UT Extension Consumer Economics Specialist Named National Educator of the Year

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Christopher Sneed Among Elite Group Honored by AFCPE

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –  An assistant professor and consumer economics specialist with University of Tennessee Extension has been recognized by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) as the organization’s Educator of the Year for 2023. Christopher Sneed was among ten individuals, organizations, special projects and initiatives expanding access to personal finance resources and education across the country recognized as part of the 2023 AFCPE Awards late last year.

The AFCPE’s Mary Ellen Edmondson Educator of the Year Award honors an individual who has provided exceptional service to teaching and outreach in the field of consumer finances.

Sneed has offered financial and consumer education through UT Extension for almost two decades, rising through the ranks from Extension agent to a tenure-track appointment as an Extension specialist. With his research, program development, trainings and grant procurement, Sneed has provided exceptional service and has profoundly impacted Cooperative Extension and the field of financial education. In her nomination letter, Janet Fox, assistant dean and head of UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, wrote, “Dr. Sneed’s accomplishments, innovation, creative programming efforts, resource developments, and mentoring align strongly with the award benchmarks. Dr. Sneed provides exceptional service to thousands of youth and adult clients across Tennessee, as well as hundreds of Family and Consumer Sciences professionals across the nation.”

Sneed’s programs address critical needs across a wide range of topics. “The Time to Talk” program assists consumers in understanding health care costs and having cost conversations with their health care providers. “The Shop Smart Tennessee” program addresses food access for low-resource families. “Money Week” was recognized by the State Treasurer and the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission, and his “Money Minute” videos have been shared as critical money management tips through social media and YouTube.

A sought-after collaborator, Sneed has received more than $42 million in grants and contracts either as a principal investigator or as a co-investigator. He has been published 26 times in refereed publications, written 52 peer-reviewed publications for educational purposes and is the recipient of many notable awards, including the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Internet Technology Award and the Tennessee Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (TEAFCS) Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award.

Pertinent to this particular award, Sneed has taught more than 4,000 individuals about research-based, relevant consumer economic subjects, including the changing financial landscape, smart shopping, retirement planning, money management in tough times, health care cost management, and workforce development.

Regarding his award and role, Sneed said he believes in the power of financial education. “When we deliver those ideas to people, they are able to improve their place and station in life. I truly believe that education can be the great equalizer in our society.”

His hope for the field is to continue to make financial education and resources accessible to all groups of people. “I think we’ve made great strides and progress in the recent past in making sure that that’s happening, but there is still so much work to do,” Sneed said.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is comprised of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach, the Institute touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. to Tennesseans and beyond. utia.tennessee.edu.

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Christopher Sneed, assistant professor of consumer economics, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences