Cornell University, Department of Food Science

Position ID:Cornell-Food-SEREA [#15401]
Position Title: Southeast Extension Associate
Position Type:Other
Position Location:Ithaca, New York 14853, United States [map]
Subject Areas: Food Science / Food Processing and Engineering
Food Safety
Appl Deadline:2019/12/31 11:59PMhelp popup finished (2019/11/06, finished 2020/02/19, listed until 2020/05/06)
Position Description:    

*** this position has been closed, and no new applications is accepted. ***

Extension Associate - Produce Safety Alliance (Southeast Regional) 
Department of Food Science
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Cornell University

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being.

Position Function: 

The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA), based in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, is a collaborative project with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) to provide educational outreach assistance to fresh produce growers and packers, including grower cooperatives, to increase their understanding of the critical role they play in public health by implementing food safety practices on the farm and in packinghouses. Since 2010, the PSA has been developing and delivering a standardized curriculum to educate fruit and vegetable growers, educators, industry members, state departments of agriculture, and regulatory officials on current best practices and guidance related to produce safety, as well as the regulatory requirements that were issued by the US FDA in November 2015 in the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (a.k.a., Produce Safety Rule) as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In addition to conducting trainings to increase understanding and implementation of practices in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, the PSA team provides technical assistance, develops additional educational materials and facilitates collaboration nationally and internationally to address implementation challenges. 

As a key member of the PSA team, the Southeast Regional Extension Associate (SE REA) will be responsible for planning, organizing, instructing, and evaluating PSA training programs for produce growers, extension educators, and regulatory personnel in their region. Due to extensive national and international collaboration established by the PSA, it is anticipated the SE REA will interact with a diverse population of individuals and stakeholder groups with specific emphasis in the Southeast and collaborate with Land-Grant University personnel and the FSMA Southern Center for Food Safety Training, Outreach, and Technical Assistance. The SE REA will facilitate and provide leadership for conference calls and webinars and be directly involved in training other individuals to use the developed curriculum; provide continual feedback to PSA leadership through preparation of regional impact reports, training evaluations, and outreach activities; and participate in weekly PSA team calls. Must be willing to travel regionally and nationally a significant amount of time (~50%), including non-traditional and weekend work hours. This position will be located in the Southeastern U.S. with exact location being flexible within the region. Position will be supervised by the PSA Director, Dr. Elizabeth A. Bihn. 

This is a one-year term appointment with two years of initial funding renewable depending on performance and available funding.

Anticipated Division of Time 

Program Planning & Implementation (40%) 
• Work as part of the PSA team with emphasis on honest, transparent, and open communication. 
• Coordinate and participate in departmental, regional, and nationwide training programs to deliver the Produce Safety Alliance’s developed curriculum to increase grower knowledge and ability to comply with regulations and market demands for food safety practices. 
• Provide research-based knowledge through educational activities including direct teaching, webinars, and other meetings and workshops for fruit and vegetable growers and other produce industry personnel. 
• Ensure a major program emphasis on the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and produce safety practices on farms and in packinghouses, and assist growers in compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. 
• Act as a liaison between Cornell University and PSA collaborators, including regional Land-Grant Universities, state departments of agriculture, grower organizations in the southeast.
• Participate in the PSA Lead Trainer and Trainer-of-Trainers assessment process to continue to develop a cadre of trainers across the globe. 

Building Collaborative Regional Networks (20%) 
• Provide leadership in identifying and supporting regional training needs by working with 1862, 1890, and 1994 land grant institutions, FSMA Regional Centers, produce industry, non-government organizations (e.g., groups working with underserved growers), and state departments of agriculture. 
• Communicate with outside constituency through public presentations at regional grower conferences, Extension meetings, and governmental and non-governmental agencies. 

Research & Outreach Projects (20%) 
• Plan and develop educational materials in partnership with PSA team and collaborators including supplemental curriculum material, regional/commodity/industry specific supporting educational materials including new fact sheets, brochures, and information for the Internet, including social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. 
• Prepare research results for curriculum, proposals, peer-reviewed publications, and seminars including data from focus groups, surveys, and other activities. 
• Perform general library and internet searches to support ongoing and future extension and research projects. 
• Assist PSA leadership in the preparation of grant proposals, especially in educational approaches and techniques to be used with emphasis on regional program needs.  

Program Evaluation (15%) 
• Conduct evaluations of all training programs to report on performance and improve program effectiveness. 
• Conduct and contribute to evaluation of the nation-wide education and outreach curriculum as well as training programs that disseminate the curriculum. 
• Maintain and update shared databases with training evaluations and certification information of trainers and produce growers. 
• Develop verbal and written presentations of program activities, and share regional impact summaries with PSA Leadership, Executive Committee, and other stakeholders. 

Other Duties as Assigned (5%) 

Required Qualifications:

Master of Science (MS) degree in Food Science, Horticulture, Environmental Science, Agricultural Science or equivalent and a minimum of 5 years of experience in a related field. Advanced knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices, fruit and vegetable production, produce safety microbiology, and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Experience training growers. Demonstrated ability to work well with a variety of diverse audiences to organize and conduct trainings, webinars, and other outreach activities to produce growers and industry members. Prior experience in developing partnership networks, preparing training materials and managing data, managing a successful program and experience with third party audits. Must be a self-starter, interested in helping people understand and learn how to implement produce food safety practices and co-management on farms and in packinghouses. Proven ability to identify and relay technical scientific information to a non-scientific audience in a practical and respectful manner, including ability to conduct literature reviews and provide appropriate information to diverse audiences. Experience must demonstrate sound judgment, creativity, management and problem-solving skills, and the ability to work well within a team of professionals. Ability to plan ahead and anticipate potential conflicts so that they can be fairly resolved in a transparent and documented way. Ability to work in a team environment but be independent to accomplish required tasks and objectives while regionally located. Must be personable, maintain a positive attitude, be flexible, and be able to take criticism related to program development and delivery so that many ideas can be shared to achieve the best outcome. Must exercise sound and ethical judgment when acting on behalf of the University. Prior presentation preparation, public speaking, and adult education experience a must. Must have and maintain a valid Driver’s License and have dependable transportation that allows for travel to regional locations. Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs. Proficient in Microsoft office suite (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) and data entry procedures required. Possess excellent organizational, writing, and communication skills and take pride in their work. Work closely with the supervisor under remote supervision, keep supervisor informed of progress, and work independently to complete tasks. 

Preferred Qualifications:

PSA Lead Trainer or PSA Trainer. Food Science, Horticulture, Environmental Science, Agricultural Science or equivalent with experience working in produce safety. Proven ability to facilitate group discussions and lead teams of people through to completion of tasks/assignments in an efficient, safe and timely manner. Research experience in an area relevant to produce safety such as surface water quality or compost production. Fluency in a language other than English. Prior experience writing grant proposals and refereed journal publications desired. Experience with Adobe suite (Acrobat), webinar programs (Zoom, Adobe Connect, Go-To-Meeting), and basic social media platform proficiency (Facebook, University blogs, Twitter) preferred. Ability to work with University, regional, and national media outlets to provide factual and timely updates about training activities, regulatory impacts, and PSA updates a plus.  

Supervision Exercised: 

No direct supervision involved in this position.  


Candidates should submit a CV, cover letter, transcripts, three (3) written reference letters and a statement of contribution to diversity, equity and inclusion via the website  Review of applications will begin on November 15, 2019 and continue until a suitable applicant is identified. 

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities.

Employment Assistance: If you require an accommodation for a disability in order to complete an employment application or to participate in the recruiting process, you are encouraged to contact Cornell University's Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity at voice (607) 255-3976, fax (607) 255-7481, or email at For general questions about the position or the application process, please contact the Recruiter listed in the job posting. Applicants that do not have internet access are encouraged to visit your local library, or local Department of Labor. You may also visit the office of Workforce Recruitment and Retention Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to use a dedicated workstation to complete an online application. Notice to Applicants: Please read the required Notice to Applicants statement by clicking here. This notice contains important information about applying for a position at Cornell as well as some of your rights and responsibilities as an applicant. EEO Statement: Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the position description.

Further Info:
Cornell University
Dept of Food Science
Food Research Lab - NYSAES
665 W. North Street
Geneva, NY 14456

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