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Director, Ag Communications
Post Date: 10/13/2020
Close Date: 11/09/2020
North Dakota State University

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$70,000 and above

Fargo, ND

Job Description:
Position Description & Details:

North Dakota State University invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of Agriculture Communication Director. This is a national search and all interested and qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.

The Agriculture Communication Director will lead communications efforts for NDSU Agricultural Affairs and serves as the chief communications officer for units under the NDSU Vice President for Agricultural Affairs including NDSU Extension; the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station; and the NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources. The Agriculture Communication Director reports to the Vice President. The Agriculture Communication Director provides leadership for the department’s efforts, including editorial, marketing, graphics, electronic media, distance education, web services, computer support, distribution, administration, and print/copy. Department staff provide a broad range of services, consulting, and training to faculty and staff on the NDSU campus and across the state. The Director serves on the Extension Leadership Team, and meets with department heads/chairs/directors, Research Extension Center directors, and other stakeholders on a regular basis to develop and implement strategies.

The Agriculture Communication Director, in collaboration with the Vice President, will develop, implement, and oversee short and long-term communication, marketing, and technology strategies for NDSU Agricultural Affairs. This individual works collaboratively with administrative leaders, department staff, research and Extension professionals statewide, University Relations staff, campus communicators, and other allied units to align and strengthen communications, marketing, and branding, strategies, and related priorities.


The Agriculture Communication Director is responsible for providing leadership and managing the staff and fiscal resources of a department of 24 employees.
Departmental Administration

Provide leadership, vision, initiative, and strategic thinking to coordinate the development and implementation of effective, innovative, and educational communication and marketing programs.
Provide effective administrative leadership, including delegating authority, sharing decision making, encouraging professional development and independent learning, facilitating the exchange of ideas, and supporting collaboration.
Assess priorities, anticipate needs, and promote and develop creative methodologies.
Provide leadership in supporting current and adopting new technologies.
Oversee departmental budgeting and cash flows.
Help create a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive environment.
Conduct business in accordance with federal, state, and NDSU policies and procedures.
Oversee the department’s human resources.

Departmental Relations

Maintain a strong working relationship between Agriculture Communication and faculty and staff on campus and throughout the state, in NDSU Extension, the N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station, and other entities.
Serve as a member of and bring communications and technology ideas and expertise to the Extension Leadership Team.
Work with the Vice President for Agricultural Affairs, department chairs/heads/directors, Research Extension Center directors and others on strategic and tactical communications and technology efforts.
Promote collaboration through contacts with other communications and technology leaders, including NDSU University Relations, NDSU campus communicators, NDUS Public Affairs Council, ITS staff, and North Dakota media.
Develop and lead interdisciplinary teams to identify and address timely issues.


Develop and implement a strategic training and learning plan led by Agriculture Communication staff.
Teach various communications and marketing topics to faculty, staff, and students.

Consulting and Resource Support

Lead Extension communications and marketing efforts in coordination with other staff.
Help facilitate the Extension Innovation Team.
Serve as copyright and fair use contact.
Plan for and support crisis communications.
Organize the annual North Dakota FFA Agricultural Communications Career Development Event.

Professional Development and Service

Practice subject matter expertise to serve the department and its audiences.
Be involved in professional organizations, such as the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) and North Dakota Professional Communicators.
Participate in professional development activities to improve skills.


Agriculture Communication staff are funded primarily with NDSU Extension funds, some Agricultural Experiment Station and College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources funds, and some income. Print and Copy Services is a self-supporting unit in the department that provides services for the entire NDSU campus.

For more information on the Agriculture Communication department, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/agcomm

Work Schedule:

Full time.
FLSA exempt.
Requires a valid driver’s license.
Some travel required.

Advertised Salary: Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Applicant Materials Required:

The position is open until filled. For full consideration, application screening will begin on November 9, 2020. Application materials must include: 1) a letter of interest that specifically addresses how your experiences and qualifications intersect with the desired traits indicated for this position; 2) a statement of leadership and management philosophy; 3) a comprehensive vita; and 4) the names and contact information (telephone number, postal address, and email address) of three professional references for future contact, including your professional relationship with each reference listed. Please direct questions or nominations to Dr. John McEvoy, Search Committee Chair, by email (john.mcevoy@ndsu.edu) or phone (701-231-8530). Applicants must submit all materials through the NDSU Human Resources portal.


NDSU offers a comprehensive benefits package with includes single or family health insurance coverage with premiums paid for by the university – with an effective date for new employees the first of the month following date of hire. Other benefits include, wellness benefits, basic life insurance, retirement plan, tuition waiver, annual leave, EAP, sick leave and holiday pay. Optional benefits include supplemental life, dental, vision, long-term care insurance, flexible spending account, and supplemental retirement plans.

Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing, information technology, or a related field.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Excellent interpersonal skills.
Professional experience in communications, journalism, marketing, information technology, or related areas.
Demonstrated leadership and managerial experience.
Demonstrated ability to effectively lead and manage change.
Demonstrated ability to develop and implement innovative ideas.
Experience working in teams where responsibility is delegated and accountability is expected.
Demonstrated ability to build and lead successful teams, and strengthen relationships with internal clients and external stakeholders.
Ability to plan and manage fiscal resources.
Demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Preferred Qualifications:

Knowledge and understanding of the land grant mission
Master’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing, information technology, or a related field
Success in obtaining grants and managing budgets.
Experience working collaboratively with units that are geographically dispersed.

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