Tree Fruit Educator
This position provides local as well as statewide leadership and educational programming expertise in tree fruit production in alignment with the AABI Fruit Team. This position will have primary coverage in west central Michigan with statewide responsibilities, as needed, and will collaborate across work teams, Institutes, and community groups, working with faculty, specialists and educators to achieve efficient, profitable and sustainable fruit production, and overall advancement for the Michigan tree fruit industries.
Tree Fruit Educator
As part of MSU Extension (MSUE) and the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI), this position provides local as well as statewide leadership and educational programming expertise in tree fruit production in alignment with the AABI Fruit Team. This position will have primary coverage in west central Michigan with statewide responsibilities, as needed, and will collaborate across work teams, Institutes, and community groups, working with faculty, specialists and educators to achieve efficient, profitable and sustainable fruit production, and overall advancement for the Michigan tree fruit industries.
Tree fruit production in Western Michigan represents 19,330 acres of active production and includes cherries (sweet and tart), apples and peaches. The combination of soil characteristics and microclimate are unique to the West Central Michigan production region.
This position will be located in Oceana County (Hart, MI) in West Michigan with office space available in the MSU Extension Oceana County office. In addition, you may have working space at the West Central Michigan Horticulture Research and Extension Center.
In this position, you will identify, design, implement and evaluate research-based educational programming that addresses clientele group needs, and disseminate research-based information through various methods, including on-line and digital delivery of educational resources, multi-media, personal education and written articles. Your work may include but would not be limited to developing educational programming to improve horticultural management, conduct integrated pest management, hold educational meetings for growers, and conduct on-farm consultations. You will support AABI and MSU Extension’s efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a special emphasis on reaching diverse populations. You will serve as an informational resource for Extension personnel and clientele, and will provide growers, processors and agri-business professionals with the knowledge to profitably produce fruit crops, while minimizing environmental impact, contributing to the short- and long-term viability of farms, and the economic well-being of Michigan growers. You will have the opportunity to work with the newly established West Central Michigan Horticulture Research and Extension Center that will host both fruit and vegetable research and demonstrations. You will also contribute to the short and long-term impact assessment of the Fruit Team. You will have the ability to network statewide with the existing core of Fruit Team specialists, educators and campus faculty while also connecting with program areas across MSU Extension to provide education and service to Michigan’s Fruit industry and residents of the state. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential elements vital to the culture MSU Extension endeavors to cultivate and you will incorporate these important ideals into your work.
- Identify, develop, conduct and evaluate innovative educational programs for the Tree Fruit Industry that meet current and projected statewide needs, and supports growth and understanding of critical issues facing Tree Fruit growers. It is expected that educational programs will foster inclusion by recognizing and valuing diverse perspectives, skills and experiences, while working to create equal access to programming, including issues identified for underserved and minority populations.
- Develop and maintain positive working relationships intra- and inter-organizationally.
- In concert with the MSU Extension Fruit Team, communicate and interact with community groups, clientele, agribusiness, underserved and minority communities, and federal, state and county agencies, to complete needs assessment of the Tree Fruit industry and develop effective programming.
- Collaborate with MSU Extension staff to conduct and evaluate programming efforts.
- Support AABI’s efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a special emphasis on reaching diverse populations, including but not limited to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status, socio-economic class and other human differences.
- Understand, support, foster and prioritize integration of diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
- Create and promote positive public relations for MSU Extension and the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute.
- Serve as an information resource to clientele, partners and Extension staff.
- Understand and implement Civil Rights, diversity, equity and inclusion policies and procedures.
- Work to identify and remove barriers from participation in MSU Extension programs.
- Develop and utilize appropriate media methods that are inclusive and accessible to communicate current and timely information, research results, and relevant industry updates, as well as a schedule of current and future activities.
- Gather and report programming outputs and impacts, to demonstrate program effectiveness and to guide future program priorities for MSU Extension, AABI and its work teams.
- Initiate efforts to expand MSU Extension programs to ensure that the Tree Fruit industry needs assessments, program development and recruitment efforts include the engagement of Michigan’s diverse residents across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities, and other differences.
- Author, produce and publish regular research-based educational materials.
- Actively participate in professional development opportunities.
- Other duties or projects as assigned by the Institute Director.
Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.
Masters -Horticulture (fruit/tree fruit)
- Master’s degree from an accredited institution in a field of study related to fruit Horticulture, with emphasis on tree fruit, must be earned by date of hire.
- Demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation.
- Demonstrated skills and professional development from the last five years related to cultural competency and inclusive excellence.
- Ability to demonstrate sensitivity, knowledge, and use of appropriate approaches, skills and techniques, which reflect an understanding and awareness of social, cultural and economic diversity of the target populations served.
- Demonstrated success in program development and delivery to diverse audiences/communities, and proven ability in establishing and working with a diverse network of constituents and community members across race, color, gender, national origin, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, veteran status, socioeconomic class, and other differences.
- Understanding of and ability to implement Civil Rights principles and compliance standards.
- Ability to create and carryout a project plan from development of initial concept to project completion and evaluation.
- Strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.
- Experience and proven ability working productively with a team serving in both leadership and contributor roles.
- Self-motivated with demonstrated ability to work independently in an office environment without daily supervision and/or coaching.
- Experience with marketing/promotion of educational programs.
- Proficiency in use of technology (e.g., web research, Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook for mail/calendaring, distance technology, etc.) for day-to-day work and educational program delivery, record keeping, reporting, team-based communications, and overall management.
- Ability to lift and carry educational materials, equipment, etc. up to 25 lbs.
- Ability to travel in local and surrounding communities and occasional long-distance travel are required as a regular part of this position.
- Transportation is the responsibility of the employee.
- Other skills and/or physical abilities required to perform duties of the position.
- 3-years’ experience in Extension program delivery or demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation (relevant experience acquired within the last 5-years, preferred).
- Demonstrated drive and initiative, with proven ability to manage multiple responsibilities and tasks simultaneously.
- Experience in successful contract and grant writing, including securing and managing grant funds and resources.
Required Application Materials
Four (4) professional references including two (2) current or previous supervisors.
This position is a full-time, fixed term end-dated appointment, renewable annually based upon successful performance and continued funding.
Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.