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Karen Shirer has 41 years of experience as an educator, manager, researcher, and administrator for family and consumer sciences programs in both formal and non-formal settings. She has served as the associate dean for Extension's Center for Family Development since 2007. Her research interests focus on at-risk and low-income families and family life education. She has a strong interest and expertise in participatory processes for planning, implementing, and developing community-based educational programs and services.

Dr. Shirer earned a Ph.D. in Family and Consumer and Sciences Education at Iowa State University. Her dissertation focused on community needs assessment as a resource for health planning in rural areas.

Areas of focus: adult learning, family demographics, health promotion, welfare to work, balancing work and family