Assistant Extension Professor

Apply now Job no: 498057
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 011100 - Plant and Soil Sciences
Location: Main Campus - Starkville, MS
Categories: Faculty
Position Open Date:

Department Profile:

The Department of Plant and Soil Sciences (PSS) in collaboration with the Office of Nutrition Education (ONE) at Mississippi State University is seeking to fill an Assistant/Associate Extension Professor, non-tenure track, 100% Extension position in Horticulture Food Systems. The successful candidate will establish a nationally recognized program in food systems.

Area of Specialization:

Horticulture Food Systems

Anticipated Appointment Date:

May 1, 2019

Tenure Track Status:

Non-Tenure Track

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Program Supervision, Direction and Development:
The Department Heads from Plant and Soil Science (Administrative) and ONE (Programmatically) are in direct supervision of this position. This position is expected to function in an independent manner and self-direct the work of the position. This position exercises independence and initiative in completing assignments and receives general administrative direction. Work is reviewed for attainment of objectives and conformance with prescribed policies and procedures.
The successful candidate will assist with all aspects of the SNAP-Ed Farm to School and Community partnerships with specific aims to:
• Increase the amount of locally produced foods in school cafeterias, office cafeterias, corporate events and conferences.
• Support the development and operation of farmer’ markets.
• Increase school and community gardens sustainability.
• Interpret Mississippi State University, State of Mississippi, and federal (USDA) policies and guidelines relevant to SNAP- Ed as needed.

Essential Functions of the position:
40% Ongoing Training and County Program Support
• Implement and manage training in each of the following areas: school food procurement (in collaboration with MS Dept. Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC); school, child care, and community gardens; access to healthful foods; working with vendors and farmers’ markets; provide periodic updates on crop development and market items via social media and other areas as needed.
• Provide technical support and assistance to Extension Agents – ANR in creating on-going training opportunities for program assistants using established program assistant core competencies as a guide.
• Work collaboratively with other state-level specialists to develop and provide training support to counties.
• Create presentations for statewide, regional, and national meetings and conferences.
• Assist with county site visits and program reviews.
• Identify research-based educational materials, including but not limited to, curricula, fact sheets, and brochures for project participants and recipients.

25% Work with Regional Registered Dietitians, CWP, and Nutrition Educators
• Provide leadership including training on food safety and food systems, connecting school authorities to MS farmers (in collaboration with MDAC), designing and implementing school and community gardens, and working effectively with Extension faculty and other team members.
• Conduct weekly or monthly “check-ins” to ensure Regional Registered Dietitians, CWP, and Nutrition Educators have the support and resources required to complete their jobs.
• Conduct site reviews to ensure CWP and Nutrition Educators are appropriately and consistently implementing program objectives.
• Contribute to evaluation of CWP and Nutrition Educators on an annual basis.

15% Program Administration
• Schedule and facilitate conference calls among the ONE project director, Extension faculty, and stakeholders.
• Document and disseminate best practices through statewide and local meetings using a variety of communication tools.
• Develop and coordinate schedules and timetables for project milestones and deliverables.
• Assist the ONE project director and fellow staff members to foster strategic partnerships within the institution and broadly throughout the state to work in collaboration with MS Farm to School and Community partners.

10% Program Evaluation and Reporting
• Draft monthly project status updates for data management coordinator.
• Assist with completion of other reports as needed.

10% Other
• Undertake other responsibilities and special projects as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

PhD degree in Horticulture, Plant Science or related field with an emphasis in vegetable production. The graduate program should have involved in-depth study related to production of vegetable crops. ABD will be considered with May/June graduation expected.

Demonstrated ability to translate research into educational program in vegetable production, gardening promotion and food systems for audiences of all age groups is critical.

Effective and innovative teaching strategies that engage others, including strong listening, written and oral communication skills with a courteous and helpful manner in all communications. Must be able to integrate new and emerging technology into teaching strategies.

Must have a general knowledge of food systems and some combination of experience in one or more of the following fields: horticulture, nutrition, agriculture, marketing and/or Extension programming.

Demonstrated ability to positively interact with a wide variety of business and organizational partners and articulate the SNAP-Ed program goals, strategies, and outcomes with confidence.

Must maintain a valid driver’s license.

ABDs or degree pending considered (all but DISS):


Preferred Qualifications:

Excellent attendance history in prior positions; completeness, accuracy, and timeliness in all work, scheduling and event management experience; proficiency with MS office software, social media tools and other web computer applications are keys to success.

Experience working in a college or university setting. The successful candidate will manage and prioritize tasks, anticipate problems and work towards resolution without intensive management, attention to detail, exhibit superior time management and organizational skills.

Experience with and/or education in GAP certification.

Knowledge of nutrition.

Experience working with farmers and/or with schools.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort:

Physical effort/activity will be required: Must be able to lift 25 to 50 pounds unassisted and have the ability to lift, stoop, stand and bend as needed.

Instructions for Applying:

Applicants must apply online and attach a cover letter, curriculum vitae, unofficial transcripts, and the complete contact information for at least three professional references. Any social security numbers included on requested transcripts should be redacted prior to submitting online.
Inquiries may be made to:
Dr. Richard L. Harkess, Horticulture Professor
Mississippi State University
Dept. Plant and Soil Sciences
117 Dorman Hall, Box 9555
Mississippi State, MS 39762
TEL: 662-325-4556

Restricted Clause:

Position contingent upon funding availability.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, disability status, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

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Applications close:

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