University of Minnesota seeks Extension Educator- Horticulture, Vegetable/Fruit Production

Title: Extension Educator- Horticulture, Vegetable/Fruit Production 
Center: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Location: To be determined, Extension office within MN
Application Deadline: Sept. 11, 2017 application review will begin; position will remain open until filled.

University of Minnesota Extension is a major outreach arm of the University of Minnesota, a land grant institution with a mission to serve the public through applied research and education. The mission of University of Minnesota Extension is: “Making a difference by connecting community needs and University resources to address critical issues in Minnesota.” More information about Extension can be found at

This full-time position is accountable to the Program Leader in Horticulture for program direction, performance evaluation and personnel actions. This position is funded through the Agricultural Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer Program (AGREETT).

This position will be located in an Extension office in Minnesota.

University of Minnesota Extension’s horticulture work reaches home gardeners, Master Gardener volunteers, and commercial audiences. This Extension Educator (EE) will focus on vegetable/fruit-based horticulture, serving targeted public audiences along with the statewide “fresh market” industry. Coordination with internal Extension groups such as the consumer horticulture team, State Master Gardener program, and commercial horticulture team are expected. The position will emphasize technology skills in order to facilitate technology-enhanced learning and create online content appropriate for specific audiences.

This Extension educator position will provide statewide technical expertise and educational programming leadership for conventional and organic fruit and vegetable production in Minnesota. The EE will design, develop, implement and evaluate research-based educational programming on vegetable/fruit production practices including cultivar selection, season extension, and integrated pest management. The EE will work with producers who are marketing vegetables/fruit through wholesale, farmers markets, CSAs, etc. as well as growing vegetables/fruit for their own consumption.
Curriculum may include production in the field and in high- and low-tunnel systems. The EE will collaborate closely with Extension state specialists, regional and local EEs, industry
representatives and other stakeholders. The educator will also have the opportunity to work with other University of Minnesota researchers in vegetable/fruit production, horticulture marketing, entomology, soil science and plant pathology to provide research-based timely information to growers.
 Educate with up-to-date research based information on fruit and vegetable production to commercial growers, Extension Master Gardener volunteers, and consumers through audience appropriate outreach and educational activities. This may include blogs, online classes, in person workshops or presentations, field days, online and written publications, and other related educational materials.
 Collaborate with extension specialists, educators, and UMN Horticulture faculty to plan and conduct applied research and scholarly, creative activities to meet the needs of fruit and vegetable producers including conventional, organic, and season-extension systems. Program topics may include sustainable and organic crop management, urban agriculture, year-round production, season extension, home fruit and vegetable production, and other topics in response to emerging needs. Provide leadership in communicating with growers to manage on-farm projects; and reporting results through educational materials for Extension and peer-reviewed publications. Assist with other aspects of research including plot maintenance, data collection and analysis.
 Work with other Extension Specialists and Educators to respond to inquiries from extension personnel, Master volunteers, and the media about fruit and vegetable production. Serve as a content expert on fruit and vegetable production for internal and external audiences.
 Use current and appropriate technology for program design, delivery, reporting, communication and trend monitoring. Utilize new, innovative teaching and delivery methods to maximize efficiency in reaching small and large audiences. Regular use of program evaluations should be developed to measure program effectiveness and to inform future programs.
 Develop working relationships with colleagues and stakeholders, such as grower associations, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies related to the position to assess conditions, needs, and strategies that will lead to new progressive programs with desired outcomes and impacts.
 Identify, secure and manage external and internal funding sources to support programming efforts in collaboration with appropriate faculty, staff, and industry partners.
 Actively engage in professional development in content area and educational program development and delivery via conferences, self-directed study and/or other appropriate means of maintaining a high level of expertise.
 Understand and work towards excellence in professional performance and advancement including the systems of annual performance review, professional plan of work and promotion by making contributions to the promotion criteria in Extension academic rank: program leadership, extension teaching, scholarship, engagement, program management and service.
 Master’s degree in horticulture, plant science or a related discipline or foreign equivalent.
 Experience (paid or unpaid) AND/OR educational specialization in fruit or vegetable production.
1. Excellent oral and written communication skills
2. Technology skills to facilitate technology-enhanced teaching and create online content.
3. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships/collaborations with colleagues, partners or stakeholders, (e.g., legislators, program participants and industry groups)
4. Demonstrated ability to work with limited resource audiences and culturally diverse communities
5. Commitment to ongoing professional development
6. Ability to maintain a diverse schedule of local, regional, and statewide activities
 Two years’ post-baccalaureate degree professional experience in an emphasis area related to the position
 Experience designing, delivering and evaluating educational programs
 Experience publishing written content related to the position
 Experience in applied research
 Skills in media relations
 Experience facilitating technology-enhanced teaching and creating online content.
 Knowledge/experience in working with vegetable and fruit production in colder climates
 Demonstrated ability to evaluate educational programs in order to determine knowledge gain and behavior change and to articulate program impact.
 Professional working relationships with agricultural groups, farmers, non-profits, government agencies, and/or other groups related to the position.
 Ability to use technology for word processing, data management and analysis, publications and electronic communications
 Extension Educator positions have an annual University academic professional appointment and Extension academic rank.
 Promotion in Extension academic rank is expected and is contingent upon accomplishments as an Extension Educator.
 University of Minnesota benefits apply.
 Must provide a personal vehicle for traveling throughout the state. Reimbursement for travel is made according to University policy.
 Salary commensurate with education and experience.
 Person hired will be expected to use a personal cell phone.
Job Opening ID: 318924
Please apply online: or call 612-624-3717.
Applications must be submitted online. To be considered for this position, please click the Apply button and follow the instructions. You will have the opportunity to complete an online application for the position. Complete the brief application and include the following attachments with your online application.
1. Cover letter
2. Vitae
3. Transcripts for all college work (unofficial transcripts are acceptable at the application stage).
4. Names and contact information for three related professional references.
For questions about applying online, contact:
Naaz Babvani
Extension Human Resources
612-624-3717 phone
612-624-7749 fax
For information about the position contact:
Michelle Grabowski
Search Committee Chair
Cell Phone: 651-319-2551
Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your “My Activities” page and uploading documents there.
To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).
Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.
The University of Minnesota Extension shall provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

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