Assistant Dean, Agriculture and Agribusiness - University of Illinois Extension (139620)

Job description



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.

The Assistant Dean (Program Leader) for Agriculture and Agribusiness (AAB) serves as a regular, full time, 12-month academic professional with primary responsibility for leading and developing statewide educational programming in commercial agriculture, horticulture, local foods/small farms, and systems that support these critical areas for the Illinois food and agriculture industry. The Assistant Dean for AAB supports one of the six core Extension program areas and within the AAB program area may focus on one or more of the following interdisciplinary initiatives: Community; Economy; Environment; Food, and/or Health. The Assistant Dean for AAB provides organizational leadership in building relationships and reporting outcomes to Regional and County Directors, local, state and national legislators, and other stakeholders. The incumbent provides leadership to Extension’s volunteer delivery system and provides summaries of the value of volunteers and AAB program outcomes and impacts.

The Assistant Dean for AAB will be expected to lead and deliver research-based educational programs and to work within team settings that may consist of other Extension Assistant Deans, Extension Regional and County Directors, Extension Educators and Specialists, and faculty within and outside of the College of ACES. Establishment of a program of work based on community-based needs assessments is essential to provide clear directions, partnerships, and collaborations to successfully solve grand challenges.

The Assistant Dean for AAB is expected to concentrate programmatically on commercial agriculture, agribusiness, livestock management, agronomy, specialty crop production, horticulture, plant diagnostics, pesticide safety, and soil and water, among other critical areas. The Assistant Dean is responsible for the Master Gardener program and other AAB-oriented services and for developing innovative programs that address AAB needs in Illinois. Close collaboration with other Assistant Deans is required. The Assistant Dean for AAB also will be expected to build networks among diverse groups and take a systems approach to leading efforts in AAB. The Assistant Dean for AAB will be located in Urbana-Champaign on the University of Illinois campus, and will report to the Associate Dean and Director of Extension and Outreach, and will be available to all of Illinois Extension and Outreach.

One full-time position is available.

Location: Urbana-Champaign, IL

(Position will be located on UIUC main campus in Urbana, IL)

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.

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

Specific responsibilities of the Assistant Dean, Agriculture and Agribusiness are as follows:

Program Development, Delivery and Evaluation

  • Develop through participative strategies an innovative statewide program of work in response to local, state, and national needs and issues. Provide clear direction and partnership to encourage adoption of critical needs and high priority program efforts with Extension Regional Directors, County Directors, Educators, and state and campus Specialists.
  • Prepare required plans of work and state annual reports for AAB.
  • Develop collaborations and networks with academic units and other departments on campus and outside agencies to further educational programming in AAB, including but not limited to commercial agriculture, agribusiness, livestock management, agronomy, specialty crop production, horticulture, plant diagnostics, pesticide safety, and soil and water, among other critical areas.
  • Provide leadership for core statewide programs such as the Master Gardener, Pollinators, Annie’s project, Produce Safety Alliance Training, and Master Urban Farmer Training programs.
  • Effectively collaborate with faculty Extension Specialists to deliver programs and information, including but not limited to farmdoc, AgrAbility, Certified Livestock Manager, and Pesticide Safety Education Program, and services of the Plant Clinic, etc.
  • Collaborate with the College of ACES Office of Research regarding AAB programs relevant to research farms and demonstration centers to promote Illinois agriculture and agribusiness.
  • Partner with the Directors of Dixon Springs Agricultural Center (DSAC), Orr Agricultural Center, and Monmouth Agricultural Center as needed, to promote innovative outreach and economic development of Illinois agriculture and agribusiness.
  • Address urban and rural needs in AAB by collaborating with food and agriculture initiatives led by the Discovery Partners Institute-Illinois Innovation Network.
  • Ensure that strong publicly informed research-based curriculum supports the educational content and delivery methods of the statewide program plan.
  • Serve as program director, primary investigator, or co-investigator for grants and other funding opportunities to ensure utilization of organizational resources are consistent with critical program priorities. Write grants as needed.
  • Develop, lead, and coordinate innovative revenue-generating opportunities for Illinois Extension related to agriculture and agribusiness in Illinois.
  • Communicate the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to staff, stakeholders, and constituents.
  • Work closely with County Directors to develop strategies for marketing and positioning of AAB programs in the multi-county Units.
  • Develop statewide strategies for marketing and positioning of AAB programs.
  • Provide leadership in building relationships with state and national agencies/ organizations to communicate Illinois Extension program outcomes and foster appropriate educational collaborations.
  • Collaborate with the administrative team to identify staff in-service education needs to enhance subject competence in content and delivery.
  • Provide leadership in identifying subject content to be delivered by Educators through various methodologies using technology. This may include constantly evolving electronic technologies used in culturally appropriate ways.
  • Participate in professional improvement opportunities when appropriate to the role of Program Leader.
  • Provide leadership with statewide policies and local implementation of a unified Extension Volunteer Delivery System as related to AAB programs.
  • Develop strategies for recruitment, training, retention, and recognition of volunteers.
  • Participate in meetings with the Extension State Advisory Council (ESAC). Provide leadership to the ESAC in making state and national legislative contacts to advance Extension’s programs and funding.
  • Conduct all activities in accordance with the Civil Rights Act, Title IX, Rehabilitation, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the University of Illinois Extension Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity Plan.


  • Report outcomes/accomplishments in AAB for use in state and national reports.
  • Collect, analyze, and disseminate program outcomes and impact on a local, regional, state, and national level.
  • Provide Educators with appropriate evaluation tools to effectively evaluate outcomes.
  • Assist in marketing educational programs and reports to highlight the work and accomplishments of the AAB program area.
  • Demonstrate to stakeholders the importance of volunteer delivered programs to achieve high program quality, program expansion, and program impact.
  • Support the online reporting system by working with the Director of Program Planning and Assessment to gather critical information to determine program outreach efforts and accomplishments in AAB.


  • Collaborate with the Associate Dean and Director of Extension and Outreach and Extension administrative team to determine statewide Educator position priorities and position descriptions.
  • Supervise appointed statewide AAB Educators and staff and conduct performance reviews as appropriate.
  • Communicate with Extension Regional and County Directors on AAB program priorities and contributions made by AAB Educators serving their Units.
  • Provide input regarding performance of AAB Educators to the Regional Director for the completion of performance evaluations by County Directors.
  • Participate in the recruitment, review of applications, and selection of Educators in agriculture and agribusiness.
  • Encourage Extension Educators’ scholarship in coordination with County Directors.
  • Provide leadership to academic and program support staff on the appropriate policies and procedures with the organization’s volunteer delivery system. Ensure policies and procedures are followed in each Unit.


  • Provide fiscal oversight in AAB program areas.
  • Provide statewide summary reports on number of grants, contracts, and fees initiated through AAB programming.
  • Initiate action and leadership to secure public and private funds.
  • Collaborate with the Associate Dean and Director of Extension and Outreach and administrative team on specific funding allocation to the program area and the alignment of resources with priority programming.
  • Provide statewide summary reports on total costs associated with background checks of volunteers, value of volunteers’ time, and commitment to program outreach in various program areas.

Other Information

  • Comply with all University of Illinois Extension Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity policies and guidelines in all aspects of Extension and Outreach work, assists as requested with data collection for Affirmative Action, Gender, and Targeted reports.
  • The Assistant Dean for AAB will assume additional related responsibilities to enhance the mission of Illinois Extension.
  • Local, regional, and 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. Evening/weekend work are an integral part of this position. 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 and Programmatic Relationship

The Assistant Dean, Agriculture and Agribusiness is administratively and programmatically responsible to the Associate Dean and Director, Extension and Outreach.


  • Required: Earned doctorate from an accredited institution of higher education. Appropriate fields of study include those related to agriculture and/or agribusiness. Ten years of successful and progressive experience in program development in the area of agriculture and/or agribusiness. Experience organizing and directing statewide programs and leading and managing teams. Demonstrated ability to secure funding from public and/or private sources. Experience working with external constituencies, volunteer delivery systems, and diverse audiences.

  • Preferred: Ability to be eligible for a 0% adjunct appointment in at least one of the eight College of ACES academic units. Experience in educational delivery in subject content of agriculture and agribusiness and with information delivery through various technologies. Experience collaborating with community organizations to develop innovative programs and activities.

  • Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Understanding of and commitment to the land-grant university mission. Knowledge of the organization, objectives, policies, and programs of the Cooperative Extension Service. Understanding rural and urban issues upon which educational programs are determined. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Evidence of strong interpersonal skills and ability to work within a team environment and with diverse cultural groups. Demonstrated experience with building and maintaining diverse networks. Cultural competency.

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. 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 March 12, 2021.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. 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.

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

For further information about the position please contact Search Chair, Joe Toman, at [email protected]. For technical assistance with the online application process, please email [email protected].

College Name or Administrative Unit:ACES - Extension Category:5-Education and Student Services Title:Assistant Dean, Agriculture and Agribusiness - University of Illinois Extension (139620) Open Date:12/04/2020 Close Date:03/12/2021 Organization Name:Campus Admin




Diversity Profile: University



View more

Learn more on Inside Higher Ed's College Page for University

Arrow pointing right
Job No:
Posted: 12/5/2020
Application Due: 3/12/2021
Work Type: Full Time