Penn State Page Banner
About Us

Position Announcement:

Executive Director, Cooperative Extension System (CES) and Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and Assistant Vice President, APLU Office of Food Agriculture, and Natural Resources

Department: Office of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources
Supervisor: Vice President, Food, Agriculture, & Natural Resources in cooperation with the ECOP Chair.
Status: Full-Time; Exempt
Location: Washington, DC
Deadline: Applications will be reviewed as received with preference given to those submitted by February 24, 2023.

The Cooperative Extension System (CES) is a Section of the Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA) located within the Office of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), the CES Governing Board, is seeking a highly skilled Executive Director to serve, guide and report to ECOP in addressing four core themes: 1) building partnerships and acquiring resources; 2) increasing understanding and visibility of cooperative extension at the national level; 3) enhancing leadership and professional development; and 4) strengthening organizational functioning. Successful candidates will be an exceptional leader and communicator, possess the ability to develop partnerships and relationships across a variety of constituencies, including the federal enterprise and will have relevant understanding/experience with the CES or a similar organization.

This full-time National ECOP position is based in Washington, DC. The successful candidate must reside in DC, MD, or VA, be up-to-date with their COVID vaccinations, and pass standard background checks. The incumbent is eligible for a hybrid work schedule.

Cooperative Extension is a congressionally established, educational system designed to connect communities to Land Grant Universities (LGU) and to help people use research-based knowledge to improve their lives. Cooperative extension is coordinated at the national level by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), a leadership and governing board representing the 76 state, territory, and 1890 LGU Extension Programs. For more information, consult Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (aplu.org) and APLU Home Page (aplu.org)

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 251 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU’s agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 5.4 million undergraduates and 1.4 million graduate students, award 1.5 million degrees, employ 1.4 million faculty and staff, and conduct $51 billion in university-based research.

The Executive Director position is 100% funded through Cooperative Extension System assessments and works under the direction of ECOP and with a team of regional Executive Administrator/Directors. The Executive Director’s work is reviewed at least annually by the current ECOP Chair in coordination with the APLU Vice President of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR). The Executive Director will primarily be responsible for the following:

  • Building partnerships and connections to elevate Cooperative Extension in the national dialogue and helping the CES address priority national and local issues by increasing resources, enhancing collaboration, and supporting program development.
  • Advising ECOP’s federal policy agenda.
  • Supporting ECOP members on BAA committees and task forces.
  • Providing strategic executive leadership and operational/logistical support to the organization’s leadership, committees, and ad hoc groups.
  • Overseeing budgets, administration, and policies related to the work of the National ECOP Office in support of Cooperative Extension.
  • Serving as the public face and credible voice representing the CES at the national level to internal and external partners.
  • Participating as an integral member of the FANR team and APLU employee and contributing to an inclusive, welcoming, and collegial workplace.
  • Traveling domestically, outside the DC area as needed, approximately 6-8 weeks per year, to provide leadership for and participate in professional meetings, occasionally in the evenings and over weekends.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree required; terminal degree preferred.
  • A visionary rising mid- or senior-level professional with extensive experience with the Cooperative Extension System or similar organization.
  • Strong executive leadership and organizational management skills. Successful experience in building and maintaining positive, supportive, diverse, and inclusive work environments.
  • A servant leader and organized facilitator of diverse constituencies.
  • Demonstrated understanding of Cooperative Extension budgets, administration, and policy or that of a similar organization.
  • An effective verbal and written communicator, able to clearly articulate a complex organization’s long-term vision and strategy.
  • Experience effectively managing an office and providing leadership, supervision, and evaluation of local and remote staff members, contractors, consultants, working groups, and committees involved in carrying out expected duties.
  • A creative thinker able to imagine new communication pathways to elevate Cooperative Extension on the national stage.
  • Passionate about building the structure and relationships required to move forward successful funding models via public, private, and philanthropic partnerships.
  • Ability to cultivate and maintain relationships in Washington, D.C., including with federal agencies and organizations, land-grant university stakeholder groups, and other partners deemed important by ECOP.
  • Understanding of the legislative and appropriations landscape in which the CES functions.
  • Experience managing budgets with a high level of fiscal accountability and transparency.

To Apply
Interested candidates should send a professional resume, cover letter outlining how the candidate’s qualifications address the leadership expectations and skills identified above, and a one- to two-page narrative summary of your background, experiences, and major accomplishments related to the position roles and responsibilities. This should be sent as a single PDF to APLU’s Human Resources Department at resume@aplu.org with the subject line: Executive Director, ECOP. Applications will be reviewed as received and continue until the position is filled, although preference will be given to applications received by Feb. 24, 2023. Salary will be commensurate with experience. APLU provides a generous benefits package.

APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and is committed to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment and promoting a sense of belonging, which includes recruiting, employing, training, compensating, and promoting staff regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.