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Job Opening: Assistant Director of Programs: Food, Families, and Health , Penn State Extension


    Assistant Director of Programs: Food, Families, and Health

    Penn State Extension is seeking a high-performing individual interested in leading our nationally recognized food, families, and health programs to include health and wellness, family well-being, and vector-borne disease program teams. This is a staff position wherein the successful candidate will be expected to embrace innovation and new approaches that enhance access to and value of our products. The individual will be part of a larger Extension Program Leadership Team that includes seven Assistant Directors of Programs. The position is supervised by the Associate Director of Extension with input from the Director of Extension.

    This position will provide strategic leadership, supervision, and coaching to the Extension unit, educators, and the program teams under their oversight to ensure that relevant, research-based information and assistance is extended to individuals, families, communities, farms, and businesses.

    The Assistant Director for Food, Families, and Health Program’s primary role is to assure that their team is implementing educational programs and developing supporting material designed to help people make healthier food and lifestyle choices. The desired outcome is improved health status and lower health care costs that ultimately lead to improved quality of life for individuals and families. The Assistant Director for Programs position requires outstanding leadership and management skills in human resources; finances; organizational development; relationships, team building; and program development, implementation, and evaluation. Assistant Directors must have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate and work with a wide range of individuals - extension educators, faculty, extension associates, academic department heads, support and strategic unit leadership and staff, elected officials, constituent groups, etc. To this end, the candidate will serve as a representative from the College of Agricultural Sciences on external boards and committees. The candidate must have outstanding organizational skills and the ability to multitask effectively. Desired experiences include revenue generation (grants and contracts, cost-recovery, etc.), writing peer and non-peer-reviewed articles, formal reports, and philanthropy. The candidate should have a basic knowledge of food and agriculture and enjoy being a team member. The individual must be able to work effectively with diverse populations and audiences.  A valid driver's license is required.


    Requires a master’s degree or higher plus ten years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. The degree should be in Nutritional Sciences, Public Health, Food Science, Family, and Consumer Sciences, or a related field. Preference will be given to those with senior-level Extension experience or equivalent and relevant experience in a related field. Candidates must demonstrate effective human relations and communication skills and have personal experience in coaching and mentoring. Outstanding oral and written communication skills and the ability to listen effectively are essential. In addition, candidates must demonstrate experience in resource development and budget management, an ability in acquiring extramural funding to support team and organizational goals, understanding of managing large multidisciplinary teams, openness to exploring the use of new technology for educational program development and/or delivery, and the ability to work with and build relationships with communities, political leaders, and other external partners, as well as with internal campus-based administrators, faculty, and staff. This position requires that you operate a motor vehicle as a part of your job duties.  A valid driver’s license and successful completion of a motor vehicle records check will be required in addition to standard background checks.

    The Pennsylvania State University is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusion that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity in society and nature, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusion as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.

    Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies.

    Penn State Covid-19 Vaccination or Testing Requirements

    Penn State is committed to the health of our local and global communities. As a condition of employment, all employees are required to comply with COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements. Click on Penn State Covid-19 Vaccination or Testing Requirements to learn about the requirements as well as general COVID-19 information at Penn State.

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About the Extension Foundation

This website is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of use at

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