Extension Specialist - Urban Horticultural Production and Management

Clarksville, Maryland
salary + benefits
May 22, 2023
Jun 26, 2023
Full Time




Title: Agent

Working Title: Extension Specialist – Urban Horticultural Production and Management

Position Number: 128081 & 128421

Category Status: Faculty Non-Tenured, On Track, Full-Time

Unit: AGNR-UME-Field Operations

Location: Central Maryland Research and Education Center-Clarksville

University of Maryland Extension is seeking to fill two (2) Extension Specialist positions, in Urban Horticultural Production and Management.

Position Purpose:

University of Maryland Extension (UME) invites applications for a 12-month tenure-track position of Agent to conduct applied research, provide educational programming, and offer expertise in urban horticultural production and management to growers, agricultural service providers, and UME personnel throughout Maryland. The candidate will have training in the principles of urban horticultural production and management and familiarity with urban agriculture in the state. The incumbent will also serve as the Maryland representative for urban horticultural production and management information and training efforts. The position will be based at the Central Maryland Research and Education Center-Clarksville.

Position Responsibilities:

The Specialist is part of a diverse team (College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UME, and key stakeholder groups) working on applied research and extension education for urban agriculture. The individual will provide leadership for relevant urban horticultural production and management programming within the Agriculture and Food Systems Program, one of four UME program areas.

The incumbent will conduct needs assessments to identify research and education program priorities. The Specialist is expected to develop an extramurally funded, applied research program focused on the use of horticultural production and management strategies for urban agriculture in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. The Specialist will develop scholarly works and educate the public on research related to urban horticultural production and management. Excellent farm, greenhouse, and laboratory facilities are available to carry out the research program.

A majority of the Specialist’s time will be spent developing and providing educational programming to urban farmers on crop production and management, which comprises the following:

• Planning and scheduling crop planting and harvesting in urban areas, including indoors, outdoors, in greenhouses, and in high-tunnel production systems.

• Production management practices for controlled-environment agriculture systems.

• Growing trials and production method demonstrations for crops grown in urban areas, including specialty crops such as heritage and ethnic vegetables, herbs, microgreens, mushrooms, and cut flowers.

• Propagation and transplant production.

• Training on and certifications for good agricultural practices.

• Training on organic certifications.

• Any other topic regarding urban farming production methods and crop management the Extension specialist, in consultation urban farmers and farm service providers located in urban areas, determines is necessary.

The Specialist will contribute to the development of recommendations for urban horticultural production and management operations; present information using websites, extension publications, academic  journals, mass media, social media, webcasts, and at research and education meetings; gather and communicate research information to UME personnel; and contribute to urban horticulture demonstrations at university research and education centers. The individual will collaborate closely with farmers, field and campus Extension colleagues, state and federal agencies, industry representatives, agricultural leaders, and other stakeholders to address urban agriculture issues.

The Specialist will use entrepreneurial practices to secure grants, contracts, program fees, partnerships, and sponsorships to develop a robust Extension program that delivers, measures, and interprets the impacts of programs and engagements regarding urban agriculture in Maryland and beyond. Innovative strategies and cutting-edge teaching and learning methods will be used to design, develop, deliver, and evaluate programs for a robust Extension education program that engages participants in a collaborative-learning environment and encourages adoption of research-based information in decision-making. The Specialist will support youth development programs related to urban agriculture.

The individual works to ensure that Extension priorities and initiatives are addressed for target audiences. The Specialist will participate in professional development to enhance and maintain professional expertise in urban horticultural production and management and extension pedagogy. The incumbent will also serve on department, college, and university committees as assigned, and as opportunity and expertise permits. The Specialist is responsible to work intentionally and collaboratively to increase the visibility and reach of Extension programs through education designed to meet the needs of diverse audiences.

The incumbent represents UME and the University of Maryland, College Park. The Specialist ensures that educational programming is in alignment with UME’s current strategic plan and plan of work, especially as it relates to the United States Department of Agriculture. The faculty member will be on track for tenure and promotion to a higher rank in accordance with university policy and UME tenure guidelines within a defined timeframe.

In carrying out these duties, the individual reports to the Assistant Director and Program Leader, Agriculture and Food Systems Program.


Required –

• M.S. degree in horticulture, plant science, or closely related field of study with a strong background in one or more aspects of urban agriculture production.

• Demonstrated clear understanding of the practice of extension education.

• Experience conducting applied research to improve urban farm and agribusiness production management and sustainability.

• Demonstrated leadership and management abilities along with evidence of ability to work with colleagues, students, industry, and other clientele. Evidence of the ability to work effectively as a team member

• Knowledge and use of computer technology for educational programming and management.

• Evidence of excellent teaching and communication skills, and possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.

• Personal transportation and valid driver’s license required. Must be willing to travel throughout the state of Maryland. Out of state travel may also be required.

• Flexible work schedule required for delivering evening and weekend educational programs and activities as determined by clientele availability and need.

• Evidence of capacity to build UME diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect capacity through the Extension program model.

• This position is subject to a Criminal History Record Check and University of Maryland Background check. Employment is contingent upon successful completion and clearance of the Criminal History Record Check.

Preferred –

• Ph.D. in horticulture, plant science, or closely related field of study with a strong background in one or more aspects of urban agriculture production.

• Demonstrated ability to develop outreach programming that assists stakeholders in making research based decisions.

• Evidence of publishing in peer-reviewed journal articles and Extension publications.

• Demonstrated experience in grant writing and obtaining extramural funding.

• Demonstrated skills to effectively use electronic and social media to communicate technical information.

• Experience working with graduate students is desirable.

• Preference will be given to individuals with experience working with diverse audiences and all socioeconomic levels.

• Bilingual in English and Spanish is desirable.

Physical Demands of the Position:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

• This position frequently presents information through vocal and written communication to individuals of various ages, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds.

• A routine part of this position's responsibilities would be to transport materials to and from field research plots and teaching/event locations, including loading and unloading the vehicle. The employee will frequently lift and/or move items weighing up to 20 pounds. Set up and teardown, project displays, tables, and chairs will be necessary at many teaching sites. This position will set up and operate research equipment and machinery.

• This position requires the employee to work outdoors conducting field research, delivering programs, and teaching at events. This may occur during very hot and/or inclement weather.

• Visual acuity is required for preparing and analyzing written or computer data and presentations.

Salary and Benefits:

Salary will be commensurate with experience: Master’s Base: $61,035; Ph.D. Base: $72,896. The University of Maryland offers an extensive benefits package.


All candidates must apply online at https://ejobs.umd.edu. A complete application packet includes a cover letter, resume or CV, copies of transcripts, and three professional references, including name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address.

Closing Date:

For best consideration, complete the application by 06/15/2023. The position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been identified.

The University of Maryland, College Park, an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, creed, marital status, political affiliation, personal appearance, or on the basis of rights secured by the First Amendment, in all aspects of employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.