Richard T. Liles, Ed.D., has a distinguished record of scholarship and practice in non-formal adult and continuing education. In particular, his contributions to the Cooperative Extension Service have been an integral part of North Carolina State University (NC State).
During his 36-year career at NC State, Liles served with distinction in a variety of significant leadership roles. His contributions to the body of knowledge and practice of non-formal adult education were derived from his position as a practitioner, leader and scholar in the roles of county 4-H extension professional, state 4-H specialist, state director of the Cooperative Extension Service’s Continuing Professional Education Program, interim department head of the Agricultural and Extension Education Department and professor.
Liles is credited with the development of a competency-based continuing education systems model for the preparation and continuing professional education of Cooperative Extension workers. Cooperative Extension is the world’s largest provider of non-formal adult education. In helping extension workers acquire the competencies and skills needed to effectively respond to the complex and changing needs of their publics, Liles has been instrumental in elevating workers to a higher level of professionalism. His Core Competency-Based Model has been adopted and used throughout the nation’s Cooperative Extension Services, the Canadian provincial field-based Extension Systems, the Ministry of Agriculture Extension Systems in Mexico and several other countries
Leading the way in curricula development for non-formal adult education, Liles also designed an Executive Development Leadership Program Model for training high potential administrators in fields of extended education and public service in colleges and land-grant universities. This interdisciplinary leadership model has been field-tested, validated and successfully implemented in preparing practitioners for executive leadership positions in 4-H and Youth Development, as well as middle and upper level management positions in Cooperative Extension, University General Extension, Allied Heath and Human Resource Development.
In addition to his personal research agenda, Liles has directed the doctoral programs and dissertation research for 37 students in adult education. These graduates hold significant leadership positions in adult and higher education dispersed through the U.S.A.
As one of the world’s experts in issues programming and its process, Liles has contributed considerably to the adult education community. Liles has chaired numerous university and national committees related to extension and executive development and is an active member of a variety of professional associations. He has published a variety of papers and articles with a focus on educational program development, and he has co-authored a textbook on agribusiness. Epsilon Sigma Phi awarded him with the Distinguished Mid-Career Award, one of four given nationally in 1989. He also received the prestigious Gordon Lawrence Award from the International Association of Psychological Type, the Extension Leadership Award and the Epsilon Sigma Phi State Award of Visionary Leadership.
In 2006, NC State established the Richard T. Liles Leadership Seminar Series. The seminars are conducted biannually for employees of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Liles holds a doctorate in education from NC State and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of North Carolina.
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