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Director of Agricultural Communications - North Dakota State University

Fargo, ND • Full-Time

Position Information

North Dakota State University invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of Agriculture Communication Director. 

The Agriculture Communication Director will lead communication and marketing efforts for NDSU  Agriculture and serves as the chief communications officer for units under the NDSU Vice President for Agriculture 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 Vice President’s Leadership Council, 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 communication 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 Agriculture (this includes the NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; NDSU Extension; and the ND Agricultural Experiment Station). 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, branding, strategies, and related priorities. 

About the Department:Agriculture Communication activities are funded primarily by NDSU Extension, with some funds from the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources. The unit also derives revenue from some fee for service activities.  Print and Copy Services is a self-supporting enterprise within the department that provides services for the entire NDSU campus.

Responsibilities: The Agriculture Communication Director is responsible for providing leadership and managing the staff and fiscal resources of a department of 21 employees with two open positions. 

Departmental Administration 

  • Provide team 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 and manage departmental budgeting and cash flows. 

  • Help create a welcoming, respectful, inclusive, and collaborative team environment. 

  • Conduct business in accordance with federal, state, and NDSU policies and procedures. 

  • Oversee the department’s human resources in collaboration with NDSU HR including annual staff performance reviews, hiring, and preparing job descriptions. 

  • Lead communications and marketing efforts for NDSU Agriculture (extension, research, and teaching) in coordination with other staff.

  • Maintain involvement in professional organizations and participate in professional development activities.

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 Agriculture, 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. 

  • Lead the implementation of the department’s strategic training and learning plan.

Advertised Salary: Commensurate with experience. 

Minimum Qualifications:Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing, information technology, or any field related to the work ongoing within NDSU Agriculture. 

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. 

  • Excellent interpersonal skills. 

  • Professional experience in communications, journalism, marketing, information technology, or related areas. 

  • Experience with leadership and management responsibilities involved in a supervisory role. 

  • Ability to plan and manage fiscal resources. 

  • Experience working collaboratively with units that are geographically dispersed.

  • 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. 

  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

  • Knowledge of Associated Press writing style.

  • Basic understanding of Agriculture.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing, information technology, or a related field. 

  • Knowledge and understanding of the land grant mission. 

  • Success in obtaining grants and managing budgets. 

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively lead and manage change. 

  • Demonstrated experience in crisis management and communication.     

  • Prior experience organizing  strategic communication planning efforts.     

Applicant Materials Required:For full consideration, application screening will begin on April 26, 2024. 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 resume or curriculum vita that includes work experience and employment history; 3) 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; 4) share strategic communication planning ideas (1-2 pages max.); and 5) provide writing samples (1-2 pages max). Please direct questions or nominations to Dr. Leon Schumacher, Search Committee Chair, by email ( or phone (701-231-5173).   


NDSU offers a comprehensive benefits package which 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.

About Us:

North Dakota State University is distinctive as a student focused, land-grant, research university. We educate leaders who solve national and global challenges by providing affordable access to an excellent education that combines teaching and research in a rich learning environment.

NDSU is in the highest Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, R1, granted to the top research institutions in the country.

NDSU has offices across the state of North Dakota, and the main campus is in Fargo, on the Minnesota border. Along with Moorhead, Minnesota, Fargo forms one of the largest metropolitan centers between Minneapolis and Seattle. The community is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live.

For more information and to apply, please visit here.

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