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Montana State University MSU Extension Associate Specialist and Director of Montana Seed Potato Certification Program in Bozeman, Montana

Position Details

Position Information

Announcement Number FAC - VA - 24145

For questions regarding this position, please contact:

Doug Holen

406-994-5687 or 406-404-5726

Classification Title

Working Title MSU Extension Associate Specialist and Director of Montana Seed Potato Certification Program

Brief Position Overview

This position oversees all services provided to Montana seed potato growers.

Faculty Tenure Track No

Faculty Rank Non-Tenure Track

Position Number TBD

Department Plant Sciences

Division Extension

Appointment Type Non-Tenure Track

Contract Term Fiscal Year


If other, specify From date

If other, specify End date

Union Affiliation

FTE 1.0

Benefits Eligible Eligible

Salary $65,000 to $90,000 annually, commensurate with experience, education, and qualifications

Contract Type LOA

If other, please specify

Recruitment Type Open

Position Details

General Statement

The MSU Extension Associate Specialist and Director of Montana Seed Potato Certification Program oversees all services provided to Montana seed potato growers required to fulfill the standards of certification. Position breakdown is 40% administrative, 25% scholarship, 25% research and 10% service.

The Montana Seed Potato lab is grower supported and exists to meet the needs of the Montana Seed potato industry. The primary mission is to be an unbiased source of testing to ensure Montana seed potato growers produce disease free seed potatoes. The potato lab does this by conducting in field and post-harvest grow out testing of potato plants for diseases. The MSU Extension Associate Specialist and Director of Montana Seed Potato Certification Program supervises the lab staff and directs all operations including field inspections, inspection fee collection, and grower education and communication. The MSU Extension Associate Specialist and Director of Montana Seed Potato Certification Program also carries out research projects aimed at improving the efficiency of seed potato disease testing.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Supervise tissue culture staff to ensure that the tissue culture program and maintenance of the mother stock collection is run efficiently.

  • Distribution of pre-nuclear material to meet growers needs.

  • Supervise the Assistant Manager and Lab Supervisor to ensure that they are appropriately implementing standard protocols for disease testing.

  • Ensure that disease testing results are accurate and disseminated to growers in a timely manner.

  • Monitor the Lab Supervisor’s supervision of temporary and student employees.

  • Supervise and participate in summer and winter field inspections and communicate results to growers.

  • Maintain and establish contracts for execution of the winter grow out in Hawaii.

  • Track income and expenditures documented by the bookkeeper to develop program budget and ensure that revenue is sufficient to meet expenses.

  • Explore and pursue grant opportunities and research to improve diagnostic capability and services.

  • Develop the program for the annual seed potato seminar.

  • Participate in advisory board meetings, national and international potato board meetings and presentations.

  • Engage with the research community, producers, and professionals in the potato industry to anticipate disease threats to seed quality and respond with timely and reliable diagnostic services.

    Required Qualifications – Experience, Education, Knowledge & Skills

  • PhD degree in Plant Pathology or closely related field, or M.S. degree in Plant Pathology with closely related field and substantial related work experience.

  • Experience working in a supervisory capacity leading efforts of a group.

    Preferred Qualifications – Experience, Education, Knowledge & Skills

  • Demonstrated experience and success in grant writing.

  • Demonstrated success in utilization of strong leadership and management skills.

  • Experience coordinating multi-disciplinary efforts to address issues facing growers.

  • Experience managing budgets (monitoring expenditures and income).

    The Successful Candidate Will

The successful candidate will possess excellent human relation skills; a high level of professionalism; the ability to work effectively with other staff members; evidence of good judgment; flexibility and innovation to respond to the changing needs of potato growers; the ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing when disseminating scientific knowledge effectively to clientele, and the ability to contribute successfully to MSU Extension teaching, research, outreach, and engagement.

The successful candidate will also have a familiarity with multi-cultural and different socioeconomic audiences, an interest in working with people from diverse backgrounds, and a commitment to the principles of diversity.

Position Special Requirements/Additional Information

Extensive travel in Montana during the summer months and must be willing to travel to Hawaii for up to two to three weeks at a time twice a year, 4-6 times for one-to-two-day trips for potato related meetings and field days, and on rare occasions internationally.

This job description should not be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements, but a general description of the job. Nothing contained herein restricts Montana State University’s rights to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.

Must possess a valid driver’s license, an acceptable driving record, and meet all State of Montana requirements to operate State/University vehicles. (If successful candidate possesses a valid out-of-state driver’s license, must obtain a valid Montana driver’s license within 60 days of hire.

Physical Demands

Capable of moving up to 50 lbs and transversing long distances on uneven terrain in variable weather conditions.

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily with or without reasonable accommodations. The requirements listed above are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

The Program

The Department

The College

Posting Detail Information

Number of Vacancies 1

Desired Start Date Upon completion of a successful search.

Position End Date (if temporary)

Open Date

Close Date

Applications will be:

Screening of applications will begin on June 14, 2024; however, applications will continue to be accepted until an adequate applicant pool has been established.

Special Instructions

Diversity Statement

Montana State University values diverse perspectives and is committed to continually supporting, promoting and building an inclusive and culturally diverse campus environment. MSU recognizes the importance of work-life integration and strives to be responsive to the needs of dual career ( couples.

In compliance with the Montana Veteran’s Employment Preference Act, MSU provides preference in employment to veterans, disabled veterans, and certain eligible relatives of veterans. To claim veteran’s preference please complete the veteran’s preference information located in the Demographics section of your profile.

MSU’s Non-Discrimination Policy and Discrimination Grievance Procedures can be located on the MSU Website: