In August 2017, Karen Vines was named assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Vines is one of 15 new tenure-track faculty members hired in the college. New positions were identified to bring new talent to its focus areas, such as food and health, infectious disease, biodesign and processing, and agricultural profitability and environmental sustainability. The new faculty members are distributed across teaching, research, and Extension.
Vines' primary interest is in providing Extension agents with professional-development experiences that allow them to excel and provide greater sustainability and resilience to their communities. Her dissertation explored the use of engaged delivery methods in Cooperative Extension. Some specific projects in which she has been involved include needs assessments of early-career Extension agents and online training on the use of social media for the national Extension Master Gardener program.
Vines is lead investigator on a NIFA-funded project focused on the prevention of prescription opioid abuse in rural Virginia. Vines teaches Introduction to Cooperative Extension and Educational Methods in Non-Formal Teaching and Learning courses.