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Joseph Donaldson, PhD

Associate Professor; Director of Undergraduate Programs

Extension Specialist

202 Ricks Hall


Dr. Donaldson is a teacher, scholar, program evaluator, and researcher. He teaches, mentors, and advises undergraduate and graduate students, and he works with Extension professionals and stakeholders to enhance community engagement and Extension education. 

As the Undergraduate Coordinator for the Extension Education major and minor, he works to prepare future Extension professionals for North Carolina and beyond. He also serves as an advisor to Agricultural Science undergraduates.  

An accomplished Extension professional, he was recognized by the Joint Council of Extension Professionals as the 2015 National Extension Professional of the Year (one of only six national awardees). Prior to NC State, he served as an Extension Agent, Extension Specialist, and Assistant Professor with the University of Tennessee. Donaldson has served in a number of professional leadership roles. He chaired the Research and Evaluation Committee for the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (2005-2007) and served as President of the Extension Journal, Inc. Board of Directors (2013). In 2010, he served as National Chair of the American Evaluation Association, Extension Education Evaluation Topical Interest Group. 

Donaldson is a native of Celina, Tennessee where he grew up on a family farm raising tobacco, beef, and sheep. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling.

Programs and Initiatives

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • AEE 230: Introduction to Cooperative Extension
  • AEE 325: Planning and Delivering Non-formal Education
  • AEE 423: Practicum in Agricultural Extension/Industry
  • AEE 478: Advanced Issues in Extension Education
  • AEE 491: Seminar in Agricultural and Extension Education
  • AEHS 523: Adult Education in Agriculture
  • AEHS 570: Methods of Change in Agricultural and Human Sciences

Contributing Websites

Professional Honors/Offices/Recognitions

  • 2023 – AAAE National Distinguished Extension Educator
  • 2023 –  AAAE Southern Region Distinguished Extension Educator
  • 2020 – NC State New Faculty Advising Award, Undergraduate Academic Advising
  • 2020 – NACADA New Faculty Advising Award Nominee
  • 2019 – American Evaluation Association, Extension Education Evaluation Special Interest Group, Excellence in Extension Program Evaluation Award
  • 2018 – NAE4-HYDP National Meritorious Service Award, 2018
  • 2015 – ESP/Joint Council of Extension Professionals National Extension Professional of the Year

Selected Publications

  • Farouque, M. G., Kabir, K. H., Roy, D., Rana, M. M., & Donaldson, J.L. (2024). An assessment of capacity building activities for common interest farmer groups in Bangladesh. Development in Practice
  • Marsh*, K. N., Eck, C. J., Layfield, K. D., & Donaldson, J. L. (2023). Identifying school-based agricultural education teacher needs and support gaps. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 4(3), 117–130.
  • Uddin, M. N., Akter, S., Roy, D., Dev, D. S., Mithun, M. N. A.S., Rahman, S., Mahmud, M. S., & Donaldson, J.L. (2024). An econometric analysis of factors affecting vegetable growers’ interest in Good Agricultural Practices: a case of rural Bangladesh. Environment, Development and Sustainability
  • Hood, L. B., Eck, C. J., Layfield, K. D., & Donaldson, J. L. (2023). Effectiveness of online program engagement for 4-H members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Southern Agricultural Education Research73, 1-12.
  • Donaldson, J. L., Gwinn, K. D., Stephens, C., Chmely, S. C., & Moody, T. (2023). A summer agricultural research program enlarges community college students’ perceptions of agricultural careers. Advancements in Agricultural Development4(3), 41–53.
  • Donaldson, J. L., Graham, D., Arnold, S., Taylor, L. K., & Jayaratne, K. S. U.(2023). An analytic needs assessment for extension education: Views from extension professionals and faculty. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 11(1), 14.
  • Donaldson, J. L., Warner, W., Bruce, J., Morgan, J., Edwards, H. C., & Vaughan, R. (2022). Aligning instruction with extension professional competencies for an enhanced undergraduate extension education minor. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 10(3), 12.
  • Donaldson, J. L., Graham, D. L., Arnold, S., Taylor, L. K., & Jayaratne, K. S. U. (2022). Extension education trends and research needs: Views from professionals and faculty. Journal of Agricultural Education, 63(3), 73-82.
  • Simpson, C. & Donaldson, J.L. (2022). TikTok, tomatoes, and teenagers: Using new social media apps to connect extension education with younger audiences. Journal of Extension 60(3), Article 9.
  • Donaldson, J.L., & Vaughan, R. (2022). A scoping study of United States extension professional competencies. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 10(1), 8.

View All Publications


BS Agricultural and Extension Education University of Tennessee, Knoxville

MS Agricultural and Extension Education Pennsylvania State University

PhD Educational Psychology and Research (Concentration in Evaluation and Assessment) University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Area(s) of Expertise

  • Career Development, Adult Learning, and Human Resource Management
  • Extension Education and Community Engagement
  • Program Development, Program Evaluation, and Research Methodologies in the Social Sciences