Specialist - Outreach-Fixed Term

Sep 22, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Working/Functional Title

Dry Bean Specialist

Position Summary

Title:  Specialist (Fixed Term, 12-Month Basis, 100%Time) in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University.  This position is 50% Extension and 50% Research in the area of dry bean systems research and extension.


Background: Michigan State University is the Pioneer Land Grant University and is a national leader in agricultural research and extension programming.  An individual is needed to develop an applied research and outreach program for the dry bean industry in Michigan. This Dry Bean Specialist will interact with university researchers, dry bean growers and members of industry to translate cutting edge research into on-farm productivity.


Responsibilities:  This position will work collaboratively to develop and disseminate information to the dry bean community through new or existing newsletters, web sites, social media, articles and bulletins. Outreach will include contributions to the planning and delivery of educational events (meetings and field days) related to dry bean management such as the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center Field Day and the Michigan Bean Commission Winter Conference.  The individual will conduct and collaborate on applied research on important agronomic issues, including the application of new technologies, cultural practices to optimize dry bean productivity and profitability. Key activities include:

  • Performance evaluation of dry bean varieties

  • Evaluation of end use quality attributes

  • Collaborate with dry bean researchers at MSU and other institutions including the private sector

The successful applicant will also work with growers to conduct on-farm research and demonstrations of important dry bean production practices. The work will include seeking additional funding and writing grants for research and extension projects related to dry beans. The position entails active participation with the Extension Field Crops Team as well as collaboration with MSUE Educators, researchers, the Michigan Bean Commission, the Michigan Bean Shippers, dry bean growers, crop advisors, end users and the agricultural industry to translate cutting-edge research for Michigan dry bean producers.  The individual will support research activities as principal investigator and as co-PI with funding from the Michigan Bean Commission and other funding sources.  Collaboration between the Dry Bean Systems Research and Extension Specialist and MSU researchers is essential.  Extension bulletins as well as peer-reviewed publications will be published individually and in collaboration with MSU researchers. 


MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.  MSU is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. The University actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.


Required Degree

Masters -Crop and Soil Sciences or related field



Minimum Requirements

Qualified individuals will have a M.S. degree or higher in Crop and Soil Sciences or related field.

Desired Qualifications

Excellent oral and written communication skills are required.  At least 3 years of experience with crop production is desirable. Experience with dry beans is preferred but not required. Candidates should be familiar with delivery of research-based information using multiple approaches, and possess a demonstrated ability to work effectively with other researchers and clientele groups.  Basic competencies in statistical analysis and experimental design are expected. Additionally, candidates must obtain a CDL and commercial pesticide applicator certification.

Required Application Materials

Applicants can apply for this position via the link at careers.msu.edu, (posting #433586).  Applicants should electronically submit: (1) A letter of application describing the background match with the above job description; (2) vision statement regarding goals in extension and research; (3) curriculum vita; (4) a summary statement detailing experiences with diversity in extension and/or research endeavors, any experience working with diverse clientele or mentoring diverse students, and an explanation of how they will contribute to our goals of inclusive excellence; and (5) three letters of reference should be sent by the referees directly to: Sandie Litchfield at the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, A286 Plant and Soil Sciences Building, E. Lansing, MI 48824 or by email to [email protected] 

Special Instructions

Review of applications will begin June 16, 2017 and will continue until a suitable candidate is identified.  Questions can be directed to James D. Kelly, Chair of the Search Committee, [email protected]  

Summary of Physical Demands

Required to lift and carry up to 50 lb bags of bean seed.

Summary of Health Risks

Required to drive heavy trucks, forklifts, tractors, and other farm machinery, including spraying equipment (fertilizers and pesticides).

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