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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Posted: 04/04/2023


University of Illinois Extension

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)




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.

The Assistant Director, Government Relations serves as a regular, full time, 12-month academic professional with primary responsibility for developing and maintaining cooperative relationships with legislators, stakeholders, consumer, public-interest groups, and media outlets to advocate for the outreach mission of University of Illinois Extension in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), with emphasis on supporting the Associate Dean and Director of Extension in achieving the goals and priorities of Extension’s leadership team. Initiate, plan, implement, and evaluate government and stakeholder relations strategies, including new policy and funding initiatives that advance Illinois Extension and its mission; planning and organizing engagements and events with state, local, and federal elected officials, governments, and their agencies; proactively informing and advising Extension leadership about legislation and administrative action of relevance to Extension and its mission, and educating and training for Extension leadership and field staff to evaluate Extension’s status and visibility to legislators and across the state of Illinois.


One full time position is available.

Location: Urbana-Champaign Campus

(Hybrid work schedule is available)


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 http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.


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 Assistant Director, Government Relations are as follows:


Government and Stakeholder Relations

  • Initiate, plan, implement, and evaluate government and stakeholder relations strategies that advance Illinois Extension and its mission, including new policy and funding initiatives; planning and organizing engagements and events with state, local, and federal elected officials, governments, and their agencies; and initiating coordinated actions with stakeholders and coalitions.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with state and federal legislators, state and federal agency leaders, and their staff. Coordinate, facilitate, and support relationships between government officials and key stakeholders and Extension’s Director, leadership team, and other College of ACES and campus officials.
  • Proactively inform and advise Extension leadership about legislation, appropriations, and administrative action of relevance to Extension and its mission, anticipating impacts of strategic and operational decisions.
  • Educate and facilitate Extension leadership and field staff to effectively engage with legislators and stakeholders in Springfield, Chicago, Washington DC, and across the state of Illinois.
  • Coordinate and implement the Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) annual experience for Illinois Extension’s professionals.
  • Serve as the liaison between Illinois Extension and internal and external stakeholders to communicate and coordinate legislative activities and initiatives of relevance to Extension.
  • Serve on the University System’s Council of Governmental and External Relations (COGER) and act as a liaison for federal and state policy, in coordination with Illinois Extension personnel, campus officials and the University’s Office of Government Relations (OGR).
  • Coordinate Extension’s government affairs activities with the College of ACES’ staff and leadership team; serve as the liaison for Extension to the College’s director of legislative affairs.
  • Coordinate and participate in meetings of the Extension State Advisory Council (ESAC).
  • Serve as the primary liaison with Extension Partners, the advocacy organization for Illinois Extension.
  • Provide direct assistance to the Director in timely response to public and staff concerns.
  • Perform other duties that further the mission of Illinois Extension as assigned.


Strategic Communications

  • Promote and advocate for Illinois Extension within Extension, the College of ACES, across the Urbana-Champaign campus and university system, and across the state.
  • Initiate, plan, implement, and evaluate communication strategies in concert with Extension’s Director of Marketing and Communications to communicate vision, mission, core values, and impact of Illinois Extension across integrated topic areas, goals, and national programs to legislators, stakeholders, consumers, public-interest groups, and media outlets.
  • Coordinate crisis communications with Illinois Extension’s Director of Marketing and Communications and the College of ACES, as appropriate.
  • Initiate and prepare talking points for the Associate Dean, leadership team members, and others regarding topics of interest and emerging issues regarding government affairs.
  • In conjunction with Illinois Extension’s Director of Program Planning and Assessment, develop and coordinate impact statements from Illinois Extension data sources.
  • With support from Extension’s Marketing and Communications staff, prepare press releases, newsletters, press kits, social media materials, and other communications for external and internal audiences.
  • Support Illinois Extension’s leadership team in coordinating partnerships, special projects, and events involving Extension personnel, other University members, industry, government, and community officials.
  • Support Illinois Extension’s Director of Marketing and Communications in achieving goals and priorities of Extension and Extension’s leadership team regarding government relations.


Staff Development

  • Supervise the Outreach Associate for Government Relations; oversee and provide guidance for excellence in governmental and stakeholders relationships, affairs, publicity and activities.
  • Provide direction and training to the Outreach Associate for Government Relations, Extension leadership team members, and Extension field staff regarding government affairs and stakeholder engagement.


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.
  • Assume additional related responsibilities to enhance the mission of the unit.
  • Local, regional, and statewide travel required; personal transportation required. Evening/weekend work are an integral part of this position. Travel reimbursement is provided for either personal vehicle use or other means of transportation as coordinated by employee in accordance with University policies.
  • 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 required.  Evening/weekend work are an integral part of this position. 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 hr@aces.illinois.edu.


Administrative Relationship

The Assistant Director, Government Relations is administratively responsible to the Associate Dean and Director, Extension and Outreach.




  • Master’s degree. Candidates with a Master’s degree in progress may be considered for interviews, but degree must be completed by hire date.
  • Three to five years of relevant work experience in educational public relations, outreach administration, government affairs, engagement with elected officials, strategy, public policy, and/or stakeholder relationships.



  • Understanding of and commitment to the land-grant university mission and/or experience with or deep knowledge of the organization, objectives, policies and programs of the Cooperative Extension Service.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated record of teamwork and relationship building. Strong written and oral communication skills. Evidence of ability to work with diverse individuals and groups. Clear evidence of self-direction, initiative and follow through.
  • Creativity and entrepreneurial mindset, and knowledge of organizational structure, programs, and culture unique to Illinois Extension are preferred.


Additional Information

Immigration sponsorship is not available for the position. This 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.  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 https://go.illinois.edu/1016496. Please upload a resume, cover letter, and the names and contact information for three professional references. Resume dates submitted 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 April 5, 2023.



The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. 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 search chair Bridget Lee-Calfas at bklee@illinois.edu.  For technical assistance with the online application process, please email jobs@illinois.edu.