Communications Specialist for Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention (100%) – Environmental Resource Center

Job Description

Position Description and Position Vacancy Announcement
Application Due Date: May 27, 2014

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION VISION: To be a thriving, well-known and sought-out educational resource that reflects the rich diversity of the state.

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PURPOSE: We teach, learn, lead and serve, connecting people with the University of Wisconsin, and engaging with them in transforming lives and communities.

WORKING TITLE: Communications Specialist for Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention (100%)

OFFICIAL TITLE: Outreach Specialist title series (title prefix to be determined)


OFFICE LOCATIONS: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 101 S. Webster St., Madison, WI, 53707; Environmental Resources Center, 445 Henry Mall, Madison, WI. The Environmental Resources Center is a programming unit within UW‐Extension, Cooperative Extension and UW‐Madison’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

This position is a fixed‐term academic staff appointment in the University of Wisconsin‐Extension’s division of Cooperative Extension. Reappointment to this position after the initial term is dependent upon performance and availability of funding.

As an academic staff member of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension, employed with the Environmental Resources Center (ERC), the Communications Specialist coordinates and implements statewide communication and outreach efforts designed to alter behavior of those engaged in water‐related activities to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Wisconsin. The Communications Specialist is responsible for fostering coordination among stakeholders and partners to ensure a consistent AIS outreach and communications strategy for Wisconsin. Drawing on the AIS expertise in UW‐Extension, Cooperative Extension, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and UW Sea Grant, the Communications Specialist contributes expertise in social marketing and strategic communications to the communication and outreach AIS prevention programs developed and implemented by the position and AIS prevention teams. Expertise in AIS is not required to be successful in this position.

– Develop and implement communication strategies to address specific actions for aquatic invasive species prevention, containment and control as identified by partner and stakeholder groups
– Facilitate coordination related to aquatic invasive species outreach and communications among partners and expand network of partners; this could include coordinating and delivering outreach and communication professional development programs
– Develop communications and outreach messages and materials to reach targeted audiences through a variety of media, consistent with overall communications strategy
– Evaluate success of outreach and communication initiatives and compile reports on program accomplishments
– Collaborate with state and local partners to ensure effective communications responses to new invasive species findings
– Serve as liaison on aquatic invasive species education issues between UW‐Extension, WDNR, Sea Grant, and other organizations
– Reach a diverse audience and ensure access to programs, facilities, and educational services in a manner that is inclusive and does not discriminate
– Stay informed of and make use of communication industry techniques and methods to modify human behavior
– Develop annual work plan based on ongoing assessments of needs that include specific outreach program priorities and performance measures
– Develop and use an appropriate system for evaluating programs and reporting outcomes
– Utilize web‐based resources in collaboration with an IT team to enhance communication among partners, stakeholders and target audiences
– Utilize the expertise of Extension, WDNR, UW Sea Grant, and other agencies and organizations
– Develop and follow a personal plan for professional development
– Participate as needed in a variety of interagency teams and workgroups

– Make individual arrangements for transportation adequate to meet position responsibilities and essential job functions
– Assume frequent travel throughout the state
– Work occasional evenings and weekends, as needed to meet local needs

The Communications Specialist aligns the work of this position with Cooperative Extension’s purpose, vision and values in ways that contribute to supportive workplaces. Cooperative Extension’s values of community, discovery, inclusiveness, relationships and respect achieving the position’s primary outcomes.

The Communications Specialist is expected to contribute to Cooperative Extension’s scholarly environment as appropriate for the position. Standards of excellence are expected to be maintained throughout the academic staff member’s Extension career.

The Communications Specialist actively participates in the shared governance and policy development of the institution, personally or through representatives, to ensure representation in matters affecting staff.

The Communications Specialist meets the position’s reporting accountabilities and performance expectations in collaboration with the ERC Water Resources Coordinator, the Community, Natural Resource and Economic Development (CNRED) Program Director (hiring authority), and the WDNR Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator. To fulfill reporting accountabilities and performance expectations the Communications Specialist will work in close cooperation with and under the program leadership of the ERC Water Resources Coordinator.

– Master’s degree with at least one degree in a field that relates to the responsibilities of this position such as communications or marketing
– Ability to plan and implement communications and educational programs focused on behavior change
– Ability to communicate ideas effectively orally, in writing and through web‐based technology
– 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

– Two or more years of post‐college experience in social marketing or other similar large‐scale outreach/awareness campaigns, preferably in support of natural resources or environmental issues
– Demonstrated success planning, implementing and evaluating communication campaigns for youth and adults in community‐based, non‐formal educational settings that reach, and are accessible to, a wide range of audiences
– Experience in the development and use of web‐based communications tools, including social media
– Strong group process and facilitation skills
– Knowledge of adult learning principles
– Experience working in partnerships with public and non‐governmental organizations
– Skill in building and maintaining professional work relationships and networks
– Strong interpersonal and problem‐solving skills in a team setting; ability to effectively analyze and manage conflicts
– Ability to organize work and to work productively with indirect supervision in a highly visible public sector environment

Individuals who demonstrate increasing capacity in the following organizational competencies, as indicated by the examples listed below, are likely to experience higher levels of success within their Cooperative Extension positions:

Inspires respect and trust; Practices strategic, shared and ethical decision making; Clarifies expectations and accepts feedback; Shows personal responsibility and follow through on commitments; Adapts well to change or unexpected events in the work environment; Finds solutions; Is willing and motivated to learn.

Works in ways that support mutually beneficial partnerships, including being tactfully and diplomatically responsive to others and maintaining confidentiality; Understands group and team dynamics; Gives appropriate recognition to others; Chooses appropriate Extension roles in conflict situations; Manages interactions successfully through an awareness of one’s emotions and those of others.

Recognizes, understands and appreciates the culturally different ways in which others express themselves; Treats others with dignity, respect and consideration; Demonstrates active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity through programming and outreach efforts.

Listens and seeks clarification; Adapts and varies communication to fit cultural contexts and circumstances; Demonstrates effective communication technology skills and presentation skills; Writes clearly and informatively; Possesses skills to strengthen others’ understanding of Extension’s value.

This position description is not intended to be comprehensive in nature given the changes in primary duties/essential job functions and position expectations that can occur over time in response to emerging and assessed community, program and organizational needs. Changes to this position description are subject to the approval of the Cooperative Extension Human Resource Development Office and those to whom the position is accountable.

State of Wisconsin benefits ( including retirement, vacation, sick leave, health insurance, and other insurances. Starting salary range commensurate with qualifications. $42,000 – $48,000.

As an affirmative action employer, UW-Extension provides equal opportunity in programs and employment; and is strongly committed to maintaining a climate supportive of respect for 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.

Materials will be made available in alternative format upon request. Please call 711 if you are hearing or speech impaired and need assistance. Direct inquiries concerning equal opportunity to: UW-Extension Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Room 501; 432 N. Lake Street; Madison, WI 53706.

1) APPLICATION DUE DATE: To receive full consideration, application materials must be received by May 27, 2014 and include all of the following (WHEN UPLOADING DOCUMENTS, PDF FORMAT IS PREFERRED):
a. COVER LETTER (up to two pages) that summarizes how you meet the minimum qualifications of this position. Please prepare a paragraph for each of the minimum qualifications and include formal education, training, professional work history, volunteer work, research, and any related life experiences in your response. Please note that your response will be evaluated for content and written communication skills.

b. PROFESSIONAL RESUME, including related education, professional work history and volunteer experience.

c. CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THREE (3) PROFESSIONAL WORK REFERENCES, including at least one person who has been your immediate supervisor. For each reference, please indicate the nature of your professional relationship and include the persons title, e-mail address and telephone number.

d. FINAL COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS for each of your degrees. Unofficial copies of final college transcripts are acceptable when applying for this position. Official final college transcripts are required upon hire.

Please upload only the materials requested above. Any documents, other than those requested, will be deleted from your application. Application materials that do not comply with these instructions are incomplete and will not be considered. Applications received after the application due date will be accepted through the conclusion of the initial application screening process.

2) Optional Confidentiality Form: Under Wisconsin Statutes, if asked, UW-Extension is required to provide a list of all nominees and applicants who have not requested in writing that their identities remain confidential. The identities of all finalists must be released upon request. Please upload this document along with your other materials. The form can be accessed by copying and pasting the following URL into your browser:

3) A criminal records review will be conducted prior to employment. Completed consent forms will be requested at the time of final interviews. In compliance with the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, convictions and pending charges will be considered only as they relate to this position.

4) How to apply. Please submit application materials to Cooperative Extension Human Resource Development Office nline using the URLs below. Once you are in the Candidate Gateway, please make sure to click on the Advanced Search link and enter 9716 into the Job Opening ID field.
a. Before you get started with the online application process, we recommend you preview the frequently asked questions (FAQs). To do so, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser. External applicants can also view the FAQs after accessing the online system by clicking on the “Help” link in the upper right corner.
b. If you are applying as an applicant who is NOT currently employed by the University of Wisconsin System, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser:
c. If you are applying as a current employee of the University of Wisconsin System, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser:

Company Information
Description :
University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension
Type :
Staffing Firm
Address :
432 N Lake Street
Room 249
Madison, WI 53706
Application Information
Instructions :
see job description
Online :
Job Posting Entered On :
Job Posting Expires On :