As part of MSU Extension (MSUE) and the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, this position provides local as well as statewide leadership and educational programming expertise in viticulture production. The position is located in Berrien County at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center, Benton Harbor. This center is located in the heart of the juice and wine grape region in southwest Michigan with nearly 20 acres at the center dedicated to grape research and outreach. The position will conduct research and extension programming relevant to address the challenges germane to the grape industry in the region and work across southwest Michigan with grape growers. The successful applicant will collaborate across work teams and Institutes including working with faculty, specialists and educators to achieve efficient, profitable and sustainable viticulture production and overall advancement for the Michigan viticulture industry.
Furthermore, the successful applicant will also design, implement and evaluate educational programming based on basic and applied research addressing the needs of Michigan growers and viticulture industry groups. The successful applicant will secure intra- and extramural grant funding to support their research and extension programs; ensure dissemination of research-based information through various methods, including multi-media, personal education and written articles; provide growers, processors and agri-business professionals with the knowledge to profitably produce their crop while minimizing environmental impact; serve as an informational resource for Extension personnel and clientele. This is a full-time, fixed-term position, renewable on an annual basis.
Develop an innovative and forward-thinking intra- and extramurally funded applied viticulture research program addressing contemporary and future grape industry needs.
Develop research collaborations within the university, across the region and globally, to address emerging issues important to Michigan grape growers.
Develop, conduct and evaluate innovative research-based educational programs that meet current and projected needs of southwest Michigan and statewide growers, processors, and agri-business professionals.
Assist MSU Extension’s Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) and MSU AgBioResearch in determining research and programmatic needs of southwest Michigan growers, as well as statewide needs through interaction with state commodity groups and associations and communicate those needs to county commissioners, campus-based academic units, and research partners.
Communicate and interact with commodity groups to evaluate the needs of Michigan’s viticulture industry and determine research and educational programming goals.
Serve as an information resource for clientele, partners, viticulture personnel throughout Michigan, and work with statewide AABI workgroups to effectively plan and implement relevant programming.
Consult with industry leaders, consultants, educators, and other appropriate advisory persons to develop an extension and applied research plan of work, which will include the planning, implementation and evaluation to measure change in knowledge for production management, as well as economic, environmental and/or social impacts.
Collaborate with campus researchers in appropriate MSU departments (Horticulture; Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences; Entomology, etc.) to develop relevant research related programming.
Author/co-author, produce, and submit regular research results, reports, and research-based educational articles in appropriate venues including University publications and websites, industry publications, and scientific journals.
As part of the planning, implementation and evaluation process for Extension and research programming, assess improved clientele knowledge on production management, as well as economic, environmental and/or social impacts.
In concert with the MSU Extension work team(s), interact with federal, state and county agencies that support agriculture industries to determine research, demonstration, and programmatic needs of the region as well as the state and communicate those needs to county commissioners, campus-based departments, and research partners.
Develop and utilize appropriate media methods to communicate current and timely information, research results and relevant industry updates, as well as a schedule of current and future activities.
Actively participate in professional development opportunities.
Gather and report programming outputs and impacts to demonstrate program effectiveness and to guide future program priorities for MSU Extension, the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, and MSU AgBioResearch and the work group aligned with.
Work to ensure that community needs assessments, program development, and recruitment efforts include the engagement of Michigan’s diverse residents across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
Create and promote positive public relations for MSU Extension, the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute and MSU AgBioResearch.
Understand and implement Civil Rights policies and procedures.
Other duties or projects as assigned by the Institute Director.
M.S. degree from an accredited institution in a field of study related to horticulture, entomology, plant pathology or crop science, must be earned by date of hire.
Background in viticulture, and experience in horticulture practices related to viticulture research and education.
Experience in conducting research independently.
Experience in successfully acquiring grant funding.
Demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation.
Ability to create and carryout a project plan from development of initial concept to project completion and follow-up/impact assessment.
Strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.
Self-motivated with demonstrated ability to work independently in an office environment without daily supervision and/or coaching.
Experience and proven ability working productively with a team.
Proficiency in use of technology (e.g. web research, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook for mail/calendaring, distance delivery/communication technology, etc.) for day-to-day work and educational program delivery, record keeping, reporting, team-based communications and overall management.
Experience with marketing/promotion of educational programs.
Demonstrated success in, or commitment to, program development and delivery to diverse audiences/communities including but not limited to race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
Proven ability in establishing and working with a diverse network of constituents and community members across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences to assist with program development and outreach.
Understanding of, and ability to implement, Civil Rights principles and compliance standards.
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.
Persons with a Ph.D. from an accredited institution in a field of study related to horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, or crop science with a background in viticulture are encouraged to apply.
Three or more years of horticulture practices related to viticulture research and education experience (relevant experience acquired within the last 5-years preferred).
Three years of 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).
Required Application Materials
Applicants are asked to submit a current resume/CV, cover letter and four (4) professional references.
This position is a full-time, fixed term end-dated appointment renewable annually based upon successful performance and continued funding.
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