Thurston County Extension Director and Agriculture Specialist - Washington State University in State of Washington

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Washington State University

State of, Washington

United States


Detailed Job Description


Official Title: Extension Regional Specialist; Working Title: Thurston County Extension Director and Agriculture Specialist. This is a twelve-month, non-tenure, promotion track faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor or Associate Professor, within the WSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Extension Program Unit, a unit of WSU Extension and the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS). The position is headquartered at the WSU Extension Thurston County Office in Olympia, Washington.


This faculty position is primarily responsible for leading WSU Extension ANR outreach and applied research programs in Thurston County, and providing technical support to local Extension program volunteers. As a member of the WSU Small Farms Team, the incumbent will actively collaborate with neighboring county Extension personnel and regional specialists. Additionally, this position also serves as the lead administrator for WSU county operations in Thurston County and is responsible for overall management of the local County Extension Office.
As County Director, this position is responsible for fostering a strong and collaborative relationship with Thurston county government; common goals are to ensure continued partnership in providing outstanding WSU Extension programming. County Director administrative duties include: supervision of support-staff personnel and program coordinators; preparing and managing the Thurston County Extension Office budget; upholding the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) covenants between Thurston County and WSU; and, ensuring office compliance with all policies and procedures of WSU and Thurston County Government.

Programmatic duties include the planning, delivery, and evaluation of agricultural and natural resource educational programs. Examples include improving commodity production, increasing market access for farmers, enhancing the economic viability of agriculture through direct marketing, researching value-added products, and providing consumer education. These duties are inclusive of connecting consumers with agricultural producers through farmers markets, online marketing, harvest celebrations, workshops, and similar events. Program outcomes will include improved economic and environmental benefits, as well as long-term viability of farming and natural resource enterprises within the urban and rural areas of Thurston County.

• Work with county residents, community organizations, and governmental agencies to implement agriculture and natural resource programs that enhance sustainability.
• Provide leadership, expertise, and programming that addresses priority needs of the agricultural community and natural resource managers, including small farms and direct marketing groups. Audiences will include large and small acreage landowners and managers, consumers, environmentalists, professional groups, and elected officials.
• Utilize traditional as well as innovative educational methodologies that may include the use of grant-hired staff, mobile and web-based technology, trained volunteers, applied research, on-site demonstrations, and other Extension approaches that have proven effective and appropriate for local audiences.
• Facilitate stakeholder access to current and emerging markets to assist in the development of new commodity outlets or sources of farm revenue. Approaches may include direct marketing assistance, access to institutional food purchasing, connections to the hospitality industry, and building food retailer exchanges.
• Create peer-reviewed Extension publications, other scholarly products, and educational materials that are consistent with expectations for Extension scholarship.
• Develop grants and extramural funding resources to maintain funding for county Extension personnel and advance program priorities sufficient to meet the needs of Thurston County residents.
• As County Director, provide proactive engagement with county government; leadership for fiscal and budget management; leadership for civil rights compliance; and maintain a county advisory system.
• Serve as an active member of the WSU Small Farms Team.
• Collaborate and partner with internal and external sources of agricultural expertise; including other WSU faculty, Federal and state agency personnel, county department personnel, and organizations supporting agriculture, natural resource stewardship and local community development.
• Promote, facilitate, and provide technical assistance and leadership development to volunteer Extension programs.

Line of Responsibility:
This WSU faculty member is responsible to the Director of the WSU Extension ANR Program Unit.

• Participate as a member of the WSU ANR Extension Program Unit, the overall WSU Extension Program, the WSU Small Farms Team, and CAHNRS.

• Collaborate with WSU faculty at the research and Extension centers and campus, and other interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary programs or teams, including the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

• Promote external communications with elected officials, agricultural leaders and organizations at the local, state, and federal levels.

• Network with other organizations that support and promote agriculture, including state and local farmer organizations to ensure cooperative relationships that enhance the effectiveness of all agricultural programs.

Required Qualifications

Earned Master’s degree in horticulture, agriculture, agricultural sustainability, soils, agricultural economics, or related field, at the time of hire.

Preferred Qualifications

• Ph.D. degree in agriculture or closely related discipline.
• Documented publication record (e.g., extension publications, scholarly products, educational curricula, etc.)
• Demonstrated ability to deliver educational programs using a variety of methodologies, including distance education and local educational events.
• Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively using verbal, written, and listening skills while relating to a variety of audiences, including elected officials, staff, volunteers, media, and agency representatives.
• Demonstrated leadership of, and teamwork with, interdisciplinary and/or multi-agency teams.
• Demonstrated ability to work with farmers, agribusiness, government agency representatives, elected officials, tribes, farm laborers, environmentalists, Extension colleagues, consumers, and volunteers.
• Demonstrated ability in grant writing and fundraising.
• Proficiency in computer technology, including word processing, spreadsheets, electronic slide presentations, and email.
• Demonstrated experience in the understanding of agricultural marketing systems, trends and food systems.
• Documented ability to design and conduct applied research projects.

Monthly Salary

Commensurate with qualifications and experience

Additional Information


• Understand and carry out the principles and specific requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the American’s with Disability Act, the Affirmative Action Plan, and all pertinent rules and regulations.
• The successful candidate will be required to work flexible hours that include some evenings and weekends as needed. There is an expectation that the candidate will need to drive to various locations around the county and region. Occasional overnight travel is required.
• Extension faculty are hired into the organization, not into a specific geographical location. It is possible that future circumstances may require relocation.
• Ability to travel year-round using own reliable transportation (mileage reimbursed) is required. Evening and weekend work in communities is required. While using a private vehicle for official business, the successful candidate must obtain current automobile liability insurance (meeting the requirements described in RCW 46.30.020 and RCW 46.29.090) and possess a valid driver’s license.
• Employees may undergo background screening as a condition of employment.


Salary is commensurate with available funding and the candidate’s academic and professional qualifications, including history of program management and successful extramural fund development. State of Washington benefits and enrollment in TIAA-CREF are included. For more information on benefits at WSU, go to:


This position is located at the Thurston County Extension Office in Olympia, Washington, site of the Washington State Capital. Thurston County is located at the base of Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula and offers a multitude of opportunities for year-round outdoor activities. Its proximity to Seattle and Portland ensure reliable access to major sporting events, cultural events, and museums, among other urban amenities. In 2014, Thurston County was home to 264,000 residents. The median household income in 2009 was estimated at $59,453 while the median house value in 2009 was estimated at $248,700. Residents are a diverse racial and ethnic mix as reported in the 2010 census (e.g., White, Black or African American; American Indian and Alaskan Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander; Hispanic or Latino; and other.)


The College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) at Washington State University is an expansive and diverse college that includes 16 academic units, four research and extension centers distributed across the state, 13 subject matter centers, and 39 county and one tribal extension offices. CAHNRS fosters disciplines that serve at the interface of scientific discovery and its application to the advancement of society and improvement of the human experience. Our mission is to provide global leadership in discovering, accessing, and disseminating knowledge that contributes to producing a safe, abundant food and fiber supply; promotes the well-being of individuals, families, and communities; enhances the sustainability of agricultural and economic systems; and promotes stewardship of natural resources and ecological systems. In all dimensions of our mission, we strive to embody the signature “World Class. Face to Face.” motto of Washington State University. CAHNRS personnel embrace the opportunity to fulfill the University’s land-grant mission by making groundbreaking research discoveries, by utilizing innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and by delivering relevant, progressive Extension programs that synergistically generate outcomes that enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Washington State, as well as for people around the globe. To learn more about CAHNRS, visit:


Founded in 1890, Washington State University is a comprehensive land-grant university with teaching, research, and extension missions, and one of two research universities in Washington State. WSU is organized into 10 academic colleges, the Honors College, and the Graduate School. It has an enrollment of more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on 4 campuses (Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver) with approximately 20,000 students located on the main campus in Pullman, WA. WSU ranks among the top 60 public research universities and is a Carnegie I, Doctoral/Research Extensive University. WSU strongly values diversity among its faculty, staff, and students, and seeks to ensure a welcoming community for all. To learn more about WSU visit:

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EDUCATOR AND EMPLOYER. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply.

WSU is committed to excellence through diversity and faculty-friendly policy action, including partner accommodation and NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation programs (

WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

WSU is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521(v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384; TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or

Keyword Phrases

  • WSU Extension
  • statewide system with worldwide reach
  • Discover a great place to work!
  • embracing diversity where everyone can grow!
  • Agricultural Extension
  • Extension & Outreach
Employment Type:Administrative Staff
Degree Required: Masters
Experience: See Job Description
Level of Job: Director
Analyst / Staff
Salary: See Job Description
Type of School:Research University
Application Requirements: CV/Resume
Cover Letter