Agriculture Institute Director

WORKING TITLE: Agriculture Institute Director (100%)

OFFICIAL TITLE:  Director, Unspecified (10) M96DN



This appointment is a limited appointment within the meaning of Section 36.17 Wisconsin Statutes, the Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter UWS 15, and the derived policies of the University of Wisconsin System and UW-Extension.  This position serves at the pleasure of the Associate Dean of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  Termination from a limited appointment is not considered a dismissal and is not subject to appeal. 

The Agriculture Institute Director is a senior level administrator who will provide organizational and cross-disciplinary leadership for the Agriculture Institute within Cooperative Extension. This full-time role will be responsible for strategic, financial, and operational oversight of centers within the institute, including the Center for Animal Agriculture, Center for Crops and Soils, Center for Farm Management, and Center for Horticulture. The Institute Director provides administrative leadership in all areas of institute operations, program development, evaluation and implementation; external partnership development; development of financial resources and budgetary administration; and human resource development and administration.

The Institute Director reports directly to the Associate Dean of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources for management and supervision, hiring and employment authority, employment changes, compensation and benefits, supplies and expense budget, development and approval of their plan of work, and performance reviews. The Dean holds promotion authority for Institute Directors. Successful applicants will be considered for ranked faculty status within the Department of Agriculture and Life Sciences, but this is not a requirement of the position.

Cooperative Extension will expect Institute Directors to perform the following core responsibilities, which are grouped based on five general areas.

Organizational / Program Strategy & Decision Making

  • Establish defined goals and provide strategic planning and management for the Agriculture Institute’s programming, including direction for launching new programs and evaluating continuation of existing programs;
  • Participate in the Department leadership team and contribute to developing and guiding the strategic vision for the Department;
  • Set policy and procedural expectations for personnel, in alignment with System, institutional and divisional policies and practices;
  • Approve new programming positions and promotion and salary advancements within the Institute.
  • Lead the development and implementation of marketing and external relations plans for the Institute in with appropriate staff in the Office of Communications and External Relations.
  • Assist with development of work planning and reporting systems for Cooperative Extension, and implement those systems within the institute.
  • Promote excellence in the Institute’s contribute to Extension research and knowledge exchange and learning and teaching strategies.

Partnership Management

  • Work with  Associate Deans of the Departments on ensuring programs are delivered per Inter-institutional Agreements with other UW campuses;
  • Strengthen and manage integration with local and regional Extension Educators through recurring meetings with the Assistant Deans of the geographic zones, Area Extension Directors and other internal and external partners;
  • Coordinate staffing needs and communicate programmatic concentrations with the Assistant Deans of geographic zones and Area Extension Directors based on annual program planning.
  • Represent Cooperative Extension’s agricultural programs to stakeholders throughout Wisconsin and the region, including farm and commodity groups, regional Extension networks, and governmental agencies.

Budget Management

  • Manage overall budget needs for the institute, within the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources;
  • Collaborate with staff in the Office of Financial Services on reporting, policy and other financial and business services;
  • Strategically align operations and budgetary goals.

Staff Management

  • Provide oversight and strategic guidance as needed to Center Directors;
  • Develop and oversee an effective and efficient Institute leadership team comprised of Center Directors
  • Conduct performance evaluations and provide professional development opportunities for Center Directors;
  • Provide direction for overall decision making for recruiting, hiring and training for Center Directors and other Institute level staff as appropriate.

Interdisciplinary & Entrepreneurial Leadership

  • Initiate and provide intentional leadership for multi-disciplinary program topics.
  • Support programming personnel in the development of entrepreneurial initiatives through providing guidance and resources, where appropriate. This includes supporting efforts to attract extramural funding for priority programs.

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in an agricultural discipline with at least five years of work experience;
  • Proven ability to maintain and develop successful relationships with partners across disciplines and geographies;
  • Experience in planning and managing strategic initiatives;
  • Demonstrated experience in programming and research related to the Institute’s purpose;
  • Proven ability to manage budgets and strategic initiatives;
  • Significant successful supervisory experience, including recruiting, hiring and training staff;
  • Knowledge and skills to effectively interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, including those associated with race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, socioeconomic status, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other aspects of human diversity.


  • Doctorate or Terminal degree in an agricultural discipline;
  • More than five years of supervisory experience involving multiple, full-time direct reports;
  • Working knowledge of Cooperative Extension and land-grant institutions;
  • Established track-record of building partnerships with diverse agricultural groups;
  • Proven ability to attract extramural funding.

Position Benefits:
State of Wisconsin benefits including retirement, vacation, sick leave, health insurance, and other insurances. 

Equal Opportunity EMPLOYER:
As an affirmative action employer, UW-Extension provides equal opportunity in programs and employment and is strongly committed to maintaining an organizational climate that supports and respects differences and equality of opportunity. UW-Extension does not discriminate on the basis of age; race; creed; color; disability; sex/gender; sexual orientation; national origin; ancestry; religion; marital status; identity as a veteran, disabled veteran, Vietnam veteran or any other military service; arrest record or non-program related conviction record.  We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.  

A criminal background check will be conducted prior to employment. In compliance with the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, convictions and pending charges will be considered only as they relate to this position.


Applicants are required to apply online.

UW-Extension will not consider paper, emailed or faxed applications. Online application, with all required documents, must be received by January 22, 2018.

Required application materials:

  • A letter of application that addresses how your education and experience meet all of the required qualifications for the position
  • Professional resume that includes degree information
  • Names and contact information (e-mail address, phone number, and mailing address) of at least three references

For questions regarding this position, please contact Jed Colquhoun ( or Patrick Robinson ( For technical questions or assistance, please contact UW Service Center at (888) 298-4159.  For all other questions please contact