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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Posted: 05/19/2020
Extension Outreach Associate, Community Engagement - 121178 - Extended until 6/3/20


Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center

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.

University of Illinois Extension is seeking creative and motivated individuals to join the inaugural team of a newly launched Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center (EPECC) at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. EPECC will work to strengthen university connections across the state in a way that builds reciprocal and collaborative partnerships via the deeply rooted Extension network, which serves more than 1.3 million program participants each year. EPECC staff will provide leadership within a talented network of professionals to re-imagine the land-grant university through public impact-focused research, teaching, and outreach.

The Extension Outreach Associate, Community Engagement serves as a full time, 12 month academic professional directly reporting to the EPECC Coordinator. The Outreach Associate will be primarily responsible for the development and delivery of services that support public impact-focused research (PIR) and community engaged scholarship within Extension’s five critical issue areas: food, economy, environment, community, and health. The position will have emphasis on developing internal communication strategies to foster successful collaboration between partners with highly diverse backgrounds (culture, sector, knowledge, etc.). The Associate will assist EPECC clients via services including training, group facilitation, educational resources, consultation, planning, and evaluation of projects – both those formally supported by EPECC grant and fellowship programs and to the larger Extension and University of Illinois network. The Associate will be responsible for providing expertise and staying abreast of current developments in group dynamics and communication, especially within the context of PIR and community engaged scholarship (e.g., participatory research, citizen science, service learning).

One full-time position is available.

Location: Champaign-Urbana Campus

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

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.

Specific responsibilities of the Extension Outreach Associate, Community Engagement are as follows:

Strategic Development, Delivery, and Evaluation

  • Develop and implement strategies for group communication and collaboration to assist diverse partners in pursuing mutually-beneficial PIR and community engaged scholarship projects.
  • Maintain and develop expertise in the latest developments in group dynamics, communication, and collaboration – particularly as they apply to PIR and community engaged scholarship such as participatory research, citizen science, and service learning.
  • Apply and experiment with new models for group collaboration within PIR and community engaged scholarship by strategically partnering with teams within Extension as well as faculty.
  • Facilitate co-creative planning sessions with key stakeholders, including project goals, work plans, and team work flow.
  • Develop, create and deliver multi-model training and education opportunities on best practices in group communication for public engagement to EPECC clients and the larger Extension and U of I network.
  • Contribute specific technical expertise to clientele and customers of EPECC.
  • Identify with EPECC staff opportunities to integrate additional client services where appropriate and needed.
  • Anticipate and identify barriers to partner participation and project performance, and work to develop and implement corrective support services.
  • Oversee and evaluate project partnership and recruitment goals and address issues as they arise, in consultation with project staff and investigators.
  • Evaluate partner satisfaction and project outcomes for continual improvement by working with EPECC staff; communicate results to Extension leadership and relevant stakeholders.
  • Identify and expand key sources, e.g., university programs and applied researchers, community and professional organizations, and existing databases from which participants can be recruited.
  • Create new opportunities for engagement by collaborating with Extension field offices and community partners.
  • Comply with all reporting deadlines and requirements (e.g., plans of work, logic models, activity and impact reporting, database entry, etc.).

Organizational Leadership and Development

  • Market and represent Extension’s interests to external partners and stakeholders in areas related to expertise.
  • Compete for internal and external resources to enhance the development of innovative educational programs with potential for high impact. Includes strategic use of available funds to increase program quality and impact.
  • Develop and maintain professional collaborations with EPECC-associated partners and Illinois Extension personnel statewide.
  • Establish positive relationships and partnerships with industry, stakeholder, and community groups to secure research collaborations and partnerships for Illinois Extension and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Assist with and support the total University of Illinois Extension and Outreach program.
  • Serve as an effective team member with EPECC and volunteer for leadership roles as appropriate.
  • Perform other duties that contribute to the mission of University of Illinois Extension and Outreach programming, as assigned.


  • Establish professional relationships and participate in campus- and field-based partnerships that tie EPECC to Illinois Extension and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign research programming by partnering with Extension Specialists and/or faculty members on projects as appropriate within the initiatives.
  • Be an active member within a professional society to keep abreast of changes within the discipline.
  • Continually seek professional development opportunities to enhance competency in subject matter area.
  • Use research and evaluation findings to create innovative programs and make changes to existing programs in order to improve quality.
  • Share principles of evidence-based best practices with EPECC, Illinois Extension, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign peers.

Other Information

  • Comply with all University of Illinois Extension Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity policies and guidelines in all aspects of Extension work; assists Unit staff with data collection for Affirmative Action, Gender, and Targeted reports.
  • Local, regional and (limited) 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. Some work will be required during evenings and/or weekends. 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

Administrative Relationship

The Extension Outreach Associate, Community Engagement is administratively responsible to the Coordinator, Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center.


  • Required: Master’s degree in communications, applied science, or related field. Candidates with a Master’s degree in progress may be considered for interviews, but degree must be completed by hire date.  Minimum of three years of direct work with group communications and collaboration. Experience successfully collaborating with individuals from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds to develop program content.
  • Preferred: Experience in applied research and/or higher education settings. Experience developing and facilitating workshops/training to faculty or professionals.
  • Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Strong initiative and ability to work well independently and as part of a team. Evidence of ability to stay current with trends in the field of community engagement and intergroup dialogue. Strong initiative and ability to work well independently and as part of a team. Excellent group facilitation, verbal/written communication, and presentation skills. Demonstrated planning, coordination, and evaluation skills including ability to identify, track and assess success associated with each level of program roll-out. Familiarity with community- public impact-focused research (PIR) and community engaged scholarship. Demonstrated knowledge of and commitment to equitable community-university partnerships, within a research and outreach context, and knowledge of the mission of Extension, the land-grant system, and University of Illinois policies and procedures is preferred.

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 on the Champaign-Urbana campus, with some travel to county offices across the Illinois Extension network. 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 June 3, 2020. 

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

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. 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.

For further information about the position, please contact Deborah Seiler at For technical assistance with the online application process, please email