Dr. Chris Igodan graduated from Ohio State with a doctorate in agricultural and extension education in 1984. Originally from Benin City, Nigeria, Igodan has worked in agricultural development in number of countries throughout his career, and currently serves as a professor of agriculture and international development and is the leader of international extension programs for OSU Extension in Columbus, Ohio.
[ACEL]: Hello Dr. Igodan! Why did you select to attend graduate school for agricultural and extension education?
[Igodan]: I have long been interested in farming, food and land. I wanted to be involved in agricultural development in my native country, Nigeria.
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I don’t quite recall the reason. I remember I was heading to Purdue when I suddenly changed my mind to Ohio State!
How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
The Ohio State name provided me global recognition and international network upon return to Nigeria. Of course, I was equipped with a good understanding of theory and research. When I eventually came into the field of agricultural extension, it all blended easily.
What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was a member of the Agriculture Honor Society ( Gamma Sigma Delta) and the African Students Association. I worked as a lab assistant to Dr. Phil Larson in the Department of Plant Pathology at Kottman Hall at that time.
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
The Agricultural Education Research Series, especially Dr. Warmbrod, Ag. Ed. 887—Research Analysis of Data.
What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education or career?
I was more or so influenced and impacted by the teaching and stories of international development work by two mentors, teacher and friend, the late Dr. Paul Henderlong, emeritus professor of agronomy and Dr. LH Newcomb for attention to details at all times.
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Trained under Dr. LH Newcomb, emeritus professor in agricultural education. Zero or no margin of error allowed in all that you do, especially in research dissertation.
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
For a year, I taught vocational agriculture at Sun Coast High School in Riviera Beach, Florida
For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?
Several—University of Ibadan (Nigeria), International Livestock Center for Africa, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), University of Fort Hare, Alice (South Africa) and Ohio State University, Columbus, (Ohio/USA). I have served in various academic and administrative leadership positions, including, Research Associate/ Fellow, Department Chair, (South Africa) Associate Dean (OSU/USA), Director of Agricultural Technical Institute (OSU/USA), Dean (South Africa).
During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
Gamma Sigma Delta (Ag. Honor Society), President’s Volunteer Award (USA), Distinguished Service Award, University of Benin (Nigeria), University Diversity Enhancement Team Award (OSU), Salzburg Seminar Fellow (Austria), Nigerians in Diaspora Award/NIDO for distinguished service (Columbus/USA), Edo National Association Worldwide, Board of Advisers Award for distinguished service (USA).
How are you involved in your community?
I am very active in the Nigerians in Diaspora Community in Columbus. I have also served as Director and National Board Member for Nigerians in Diaspora, USA. I co-founded and run a Columbus based not-for profit organization extending training in education and knowledge transfer to the African continent.
As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Volunteering in international development efforts in Africa.
What advice would you give to a current student?
Explore other cultures and expand your network/opportunities.
What did ACEL cultivate in you?
Excellence, Discipline and Integrity