National Urban Extension Leaders Communications & Capacity Building Fellow

The National Urban Extension Leadership (NUEL) was established in 2013 to advance the strategic importance and long-term value of urban Extension activities and to foster collaboration at the local, regional, and national levels to create greater capacity within the Cooperative Extension System. In 2015, urban Extension was added to the list of Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) priority initiatives and NUEL became a task force/committee under the ECOP Program Committee. At that time a national NUEL Steering Committee was organized. The NUEL Steering Committee consists of seventeen members, three representatives appointed by the Extension directors/administrators from each ECOP region, a ECOP representative, and a representative from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). 

In 2019 NUEL developed a National Urban Extension Initiative Implementation Plan that was approved by the ECOP Program Committee. The goals outlined in the Implementation Plan calls for NUEL, in collaboration with ECOP and Extension directors/administrators, to provide leadership for:

  • Creating a substantial presence in cities and metropolitan areas and ensure a viable future by responding to the demographic trend of urbanization.
  • Creating a wide range of partnerships and collaborations at a multitude of levels with organizations where roles are distinct, yet missions are aligned, and where visibility, credit, and resources are shared.
  • Developing programming and other urban Extension initiatives that are transdisciplinary in nature, meet the needs of urban residents and address the issues of urban communities.
  • Creating authentic professional development activities to address the needs of Extension personnel in urban areas.
  • Examining how current funding structures are utilized and how existing funding lines can be transformed or created from idea generation, dialogue, and fresh innovations to ensure they are more inclusive and complimentary.
  • Empowering urban advocates internally, with such groups as ECOP, USDA-NIFA, and NEDA, and externally that support NUEL’s acknowledged purpose of advancing the strategic importance and long-term value of urban Extension activities by being relevant locally, responsive statewide, and recognized nationally.

For NUEL to provide the leadership called for in the Implementation Plan NUEL needs to enhance its ability to effectively communicate across the national Cooperative Extension System and increase its capacity. 


Under the direction of the NUEL Executive Committee and in collaboration with the NUEL Communication Action Team, the Fellow will provide coordination and facilitation of the NUEL Steering Committee to assuming the following responsibilities and achieve the following project deliverables:

  • A communication plan for NUEL that identifies audiences that NUEL should be communicating with, what types of information or messaging NUEL should be targeting towards each audience, and what communications tools should be used to communicate effectively with each identified audience.
  • Leadership for the implementation and advancement of the NUEL communication plan, including updating the current NUEL website and urban Extension eFieldbook, development of an Urban Extension – NUEL Connect Extension social media site, coordination for the development of urban-focused affinity groups within other existing and relevant Connect Extension groups, development of the desired initial content for the NUEL Connect Extension site and all identified urban affinity groups, and development and implementation of a plan to ensure on-going content development for the NUEL Connect Extension site and all identified urban affinity groups.
  • Support NUEL and the ECOP Program Committee in the development of a viable national Urban Agriculture and Food Systems Program Action Team (PAT) and Program Implementation Teams (PITs).
  • Assist NUEL in connecting to the ECOP Program Action Teams (PATs) to ensure urban issues, urban program priorities, and urban voices are appropriately represented in all of the PATs.
  • Assist in the promotion and collection of urban Extension programs in the National Registry of Cooperative Extension Programs and Assets.
  • Develop an online site to host the NUEL Urban Extension Job Description Repository and assist in the collection of job descriptions to populate the repository.
  • Assist with other efforts that enhance NUEL’s communications abilities and increases NUEL capacity to provide leadership for the National Urban Extension Initiative Implementation Plan.


The selected Fellow will be expected to:

  • Complete regular check-ins with the NUEL Executive Committee and Extension Foundation personnel.
  • Attend the monthly NUEL Steering Committee meetings, held on Zoom, and report on progress upon request. 
  • Attend appropriate NUEL Action Team meetings to communicate and coordinate the assigned responsibilities and deliverables with the work of the NUEL Action Teams.


The selected Fellow will receive $15,000 to be utilized within 12 months to complete the listed responsibilities and deliverables.  


The NUEL Executive Committee and Extension Foundation personnel will provide oversight and support. 


Applicants should submit a letter outlining their interest in Fellowship, along with highlighting their experiences and skills, and how they would plan to utilize the $15,000 stipend (500 words or less) and resume or CV by September 10, 2021.  

Applications should be submitted here:

For additional questions:

About the position, contact:

Marie Ruemenapp, National Urban Extension Leaders

Michigan State University

Cell: 989-284-6443 ,


About the application process, contact:

Megan Hirschman, Partnership and Development Specialist

Extension Foundation

Cell: 989-330-1265 ,