Hiring: Extension Educator – UMassAmherst

Extension Educator III

Apply now Job no: 507604
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: UMass Extension
Union: PSU
Categories: Extension Educator, Professional Staff Union (PSU)

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Job Summary

Develop Vegetable Extension educational programs and publications and conduct applied research to meet the needs of vegetable farmers statewide and to enhance the economic, human, and environmental health and sustainability of the vegetable industry in Massachusetts. Provide research-based information, publications and programs in the areas of vegetable production, cropping systems, crop health, and Integrated Pest Management.

Assess and address emerging issues and diverse needs of vegetable growers in Massachusetts. Develop program objectives, seek funding resources, design delivery methods, manage projects, and develop evaluation procedures in collaboration with Extension professionals and external stakeholders. Develop, organize and teach Vegetable Extension educational programs. Plan, conduct and communicate the results of applied research projects in vegetable crops in the areas of integrated cropping systems, disease and insect management and other emerging issues, and conduct and related creative and scholarly activities as appropriate. Work collaboratively with vegetable program staff as well as Extension personnel in other disciplines to develop cross-commodity educational and research programs.

Essential Functions

Examples of duties:

  • Collaborate in the preparation, editing, layout and publication of research-based educational materials such as newsletters, guides, fact sheets, and articles, including Vegetable Notes and the New England Vegetable Management Guide. Develop, organize and teach educational programs and provide research-based information to farmers and other clientele regarding vegetable production practices including integrated pest management, cropping systems, greenhouse management, year-round vegetable production, and other topics in response to emerging needs. Respond to crop management inquiries from vegetable growers and other stakeholders regarding arthropod pests, plant pathogens, weeds, and production issues. Work directly with growers to teach and evaluate production and IPM practices, and to improve understanding and implementation of integrated pest and crop management on MA farms. Participate with Extension and other staff and clientele in vegetable and cross-commodity collaborative programming with statewide and regional impact.
  • Plan and conduct applied research and/or scholarly or creative activity to meet emerging needs of vegetable producers. Develop and implement experiments, demonstration trials and projects in collaboration with supervisor and other Extension faculty or staff in the areas of vegetable production, integrated pest management and plant pathology. Conduct or supervise general plot maintenance (including pesticide treatments) at the South Deerfield Crops Research and Education Center and other research locations. Communicate with and visit growers to manage on-farm projects. Manage data collection and data analysis, and prepare related reports, articles, and educational materials for Extension and scholarly publications.
  • Conduct needs assessment, develop program objectives, design delivery methods and develop evaluation procedures in collaboration with supervisor and other Extension Faculty and Staff. Conduct periodic evaluations of program effectiveness. Use evaluation to inform future programs. Develop relationships with agricultural businesses, producers, consumers, advisory committees, research centers, non-profits, and related agencies to assess conditions, needs, and strategies to achieve program goals and measure desired outcomes.
  • Seek out and manage external funding from services, competitive grants, and other sources to support programming efforts in collaboration with supervisors, program team members, and other Extension staff in MA and across the region. Participate in overall Vegetable Program management, including staff coordination and evaluation, reporting and financial administration. Participate in short and long range planning. Determine need for temporary staff and/or volunteers and prepare job descriptions. Collaborate in recruiting and training. Supervise, support, evaluate and recognize volunteers and/or student and paraprofessional employees.
  • Maintain and increase personal and professional competence through participation in in-service training, professional association activities, and continuing education. Prepare and implement professional development plan.
  • Represent UMass Extension at the campus, regional or state level in routine matters of organization and procedure relating to the Vegetable Program.

Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.  In the performance of work, take initiative, be creative, and operate with self-direction.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.

Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • MS degree in biological, horticultural or agricultural science.
  • Three years relevant experience.
    • Experience can be as part of work towards a graduate degree.
  • Current Class D Mass. driver’s license or U.S. equivalent.
  • MA Pesticide Applicators License or ability to receive certification within 3 months of hire.

Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Demonstrated ability to design, deliver and evaluate outreach programs for stakeholder audiences
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct applied research on agricultural topics and provide relevant outreach to stakeholder audiences
  • Demonstrated ability to secure and manage external funding to support program activities
  • Familiarity with vegetable production and Integrated Pest Management in New England.
  • Demonstrated professional working relationships with agricultural groups, farmers, non-profits, government agencies, and/or other groups related to the position
  • Ability to maintain a diverse schedule of local, regional, and statewide activities.
  • Ability to use computers and software for word processing, data management and analysis, publications and electronic communications (e.g. SAS, In-Design, Drupal).
  • Ability to work independently to organize multiple tasks and set priorities for action, take initiative, be creative, and operate with self-direction in a fast-paced office environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to interact effectively and work productively in establishing and maintaining harmonious working relationships with a diverse population of faculty, staff and students.
  • Ability to organize and prioritize goals; ability to collaborate well to formulate plans and objectives in accordance with overall college goals; ability to identify and implement process improvements.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and to set and meet deadlines while maintaining high standards of accuracy and quality.

Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Ability to work outdoors in all types of weather and perform physical activities associated with vegetable research and scouting.

Additional Details

This is a grant-funded term-limited position until 8/31/22, with possible continuation contingent upon successful pursuit of additional funding.

Work Schedule

Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm or as required to carry out program activities; some evenings and weekends required.

Salary Information

PSU Level: 27

PSU Salary Schedule

Special Instructions to Applicants

Submit a letter of application, resume and contact information for three professional references. Apply by April 9, 2021, in order to ensure priority consideration.  Search may remain open until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations.

 UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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