students, faculty from various colleges on campus including research faculty, stakeholders, community leaders, and state legislators,” said Stokes. “The work we did to support many aspects of agriculture across Hawaii and the Pacific region also had many positive impacts for those communities.”

Stokes currently is the Assistant Dean for Veterinary Admissions and Student Services in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Prior to joining CSU in 2015, she was Interim Associate Dean/Director of Extension at the University of Hawaii. Stokes received her D.V.M./Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and was on the faculty at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. She earned her bachelor’s of science at the University of Alabama.