COLLEGE STATION â€“ A man who fondly recalls his early career as a Texas AgriLife Extension Service assistant county agent and who later became director of that agency said his best work was an effort to educate under-served people about better nutrition.
Dr. Daniel Pfannstiel of College Station said the project in the late 1960s was aimed at teaching nutrition, food safety, wise food shopping and how to prepare food.
“We were not meeting the needs of the ever-growing low-income Hispanic population,” said Pfannstiel, who was raised near San Antonio and was fluent in Spanish. “We worked with a social research scientist who found that this audience could be reached by training paraprofessional educators.”
Pfannstiel said that project became what is now known as AgriLife Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Program, which since 1969 has worked in local Texas communities providing food and nutrition education to vulnerable limited-resource families and youth, according to the program’s website.
For that work and a lifetime of leading the educational programs of AgriLife Extension, Pfannstiel has been named to the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame for 2010. He will be inducted at a service in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October.
He will be one of 12 people from seven countries on four continents to be inducted.
Pfannstiel’s 42 years with AgriLife Extension began as assistant agent in Guadalupe County then in Wharton, Bee and Matagorda counties. In 1955, he was assigned to College Station as county agent-at-large.
In 1959, after earning a doctorate in cooperative Extension administration at the University of Wisconsin, Pfannstiel returned to Texas as assistant director of the agency until 1971. He was associate director from 1971-76 and then was director from 1976-82.
He was known as an astute manager who brought “increasing efficiencies” to the agency’s administration, according to notes of the late John E. Hutchinson, former AgriLife Extension director.
His doctoral studies, “Criteria for Determining Financial Support of County Agricultural Extension Work in Texas,” is still cited because it provided an estimate for a county’s share in the cost of an agent based on a formula he developed to measure workload.
Pfannstiel’s interest in non-traditional audiences led him to explore options in many foreign countries. He was a consultant to about 25 developing countries that wanted to use the U.S. Extension model to enhance their country’s agriculture industry.
After leaving his position as director in September 1982, Pfannstiel joined the Texas A&M University department of agricultural education to head its then-new doctoral program. He officially retired in 1992 as director emeritus and professor emeritus.
In addition to his doctoral degree, Pfannstiel earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University in 1949 and a master’s degree in Extension education from Michigan State in 1952.
The International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame, headquartered at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., began in 1995 “with the desire to provide a mechanism to honor and document contributions of the past to better build the future.”
More information about the hall and its activities can be found at http://www.halloffame.outreach.ou.edu/.