Extension Educator (Food Systems and Local Foods)


The College of Agricultural Sciences is seeking an entrepreneurial-minded individual, with the drive to make a positive difference, an innovative spirit, technical proficiency and a passion for local foods and food system education and research, to join our nationally recognized Penn State Extension - Energy, Business and Community Vitality Unit. On behalf of the Unit, the individual will connect local issues and opportunities associated with food systems and local foods to sound education and research. Educational programs and applied research activities should result in measurable improvements for farm, food, and natural resource-based businesses, communities, governments and non-profits. Improvements will be measured in terms of positive practice changes made by stakeholders in efficiency, growth, competitiveness, policy change, innovation and job creation. Success will allow Pennsylvania businesses, communities, governments and non-profits to improve their allocation of resources, evaluate planning and development activities, assess project impacts, increase overall capacity, and enhance positive workforce investment. The successful candidate will serve as the program area lead for current and future state projects and programs including: farm market development; food trends; agritourism; agritainment; food justice and equity; food, ag and natural resource literacy; supply chain (including blockchain technology); value chain; urban agriculture; food access, community food systems and more. The individual will drive the working group program portfolio development, marketing, implementation, finances and evaluation strategy. Based on participation, market trends, needs assessment, return on investment, stakeholder and educator input and program evaluation, the individual will annually review and recommend updates to the working group program and project portfolio. To grow and support the working group, the successful candidate will be expected to both develop and oversee a robust and diverse external funding portfolio (e.g. grants, contracts, program revenue, development, etc…) in support of the work group and Unit's programs. In both the role of program area leader and educator the individual will enhance stakeholder relationships through personal connectedness, program relevancy and demonstrated program impact. In support of program planning and development, the individual will work both individually and collaboratively to conduct needs assessment, establish learning objectives, develop educational materials, host educational events, utilize evaluation to measure program success and develop appropriate impact documentation to illustrate the value and relevancy of quality programming. In support of educational programs, team members will work to conduct applied research relevant to target audience needs. 

This job will be filled as a level 4, or level 5, depending upon the successful candidate's competencies, education, and experience. Typically requires a Master's degree or higher plus five years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience for a level 4. Additional experience and/or education and competencies are required for higher level jobs. Preference will be given to candidates with degree(s) in demography, sociology, rural sociology, geography, value chain or supply chain management, operations management, project management, marketing, business management, business administration, agricultural economics, ag business management, economic and community development or related disciplines, and those that have related work experience. Team members are expected to work closely with university faculty to develop educational programs and products and conduct applied research relevant to stakeholder needs. Beyond degree and experience requirements, candidates must possess effective communication skills (verbal and written), interpersonal skills, and the ability to build effective working relationships. The candidate must be very organized and able to manage multiple projects simultaneously. 

Desirable experiences include teaching, facilitation, curriculum development, evaluation, grant management, project management, food systems, local foods, research, business or non-profit management, or involvement in food, agriculture and/or natural resources. As the program area lead, supervisory experience is a plus. The successful candidate must be proficient in use of modern computer software packages, such as Microsoft Office, and possibly IMPLAN, ARC GIS and/or statistics software. Superior Microsoft Excel skills or advanced database skills and fluency in Spanish are a plus and highly encouraged. 

The successful individual must enjoy and be able to work effectively independently, or as a member of one or more program teams. Successful program area leaders and educators must engage effectively with diverse and underserved audiences across the Commonwealth. To develop and conduct educational programs and applied research, the candidate should be comfortable with innovative and/or entrepreneurial team collaborations which reach across multiple stakeholders, disciplines, departments, colleges, institutions, non-governmental organizations, independent businesses and possibly state and local governments. To accomplish team and individual goals, the candidate must utilize educational tools such as online courses, videos, mobile apps, and electronic publications, in addition to traditional publications and in-person presentations. Significant travel (including some overnight trips) may be required, as program, project and applied research activities occur at a variety of locations across the Commonwealth. As such, the job responsibilities require the candidate to possess a valid driver's license and have use of a private vehicle. As the position requires operating a motor vehicle as part of the job duties, successful completion of a motor vehicle records check is required, as well as, standard background checks. Additionally, the diverse program locations and materials needed for program delivery and research require the candidate to be able to carry equipment and educational materials and supplies, with or without accommodation. Penn State Extension is an organization on the move and a leader in research and learning innovation. We welcome all applicants interested in working together to create new and innovative programs capable of making a lasting and positive difference for the residents of Pennsylvania and beyond.

Apply online at https://psu.jobs/job/86861