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Extension Outreach Associate, Strategic Communications - University of Illinois Extension (121175)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

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Extension and Public Engagment Connection Center

College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

University of Illinois Extension



Everything we do is designed to improve the quality of life of the people in the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding and influence.

Be a part of our story. Through learning partnerships that extend knowledge and change lives, University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs aimed at making life better, healthier, safer, and more profitable for individuals and their communities. Illinois Extension has operated continuously for more than 100 years connecting the citizens of Illinois to their land-grant university by providing educational programming around the state. University of Illinois Extension is based in the College of ACES and works with all colleges and units of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

University of Illinois Extension is seeking creative and motivated individuals to join the inaugural team of a newly launched Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center (EPECC) at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. EPECC will work to strengthen university connections across the state in a way that builds reciprocal and collaborative partnerships via the deeply rooted Extension network, which serves more than 1.3 million program participants each year. EPECC staff will provide leadership within a talented network of professionals to re-imagine the land-grant university through public impact-focused research, teaching, and outreach.

The Extension Outreach Associate, Strategic Communications serves as a full time, 12 month academic professional directly reporting to the EPECC Coordinator. The Outreach Associate will be primarily responsible for the development and delivery of services that support public impact-focused research (PIR) and community engaged scholarship within Extension’s five critical issue areas: food, economy, environment, community, and health. The position will have emphasis on developing outreach communication strategies to achieve the broader impact goals of Extension’s applied research and outreach programs, including changes in audience knowledge, belief, attitudes, and behavior.

One full-time position is available.

Location: Champaign-Urbana Campus

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit

This is a security-sensitive position. Comprehensive background checks, including but not limited to a criminal conviction information check, a CANTS check, and a review of the Registered Sex Offender list, will be conducted.

Specific responsibilities of the Extension Outreach Associate, Strategic Communications are as follows:

Strategic Development, Delivery, and Evaluation

  • Develop and implement evidence-based strategies for outreach communications that support the public impact goals of PIR and community engaged scholarship projects.
  • Maintain and develop expertise in the latest developments for impact-focused science communication, including strategies to change audience knowledge, belief, attitudes, and behavior.
  • Apply and experiment with new models for impact-focused communication within PIR and community engaged scholarship by strategically partnering with teams within Extension as well as faculty
  • Contribute to the research and development of outreach strategies with key stakeholders, including setting specific and measurable broader impact goals, designing evidence-based outreach communication strategies, conducting audience research and pre-trials, and evaluating results.
  • Develop, create and deliver multi-modal training and education opportunities on best practices in impact-focused science communications to EPECC clients and the larger Extension and U of I network.
  • Contribute specific technical expertise to clientele and customers of EPECC.
  • Identify with EPECC staff opportunities to integrate additional client services where appropriate and needed.
  • Anticipate and identify barriers to achieving outreach/ impact goals with target audiences, and work to develop and implement better strategies.
  • Oversee and evaluate project outreach goals and address issues as they arise, in consultation with project staff and investigators.
  • Evaluate partner satisfaction and project outcomes for continual improvement by working with EPECC staff; communicate results to Extension leadership and relevant stakeholders.
  • Identify and expand communication channels and traditional and digital strategies for outreach to target audiences.
  • Create new opportunities for engagement and communication with target collaborating with Extension field offices and community partners.

Organizational Leadership and Development

  • Market and represent Extension’s interests to external partners and stakeholders in areas related to expertise.
  • Compete for internal and external resources to enhance the development of innovative educational programs with potential for high impact. Includes strategic use of available funds to increase program quality and impact.
  • Develop and maintain professional collaborations with EPECC-associated partners and Illinois Extension personnel statewide.
  • Establish positive relationships and partnerships with industry, stakeholder, and community groups to secure research collaborations and partnerships for Illinois Extension and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Assist with and support the total University of Illinois Extension and Outreach program.
  • Serve as an effective team member with EPECC and volunteer for leadership roles as appropriate.
  • Perform other duties that contribute to the mission of University of Illinois Extension and Outreach programming, as assigned.


  • Establish professional relationships and participate in campus- and field-based partnerships that tie EPECC to Illinois Extension and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign research programming by partnering with Extension Specialists and/or faculty members on projects as appropriate within the initiatives connected.
  • Be an active member within a professional society to keep abreast of changes within the discipline.
  • Continually seek professional development opportunities to enhance competency in subject matter area.
  • Use research and evaluation findings to create innovative programs and make changes to existing programs in order to improve quality.
  • Share principles of evidence-based best practices with EPECC, Illinois Extension, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign peers.

Other Information

  • Comply with all University of Illinois Extension Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity policies and guidelines in all aspects of Extension work; assists Unit staff with data collection for Affirmative Action, Gender, and Targeted reports.
  • Local, regional and (limited) statewide travel required; personal transportation required.
  • To perform the functions of this position, the employee will be required to perform work both within an office and outside in the communities that are served, and must have the capability to travel from one location to the other in a timely fashion. Employee is responsible for securing personal transportation. A valid driver’s license is preferred. Some work will be required during evenings and/or weekends. When working, the employee may be exposed to a variety of environmental factors to include, but not limited to, hot or cold weather, exposure to noise and allergens, and uneven ground. In performing the functions of this position, the employee may be subjected to various mental and physical demands as well to include, but not limited to, independently traveling to and performing work at different locations, lifting and moving items that may occasionally weigh up to forty (40) pounds and frequently weigh up to twenty (20) pounds, and twisting, pushing and pulling movements. More detailed information regarding the functions of this position (including the physical, mental and environmental requirements of the position) may be obtained from Human Resources for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) by contacting [email protected].

Administrative Relationship

The Extension Outreach Associate, Strategic Communications is administratively responsible to the Coordinator, Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center.


  • Required: Master’s degree in communications, social and behavioral science, or related field. Candidates with a Master’s degree in progress may be considered for interviews, but degree must be completed by hire date. Three years of direct work in strategic communications. Experience successfully collaborating with individuals from a variety of disciplines and cultural backgrounds to develop program content.

  • Preferred: Experience in research and/or higher education settings. Experience developing and facilitating workshops/training to faculty or professionals. Experience in design and assessment of social marketing campaigns, especially within Extension’s five critical issue areas: food, economy, environment, community, and health.

  • Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Strong initiative and ability to work well independently and as part of a team. Evidence of ability to stay current with trends in the field of impact-focused communication, including strategies to change audience knowledge, belief, attitudes, and behavior. Familiarity with public impact-focused research (PIR) and community engaged scholarship. Excellent group facilitation, verbal/written communication, and presentation skills. Knowledge of the mission of Extension, the land-grant system, and University of Illinois policies and procedures are preferred.

Additional Information

The position is a full-time, benefits-eligible, non-tenure, academic professional position appointed on a 12-month service basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the closing date on the Champaign-Urbana campus, with some travel to county offices across the Illinois Extension network. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. Generous vacation and sick leave. State Universities Retirement System. Group health, dental, vision and life insurance.

Application Procedure

To apply, go to Log in to your account and upload a cover letter and resume as well the names and contact information of three professional references. Resume dates must be in month/year format and employment history, at a minimum, should include all work dating back to the completion of your undergraduate degree. Positions that were less than full-time/100% must be noted as being part-time. Transcripts may be requested at a later date. To receive full consideration, all requested application materials must be submitted via the online system by the close date of June 3, 2020.

As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. The University of Illinois must also comply with applicable federal export control laws and regulations and, as such, reserves the right to employ restricted party screening procedures for applicants.

For further information about the position, please contact Deborah Seiler at [email protected]. For technical assistance with the online application process, please email [email protected]

College Name or Administrative Unit:ACES - Extension Category:2-Administrative Title:Extension Outreach Associate, Strategic Communications - University of Illinois Extension (121175) Open Date:04/22/2020 Close Date:06/03/2020 Organization Name:Ext and Public Engagement Connctn Ctr


Since its founding in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has earned a reputation as a world-class leader in research, teaching, and public engagement.


A talented and highly respected faculty is the University's most significant resource. Many are recognized for exceptional scholarship with memberships in such organizations as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. 

Our faculty have been awarded Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, and the Fields Medal in Mathematics.The success of our faculty is matched by that of our alumni: 11 are Nobel laureates and another 18 have won Pulitzer Prizes.

Academic Resources

Academic resources on campus are among the finest in the world. The University Library is one of the largest public university collections in the world with 11 million volumes in its 37 unit libraries. Annually, 53,000,000 people visit its online catalog. Students have access to thousands of computer terminals in classrooms, residence halls, and campus libraries for use in classroom instruction, study, and research.


Students and scholars find the University an ideal place to conduct research. The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology is a model for interdisciplinary research, where eighteen research groups from sixteen University departments work within and across three broadly defined themes: biological intelligence, human-computer intelligent interaction, and molecular and electronic nanostructures. The University is also home to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Undergraduate Education

The University has a fundamental commitment to undergraduate education. Nearly 28,000 undergraduate students are enrolled in nine undergraduate divisions, which together offer some 4,000 courses in more than 150 fields of study.

Undergraduate admission is highly selective. In the 2001 freshman class, students in the middle 50% had ACT scores between 25 and 30 and ranked between the 83rd and 96th percentiles of their high school graduating classes.

The University enrolls over 9,000 graduate and professional students in more than 100 disciplines. It is among the top five universities in number of earned doctorates awarded annually in the United States.

Also integral to the University's mission is a commitment to public engagement. Each year about 65,000 Illinois residents participate in scores of conferences, institutes, courses, and workshops presented statewide. Research and class projects take students and professors off campus to share expertise and technical support with Illinois farmers, manufacturing firms, and businesses. In a typical year, student volunteers log more than 60,000 volunteer hours.

The Arts

A major center for the arts, the campus attracts dozens of nationally and internationally renowned artists each year to its widely acclaimed Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The University also supports two major museums: the Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion; and the Spurlock Museum, a museum of world history and culture. 

Other major facilities include the multipurpose Assembly Hall (16,500 seats); Memorial Stadium (70,000 seats), site of Big Ten Conference football games; and the Intramural-Physical Education Building, one of the largest recreational facilities of its kind on a university campus.

Inclusive Illinois, one campus, many voices

Inclusive Illinois is the University’s commitment to cultivating a community at Illinois where everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected. Illinois is about how we value difference to make a difference.

As evidence of the University’s commitment to enhance the working, living, and learning environment for faculty, staff, and students, the University will encourage a standard of conduct and behavior that is consistent with the values of inclusivity. In an environment of inclusivity, there is no place for acts of hatred, intolerance, insensitivity, bigotry, threats of violence, harassment or discrimination.

Inclusive Illinois, one campus, many voices

Inclusive Illinois is the University’s commitment to cultivating a community at Illinois where everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected. Through education, engagement, and excellence, each voice creates the Inclusive Illinois Experience.

How can we appreciate difference to make a difference?

Illinois is the place where we embrace difference. We embrace it because we value it. We value it because we know that we have so much to learn from each other in our living, learning, and working environment.

Illinois is the place where we recognize the power of possibility and where great potential is realized. Inclusive Illinois is the vision of that place: a vision made real by leadership and commitment.

Illinois is the place where consensus is forged by discourse and where everyone’s contributions are recognized: significant contributions that elevate us because they are informed and enhanced by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, physical ability, religion, class, and national origin. We are enriched by these perspectives, and we are united by the very discourse that brings these views together.

It is a process. It is transformative. And we celebrate the remarkable changes we set in motion here … taking an important step … crossing boundaries … starting with our own.

It all starts with each of us: with our willingness to embark on the journey in the search for answers, and with our openness and acceptance of the answers we find. Illinois is the place where it all comes together.

Learn more about how Inclusive Illinois promotes diversity here.

Commitment to Equal Opportunity

The commitment of the University to the most fundamental principles of academic freedom, equality of opportunity, and human dignity requires that decisions involving students and employees be based on individual merit and be free from invidious discrimination in all its forms, whether or not specifically prohibited by law. Among the forms of invidious discrimination prohibited by the University policy but not law is discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of sexual orientation. Complaints of invidious discrimination in violation of University policy are to be resolved within existing University procedures. The policy of the University of Illinois is to comply with all federal and state nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and affirmative action laws, orders, and regulations. The University will not engage in discrimination or harassment against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, unfavorable discharge from the military, or status as a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era. This nondiscrimination policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in University programs and activities

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