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Texas AgriLife Job Opening: Assistant Professor and Extension Horticulture Specialist

Emphasis in Pecans El Paso, Texas

Two rows of mature pecan trees at the Texas A&M Orchard in College Station, Texas.

The Texas A&M Pecan Orchard outside College Station, Texas.

Position Description

Assistant Professor and Extension Horticulture Specialist: Emphasis in Pecans—El Paso, Texas

Position Description:

The AgriLife Research and Extension Center in El Paso, TX and the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX seeks outstanding applicants for a non-tenure track Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist position in horticultural sciences with an emphasis on pecans. This is a 12-month faculty appointment (75% Extension, 25% Research). The position will be based at the AgriLife Research and Extension Center in El Paso, TX.

Position Responsibilities:

  • Collect and synthesize information from county, regional, and statewide program development committees, clientele needs assessments, survey data, clientele organizations, and key industry leaders to guide the content, quality, and priority of programming.
  • Support agents with programming and content related to the subject matter expertise through program planning meetings, individual consultation, site visits with clientele, speaking at educational programs, and in other educational roles.
  • Coordinate with other Extension Specialists/Program Specialists, RPLs and appropriate agent programming efforts, result/demonstrations, and other activities when performed in counties or multi-county programs.
  • Provide professional development opportunities and trainings and mentor and support agents as requested by Regional Program Leaders (RPLs), District Extension Administrators (DEAs), and Associate Department Heads (ADHs) in subject matter, issues identification, and program planning areas.
  • Work with Extension agents and Agency leadership to develop and implement volunteer training activities.
  • Serve as a principal resource for horticultural information and problem solving in the West Region of Texas, the State of Texas, and externally to Texas, when multi-state issues arise that align with the Agency’s mission. The areas of Extension engagement will focus on pecan production but may also support commercial small fruit and vegetable production, viticulture and tree fruit growing in the West region.


  • Understands the type of programmatic approaches needed to meet the needs and capabilities of different audiences for effective program planning and implementation.
  • Develop and participate in disciplinary and interdisciplinary programming efforts as appropriate to adequately address the priority issues facing our stakeholders.
  • Work to effectively coordinate and integrate programs and, as appropriate, contribute to an Extension Coordinated Program Area.
  • Establish and conduct an effective Extension education program for the western irrigated horticulture-industries of Texas.
  • Develop and implement evaluation strategies to assess outcomes from Extension educational programs and demonstrate evidence of program impacts (i.e., knowledge gain, behavior change, adoption of new technologies and best practices, economic impact) as measured by well-designed program evaluations.
  • Participate in program planning at the multi-county or regional level and convey insights to their Associate Department Head, Department Head and agency administration as appropriate.


  • Provide timely and effective coordination, cooperation, and scheduling of activities with colleagues and personnel within and across Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, including but not limited to District Extension Administrators, Regional Program Leaders, Associate Department Heads/Program Leaders, other departmental or unit faculty/staff, County Extension Agents/staff, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research and College personnel.
    Establish strong professional relationships with allied agencies/firms and commodity organizations.
  • Engage with external groups including state and federal government agencies and stakeholder organizations and other entities to better understand issues and potential partners in addressing stakeholder needs.
  • Seek grants, gifts, fee-based programming opportunities, and other revenue sources to advance and sustain programmatic efforts in the pertinent subject areas supported by the position.
  • Hold membership in appropriate professional organizations and societies.
  • Demonstrate collegiality by serving on departmental/unit, Extension and AgriLife committees, and building effective working relationships across departments, agencies, and/or colleges.

Scholarly Efforts:

  • Develop, implement, and evaluate innovative educational programs resources and materials (e.g., fact sheets, instruction manuals, educational videos, online courses, computer software programs, apps, etc.)
  • Conduct applied or translational research that is in line with the Extension programming effort.
  • Advise/mentor graduate students to obtain Extension-based research goals.
  • Communicate pertinent scientific knowledge to pecan industry stakeholders and other pertinent horticultural specialty crop producers in the West region.
  • Publish creative and scholarly work in refereed journals appropriate to the faculty member’s subject matter area, and present research findings in relevant industry trade publications, or at grower conferences, professional meetings, or scientific symposia.

Administrative Relationships:

Extension Specialists and Program Specialists, depending on their home unit, report to an Associate Department Head and respective Department Head or Unit Leader. As applicable, Regional Program Leaders and Program Area Coordinators will provide input in the specialist’s annual review. The center director and the department head will evaluate the research and service component of faculty members.


Required Education and Experience:

  • Ph.D. or soon-to-be-completed Ph.D. in Horticulture, or closely related discipline.
  • Experience in pecan production.

Preferred Education and Experience:

  • Doctoral degree that aligns with the programmatic work of the agency, unit and/or position.
  • Published research results in refereed journals.
  • Training in Extension or adult education methods.
  • Established publication and funding procurement record.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Excellence in verbal and written communication, including a relevant publication record.
  • Team-building skills, collaboration capacity, and project management abilities.
  • Experience in area of specialization, ability to write grant proposals to secure external funding; development and implementation of Extension programming; evidence of publishing in peer-reviewed journals; and participation in professional societies.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Competence in the use of personal computers; navigating communications, team collaboration, word processing and spreadsheet software; and using appropriate statistical-analysis software.
  • Ability to travel to work with pecan industry stakeholders in support of the land grant mission.
  • Ability to multitask and work both independently and cooperatively with others.

Preferred Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Advanced knowledge and experience in pecan, tree nut and tree fruit crops production practices.
  • Experience in conducting applied research in tree nut crops transferrable to effective Extension programming.
  • Evidence of scholarship through scientific and/or Extension presentations and publications.
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with diverse audiences including faculty, stakeholders, and other clientele.
  • Expertise with modern communication strategies such as web-based publications and effective use of social media.
  • Location and Facilities:

The Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at El Paso strives to address problems arising from El Paso’s unique geography. The city is situated on the U.S.-Mexico border and is home to 950,000 people — 96 percent of the population of Far West Texas. Across the Rio Grande is the neighboring Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, with a population of 1.3 million. The region’s frequent droughts and rapidly growing population underscore an urgent need for sufficient, reliable, safe, and cost-efficient water, soil, and food supplies. Focusing on the most pressing needs of Far West Texas, the Texas A&M AgriLife Center at El Paso is home to highly impactful community-focused Extension programs including Agriculture, Community and Economic Development, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Family and Community Health, Horticulture, Integrated Pest Management, Natural Resources, 4-H & Youth Development, 2021 Volunteer Recognition Program, 4-H Tech Changemakers. In addition, the center houses internationally recognized research programs in controlled environment agriculture, the development of profitable drought and salt-tolerant crops, freshwater conservation, groundwater and surface water management, hydrological system dynamics and resilience, natural resource economics and policy, public health nutrition, and salinity management. The center also has a pecan orchard to conduct research, set up demonstrations and knowledge dissemination in the areas of water use efficiency and technology, and climate resilience.

The Department of Horticultural Sciences in College Station, Texas is a nationally ranked program with a mission focused on sustainability, wellness, and food security to support the economic viability, and national and global competitiveness of Texas horticulture, which contributes over $70 Billion per year to the state economy, develop the next generation of academic and industry professionals and leaders, ensure physical and mental well-being of Texans and Americans with abundant availability and access to aesthetic and nutritious horticulture crops.

Additional information about Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Extension and Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture is available at:
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center El Paso
Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture

Review the most recent edition of the Professorial Career Ladder System for Extension Specialist Faculty for more detailed information.

Application Procedure:

Applications will only be accepted online at

Search Position: R-070336

Applicants must upload a

  • Cover letter (two-page limit)
  • Transcripts
  • Curriculum vitae including a list of three references and their contact information within the CV
  • Vision statements of research and extension (two-page limit).

To be given full consideration, please submit applications online here. The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is identified. The anticipated start date is tentatively June 1, 2024.


Address inquiries to Search Committee Chair: Monte Nesbitt, Ph.D. Phone: (979) 862-1218; Email:

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Veterans/Disability Employer

Author Photo

Texas AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is a unique education agency with a statewide network of professional educators, trained volunteers, and county offices. Learn more at