Friday, July 9, 2010

NCR-SARE to Hire Professional Development Program Coordinator

The USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program seeks applications for a coordinator of the Professional Development Program (PDP). Please help us fill the position by applying yourself or by forwarding the description to someone who might be interested.

Program Background

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, SARE is a national program that supports and promotes sustainable food and fiber systems. SARE offers competitive grants and other educational endeavors to farmers and ranchers, scientists and researchers, educators, agencies, institutions, organizations, and other people and groups exploring sustainable agriculture. SARE is comprised of four separate regional programs.

NCR-SARE seeks to promote research, educational programs, and professional development that contribute to the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of agricultural sustainability in north central region. The region is made up of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Five grant programs currently support this mission: the Research and Education Grant Program, the Professional Development Program, the Farmer/Grower Grant Program, the Graduate Student and the Youth and Youth Educator Program. Further information on NCR-SARE is available online at:

NCR-SARE offers competitive grants and other educational endeavors for farmers, scientists and researchers, educators, agencies, institutions, organizations, and other people and groups exploring sustainable agriculture. The PDP initiative provides professional development opportunities for Cooperative Extension and Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other appropriate educator members of the north central agricultural community in sustainable agriculture concepts, practices, and systems. The program was initiated in 1994 to enhance the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, systems, and concepts throughout the region. It is authorized by Chapter 3 of Subtitle B of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990.

Responsibilities of the Position

The PDP coordinator is responsible to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council, in cooperation and coordination with the SARE regional director, who is located at the University of Minnesota. The PDP coordinator provides leadership for the professional development effort. Specific responsibilities include:

· Coordinate the regional PDP effort and develop the annual PDP plan of work, annual report, and appropriate public relations initiatives.

· Work in tandem with the Administrative Council to develop educational and professional development endeavors that promote, support and advance NCR-SARE

· Design requests for proposals, organize and facilitate PDP review panels for competitive grants, compile review panel recommendations and provide written and oral summary reports to the administrative council.

· Provide leadership and coordination of the PDP Review Committee of the Administrative Council to review state PDP grant applications and provide recommendations to the Administrative Council.

· Work with the state PDP coordinators to strengthen and improve the individual state PDP activities.

· Facilitate multistate and NCR-SARE PDP activities and workshops.

· Make policy and oversight recommendations to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council.

· Integrate SARE research results and other information into a core curriculum of educational and outreach materials and activities on sustainable agriculture.

· Provide leadership and oversight for the new regional core training curriculum.

· Evaluate program through formal and informal means to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

· Provide budgetary input to the regional director.

· Communicate with SARE PDP stakeholders, including state coordinators for sustainable agriculture, NGO representatives, farmers, and competitively funded project recipients.

· Coordinate other aspects of the NCR-SARE PDP effort as requested by the Administrative Council.

· Coordinate aspects of NCR-SARE PDP with other regional PDP efforts.

More Details

The administrative council welcomes applications for the PDP coordinator position from individuals from a range of types of institutions.

The successful applicant will devote at minimum three-quarter time to this effort, with a potential for full-time. Salary, staff support, and operating budget will be negotiated. The final agreement will be in the form of a subcontract issued by the University of Minnesota, where fiscal management of the PDP resides. The USDA will not pay overhead to an institution whose employee is selected for PDP coordinator.

Criteria for Selection

· Evidence of substantive leadership experience and a strong vision of sustainable agriculture in the north central region.

· Demonstrated success using a participatory leadership style.

· Strong evidence of creativity and innovation in developing, implementing and evaluating action plans.

· Demonstrated strength in administrative skills and follow-through in planning, the execution of agreed-upon plans, and their ongoing evaluation and improvement.

· Demonstrated ability to work with diverse PDP stakeholders.

· Familiarity and training in adult educational principles and practices.

· Familiarity with educational technology.

· Exemplary written and oral communications skills.

· Organizational commitment from the applicant’s institution, including the provision of at least basic facilities such as office space, utilities, furniture, and necessary office equipment.

· Evidence of ability to perform without on-site supervision.

The administrative council is committed to a seamless NCR-SARE program that provides linkages and coordination among its five grant programs. Applicants for the PDP coordinator position must be committed to the overall SARE program and strong coordination with the regional SARE coordinator and other staff at the regional office.

To Apply Please Use the Following Format:

1. Cover page with the name and title of the applicant, address, phone numbers, fax, and e-mail. Include organizational signature of authorization. Please include the effort (minimum of 75%) or range of effort that you are interested in devoting to this position. One page.

2. Qualifications of proposed coordinator pertinent to this position, including relevant experience and philosophy relative to agricultural sustainability in general and NCR-SARE in particular. Up to two pages.

3. Provide an explanation of how you expect to provide effective and equitable leadership to extension educators at land-grant universities and agriculture professionals at other institutions or organizations who are served by this program. Up to two pages.

4. Description of the sponsoring organization(s), characteristics, and commitment to agricultural sustainability, as well as to NCR-SARE PDP, including past commitment to sustainable agriculture, facilities available, location, and any other pertinent information. Up to two pages.

5. Letter of support from the director of Cooperative Extension in the state where the program resides, if the applicant is an employee of a land-grant university, or from an appropriate administrator if the applicant is from another institution or organization. One page.

6. Curriculum vitae of the applicant.

Submit one signed original and an electronic copy to:

Bill Wilcke
Regional Coordinator
120 BAE, University of Minnesota
1390 Eckles Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
Phone: 612-625-8205
Fax: 612-626-3132

Application Review will begin: August 16, 2010

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