ORONO, Maine — State food safety specialist and UMaine alumnus Jason Bolton has been named associate dean at University of Maine Cooperative Extension. This new position will provide leadership for strategic initiatives within the organization and help build capacity to address state needs.
The associate dean position marks a new milestone for Extension as the organization aims to bring innovative university research to individuals and industry across Maine, with a focus on workforce development and new digital learning opportunities.
Associate Dean Bolton, who officially started Jan. 3, will lead new initiatives for Extension, including a statewide needs assessment, an organizational restructuring, and improved systems for financial planning and reporting.
“Dr. Bolton distinguished himself during the national search process with his comprehensive Extension experience, his ideas for building strong internal teams and external partnerships, and his vision for the future,” said Associate Provost for Online and Continuing Education and Dean of Cooperative Extension Hannah Carter. “I’m excited for Dr. Bolton to step into this role and I’m confident that Extension, the university and the state will benefit from his thoughtful leadership and dedication.”
The new associate dean is responsible for the coordination and integration of Extension programs that address timely issues such as: improving the productivity, sustainability and profitability of the state’s diverse agriculture and aquaculture industries; promoting a safe, secure and nutritious food supply; increasing environmental stewardship; strengthening positive youth development through 4-H programming; and developing new programs that build individual and community capacities.
“I look forward to leading new initiatives, building stronger relationships with staff and stakeholders, and creating new partnerships with the University of Maine System and outside stakeholders,” said Bolton. “My goals are to provide all staff with the resources and systems necessary to offer trusted education to the people of Maine, while also helping to establish Extension as one of the best places to work in Maine.”
This position will serve as a core member of the UMaine Extension leadership team and will be responsible for setting and achieving goals that fulfill Extension’s mission and align with the strategic priorities of the university. In addition, the associate dean will serve as the point person for many of Extension’s Maine Jobs and Recover Plan projects, as well as recently announced projects funded by the 2023 federal spending bill.
Prior to taking on his new role, Bolton served as Extension professor and the state food safety specialist, where he worked with food and beverage companies in Maine and internationally to create food safety plans and develop thermal processes to prevent foodborne illness. Bolton will continue as the area coordinator of Innovation Engineering in the Maine Business School, where he leads a team of faculty that teach courses and programs on systems thinking, idea creation, problem-solving, communication and commercialization.
He was also a cooperating faculty member with the UMaine School of Food and Agriculture, where his research focused on food processing and brewing sciences and where he taught courses on commercial brewing and food safety. In his new role, Bolton will continue to serve as program administrator for Extension’s aquaculture, food, nutrition and innovation programs.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension: As a trusted resource for over 100 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has supported UMaine’s land and sea grant public education role by conducting community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county. UMaine Extension helps support, sustain and grow the food-based economy. It is the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System, where policy, research, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated. UMaine Extension also conducts the most successful out-of-school youth educational program in Maine through 4-H.
About the University of Maine: The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state’s land grant, sea grant and space grant university, with a regional campus at the University of Maine at Machias. UMaine is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. UMaine Machias is located in the homeland of the Passamaquoddy Nation. As Maine’s flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state’s public research university and a Carnegie R1 top-tier research institution. It attracts students from all 50 states and 86 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,571 undergraduate and graduate students, and UMaine Machias enrolls 763 undergraduates. Our students have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers 77 bachelor’s degrees and six undergraduate certificates, as well as more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn doctoral or master’s degrees, professional master’s degrees, and graduate certificates. UMaine Machias offers 18 associate and bachelor’s degrees, and 14 undergraduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine and UMaine Machias, visit umaine.edu and machias.edu.
–University of Maine