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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Posted: 04/27/2023
Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development (Creative and Cultural Arts)


(Creative and Cultural Arts) – 1017357

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 Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development, Creative & Cultural Arts, will focus on creating youth education, leadership, advocacy, community service, and career exploration program opportunities. Topics include but are not limited to visual arts, performing arts and cultural arts. This person will provide leadership in creating a pathway of experiences for youth from county to state to national/international levels. This position serves as a regular, full-time, 12-month academic professional staff member of the State 4-H Office of University of Illinois Extension within the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES). The State 4-H Office provides leadership to the 4-H Youth Development Program delivered through University of Illinois Extension staff and offices throughout the state. This position will integrate program leadership, partnership, scholarship, and public engagement into its everyday practice. In collaboration with University of Illinois faculty, Extension staff and partners, this position will lead and consult on statewide research and programs related youth health and wellness.

One full time position is available.

Location: State 4-H Office, Champaign, IL

Hybrid and remote work arrangements may be considered

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 Extension Specialist are as follows:


Program Development

  • Assess the statewide needs for Creative & Cultural Arts youth programs in a systematic and analytical manner. Topics include but are not limited to art creation and performance, art careers, intersections of arts and culture, art therapy and wellness, art as a tool for advocacy and education.
  • Develop youth programs for formal and informal education contexts in areas of Creative & Cultural Arts that support the 4-H mission to provide hands-on learning, equip youth with skills and experiences for mastery, create opportunities for related career exploration, and empower youth to use what they learn to influence and impact others.
  • Develop, communicate and execute a strategic plan for growth and quality of 4-H Creative & Cultural Arts programs; includes vision for programs delivered by county 4-H staff and volunteers, as well as state and national events.
  • Evaluate both short and long-term impact of 4-H youth Creative & Cultural Arts initiatives.
  • Participate in identification and use of research as it relates to 4-H youth Creative & Cultural Arts initiatives in collaboration with University of Illinois faculty and Extension staff across different disciplines.


State/National Youth Experiences

  • Provide leadership for the design and implementation of state and national Creative & Cultural Arts learning experiences. Those include but are not limited to the annual 4-H Illini Summer Academies and State Fair.
  • Develop opportunities for youth leadership, advocacy and service in relation to Creative & Cultural Arts challenges at local, state and national levels.
  • Work as part of a State 4-H Office team to support statewide events such as State Fair and connect to other aspects of the state 4-H Youth Development plan of work as needed.


Professional Development / 4-H Program Technical Assistance

  • Identify, design, and teach professional development experiences for Extension staff, volunteers, and other partners located throughout the state related to research-informed best practices in Creative & Cultural Arts programs and positive youth development, as well as training related to working with diverse audiences of youth.
  • Promote and provide technical assistance to county staff implementing 4-H Signature Programs related to Creative & Cultural Arts – including but not limited to Social Issues Theater.
  • Keep informed of research best practices in the field of positive youth development and work related to Creative & Cultural Arts with others to provide technical assistance and training to Extension staff and volunteers.
  • Serve as a liaison between county-based staff and the State 4-H office for help in implementing 4-H policies, grants and 4-H Signature programs.


Partnership Development

  • Serve as Illinois liaison for state and national committees related to work around Creative & Cultural Arts youth programs.
  • Establish professional relationships and participate in campus-based partnerships to inform and support 4-H youth Creative & Cultural Arts programs delivered across the state.
  • Establish community and industry partnerships to support 4-H program goals.


Grant Management

  • Apply for and participate in target grants that will support youth Creative & Cultural Arts Includes budget management, staff supervision and program planning, oversight, and evaluation.


Other Information


  • Assume additional related responsibilities to enhance and further the mission of University of Illinois Extension.
  • Local, regional and (limited) statewide travel required.
  • Comply with all Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity policies and guidelines in all aspects of Extension work; assist Unit staff with data collection for Affirmative Action, Gender, and Targeted reports as needed.
  • 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 hr@aces.illinois.edu  


The Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development (Creative & Cultural Arts) is administratively responsible to the Assistant Dean and Director, 4-H Youth Development, and is a member of the State 4-H Office staff.



  • Master’s degree in field related to arts education or youth development. Candidates with a Master’s degree in progress may be considered for interviews, but degree must be completed by hire date.
  • Experience in design and implementation of youth programs.
  • Experience working with diverse youth audiences.


  • Experience within University of Illinois Extension.
  • Experience working with youth as program collaborators and/or engaging youth in community service, advocacy or leadership roles.
  • Experience in applied research.
  • Experience with grant writing and implementation.
  • Experience in cross-organizational partnerships.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Understanding of positive youth development. Understanding of Creative & Cultural Arts issues as they relate to both rural and urban communities.

Additional Information

Immigration sponsorship is not available for this 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/1017357. 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 May 10, 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 Christina Edgington at chrisedg@illinois.edu. For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.