Dr Ruth Nettle has been a very significant influence on extension over the last decades. She has been an active APEN member for many years and has also been proactive in the extension arena. Her work in Dairy, the Cooperative Joint Venture in Capacity building and in projects such as the Rural Research and Development for Profit – private sector project – has encompassed very practically based projects which look at assisting change on farms as well as developing extension profession and capacity. – hence, supporting APEN’s mission in promoting the role of extension in rural change.
Currently, Ruth leads the Rural Innovation Research Group (RIRG) at the University of Melbourne. Her group has actively led the thinking and training at university undergraduate and post-graduate levels – in a period where it is being lost from other Australian Universities. The distance education modules directly relevant to practicing extension officers has been a significant step in accessing accreditable training at this level. Her many papers and book chapters capture much experience and thinking around extension and its operation and has contributed a lot academically and practically. Ruth also has a strong international presence where she and APEN Life Member Dr Jeff Coutts frequently join and share common experiences and common platforms with the European Farming Systems Conferences and the European Extension Symposium as well as sharing what we are learning in Australia, Ruth captures what is happening internationally to share back in Australia. She has also been involved in innovative extension and innovation thinking with the co-innovation project in New Zealand. Ruth is involved in other international opportunities through her multi-disciplinary research which contributes to and extends the role of extension.