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Extension Specialist-Fixed

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 477344
Work type: Extension, Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: Michigan State University Extension
Department: Extension Greening Michigan 10058942
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: Detroit
Categories: Full Time (90-100%), Fixed Term Academic Staff, MSU Extension- EXPA, Administrative/Business/Professional, Advising/Counseling, Agriculture, Education/Training

Working/Functional Title

Partnership for Food Learning

Position Summary

The MSU-Detroit Partnership for Food Learning and Innovation (PFLI) is an Extension Specialist position within MSU Extension (MSUE).  The PFLI Director provides intellectual, academic, and community leadership to the facility and has primary responsibility for overall vision and administration as well as the programs’ educational, research and public service functions. The Director guides a collaborative team of staff that shape programmatic research and outreach that meets the needs of key stakeholders within the City of Detroit and southeast Michigan. The PFLI Director reports to the Director of MSUE’s Greening Michigan Institute and coordinates closely with the MSUE District 11 Coordinator of Wayne County, and the leadership of MSU AgBioResearch.

The MSU Detroit Partnership for Food Learning and Innovation (PFLI) center connects MSU researchers, educators and students with opportunities to collaborate with Detroit communities to apply their expertise and address urban challenges, particularly related to food and the environment. Located in northwest Detroit, the PFLI is a joint venture of MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch, in partnership with the City of Detroit. Detroit is home to a flourishing and diverse variety of community-based non-profit organizations whose work is to improve the lives of all Detroiters. These organizations not only promote healthy living practices within under-served populations, but also help to form other connections to bridge the gap between healthy lifestyles, healthy environments and improved food access.


Characteristic Duties/Responsibilities

  • Provide overall management in the development and utilization of the PFLI facilities, including research and demonstration plots, built facilities, equipment, tools and other physical resources.
  • Coordinate and provide leadership and support for diverse research activities at the PFLI center.
  • Evaluate potential research projects proposed for execution at the site and coordinate the assignment of field and facility space and the provision of services to researchers, as appropriate.
  • Provide assistance to researchers in areas such as research goals and objectives, experimental design and methods, data analysis and interpretation.
  • Collaborate with other researchers, including MSU faculty and individuals from other universities, agencies and organizations, in developing and executing research related to sustainable agriculture and urban farming systems and environmental education.
  • Provide leadership and guidance for assessment of program and constituency needs to ensure the PFLI remains focused on research and outreach activities meeting the needs of key stakeholder groups in Detroit and southeast Michigan, particularly in the food and environment arenas.
  • May collaborate with faculty and other colleagues on campus to evaluate programmatic activities and effectiveness and develop recommendations for improvement.
  • Develop and manage the budget and financial resources of the facility.
  • Coordinate and participate directly in developing extramural grants and donations, from government, foundation and individual sources.
  • Encourage and support educator staff in development of requests for special funding contracts and grants and developing proposals that enhance Extension’s mission and programs.
  • Plan, prioritize and coordinate potential income-generating programmatic activities (e.g., produce sales) and ensure an appropriate balance between income generation and the research and outreach mission of the PFLI.
  • Ensure that the facility’s personnel, funds, facilities, equipment, and other resources are managed, maintained and utilized to meet the PFLI research and community outreach programmatic goals and priorities.
  • Establish and staff a PFLI advisory committee to assist in identifying research and educational programmatic priorities.
  • Establish a faculty guidance committee to enhance connectivity with campus-based researchers.
  • Provide leadership, coordination, supervision and support for a diverse team of PFLI professional and temporary employees, including potential student interns and volunteers.
  • Work collaboratively with employees to set and meet goals and develop strategies to contribute to both the program’s mission and the employees’ creativity, productivity, and development.
  • In coordination with the MSUE District Coordinator, provide leadership to ensure that the PFLI learning community collectively develops and achieves both short- and long-term educational, outreach and research goals focused on food and environmental challenges facing the city of Detroit.
  • Develop, maintain and coordinate relationships between MSUE and local partners.
  • Lead participatory programmatic planning and development that engages the community and other stakeholders and, as appropriate, work with other units and programs on and off campus.
  • Coordinate outreach and service activities of PFLI based on community engagement efforts.
  • Represent the PFLI to other units within the University, to urban farmers, gardeners, educators, public agencies, the private and non-profit sectors, and the general public.
  • As appropriate, make presentations to the public and collaborate with appropriate partners inside and outside the University to achieve common goals.
  • Based on advisory committee, guidance committee, and stakeholder input, establish research and programmatic goals and priorities for the facility, develop and execute strategies and plans to achieve programmatic goals, develop, manage and enhance program resources, including staff, funds, facilities and equipment.
  • Contribute to program planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • Provide guidance and support to staff in the implementation and compliance of MSU policies and procedures.
  • Assure compliance for Civil Rights, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, and the American with Disabilities Act in employment, program availability and participation, and facilities.
  • Actively engage in areas of philanthropy working in coordination with MSU Extension’s Director of Development.
  • Actively participate in professional development opportunities.

Required Degree

Masters -Natural science, agriculture, education

Minimum Requirements

  • Master’s degree in a natural science, agriculture, education, or related area.
  • Experience in facilitating experiential learning in sustainable agriculture and food systems.
  • Practical knowledge, skills and experience in managing crops or urban agricultural production systems.
  • Skills to facilitate group processes and to foster open dialogue, collaboration, and problem solving.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds including students, faculty and the public.
  • Supervisory skills to help employees to set and meet goals, motivate individual and collective effort, and evaluate performance.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills to establish goals and priorities, oversee multiple projects, achieve goals, and meet critical deadlines.
  • Budget, financial and infrastructure management skills.
  • Demonstrated skills required for grant writing, fund raising and maintaining donor relations.
  • Demonstrated commitment to creating and maintaining working and learning environments, which are inclusive, diverse, and welcoming.
  • Experience with marketing/promotion of educational programs.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills, including the ability to listen effectively.
  • Demonstrated experience in building relationships with community partners, resource development and budget management.
  • Effective and demonstrated interpersonal skills, including the ability to work with community and political leaders as well as campus-based administrators, faculty and staff.
  • Self-motivated with the demonstrated ability to work independently without daily supervision and/or coaching.
  • Participation in stakeholder meetings.
  • Proficiency in use of technology (e.g. web research, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook for mail/calendaring, distance technology, etc.) for day-to-day work and educational program delivery, record keeping, reporting, team-based communications and overall management.
  • Demonstrated success in program development and delivery to diverse audiences/communities including, but not limited to race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
  • Proven ability in establishing and working with a diverse network of constituents, community members and employees across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
  • Understanding of and ability to implement Civil Rights principles and compliance standards.
  • Ability to lift and carry educational materials, equipment, etc. up to 25 lbs.
  • Ability to travel in local and surrounding communities and occasional long distance travel are required as a regular part of this position.
  • Transportation is the responsibility of the employee.
  • Other skills and/or physical abilities required to perform the duties of this position.

Desired Qualifications

  • Minimum 3-years’ Extension system experience, including administrative responsibilities (extensive experience in similar high-level administrative role, including resource development and procurement, staff supervision and collaborative leadership may be considered in lieu of Extension system experience).

Required Application Materials

Applicants are asked to submit a current resume/CV, cover letter and four (4) professional references.

Special Instructions

This is a full time, fixed term end-dated appointment renewable annually based upon successful performance and continued funding.

Advertised: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close: Eastern Standard Time

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