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University of Illinois Extension

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)




Everything we do is designed to improve the quality of life of the people in the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding and influence.

Be a part of our story. Through learning partnerships that extend knowledge and change lives, University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs aimed at making life better, healthier, safer, and more profitable for individuals and their communities. Illinois Extension has operated continuously for more than 100 years connecting the citizens of Illinois to their land-grant university by providing educational programming around the state. University of Illinois Extension is based in the College of ACES and works with all colleges and units of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Senior Program Lead, Positive Youth Development as a regular, full time, 12-month academic professional with primary responsibility for overseeing the positive youth development program components of the University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development program. The position is part of the State 4-H Office based in Champaign, IL that provides program leadership for 4-H activities delivered by staff in all 102 counties and metro areas of the state. This position will be responsible for providing strategic leadership for programming that reaches nearly 200,000 youth across the state and supervises 4-H program staff in the State 4-H Office.


One full-time position is available.

Location: State 4-H Office, Champaign, IL

(Hybrid work schedule is available)


The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit


This is a security-sensitive position.  Comprehensive background checks, including but not limited to a criminal conviction information check, a CANTS check, and a review of the Registered Sex Offender list, will be conducted.



Specific responsibilities of the Senior Program Lead, Positive Youth Development are as follows:


Program Leadership and Development 

  • Provide leadership to direct ongoing and innovative 4-H youth development programs programmatically led by specialists and program staff in the State 4-H Office that advances the IL 4-H mission to empower and prepare all youth Illinois for success.
  • Provide direct supervision to the specialists and program staff (10 direct reports) in the Illinois State 4-H Office.
  • Collaborate with IL 4-H Director and State 4-H Executive Committee to conduct system needs assessments and strategic planning.
  • Collaborate with IL 4-H Director and the Statewide 4-H DEIA Implementation Team in the implementation of Illinois 4-H DEIA Strategic Directions.
  • Provide leadership for the state 4-H program team in preparing for culminating pathway events, including State Fair, Illini Summer Academies and State 4-H Recognition of Excellence Awards Banquet.
  • Supervise a statewide, peer-review process to support creation of evidence-based curriculum and programs to address the needs of the state, ensuring a strong research-based foundation.


Program Quality

  • Monitor and facilitate collaboration and strong working relationships between state and county 4-H program staff in support of Illinois 4-H program goals.
  • Create feedback loop with county 4-H staff to identify and respond to club and program support needs.
  • Lead an intentional charge to be accessible to all youth of Illinois, in accordance with the 4-H DEIA Strategic Plan, Civil Rights Act, Title IX, Rehabilitation, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the University of Illinois Extension affirmative action and Equal Employment Opportunities Program.
  • Collaborate with IL 4-H Staff Development & Evaluation Specialist to identify and integrate 4-H data in support of program planning and decision making.
  • Facilitate program team in evaluating and telling the IL 4-H Story.



  • Collaborate with the Illinois 4-H Director to support state staff engagement to develop collaborations and networks with other departments on campus and outside the University system to advance the Illinois 4-H and University of Illinois Extension missions. 
  • Represent Illinois 4-H in statewide Extension and national activities as assigned by the Assistant Dean and IL 4-H Director. 


Other Information

  • Perform other duties that contribute to the mission of University of Illinois Extension as assigned.
  • Comply with Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity policies and guidelines in all aspects of University of Illinois Extension work. Assist staff with data collection for affirmative action, gender, and targeted reports.
  • To perform the functions of this position, the employee will be required to perform work both within an office and outside in the communities that are served, and must have the capability to travel from one location to the other in a timely fashion.  Employee is responsible for securing personal transportation.  A valid driver’s license is preferred.  Some work will be required during evenings and/or weekends.  When working, the employee may be exposed to a variety of environmental factors to include, but not limited to, hot or cold weather, exposure to noise and allergens, and uneven ground.  In performing the functions of this position, the employee may be subjected to various mental and physical demands as well to include, but not limited to, independently traveling to and performing work at different locations, lifting and moving items that may occasionally weigh up to forty (40) pounds and frequently weigh up to twenty (20) pounds, and twisting, pushing and pulling movements. More detailed information regarding the functions of this position (including the physical, mental and environmental requirements of the position) may be obtained from Human Resources for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) by contacting


Administrative Relationship

The Senior Program Lead, Positive Youth Development is administratively responsible to the Assistant Dean, 4-H Youth Development.




  • Master’s degree in youth development, education, social work or related field. Master's degrees in other fields will be considered with work experience that demonstrates similar competencies.  Candidates with a Master’s degree in progress may be considered for interviews, but degree must be completed by hire date. 
  • At least five years of full-time relevant professional experience. 



  • PhD in a related field.
  • Familiarity with 4-H youth programs. 
  • Demonstrated progressive, innovative, and effective program leadership/management.


Training, Licenses or Certifications:

  • A valid driver's license.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: 

  • Strong oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated ability to mentor and support interdisciplinary teams.


Additional Information

Immigration sponsorship is not available for the position. This position is a full-time, benefits-eligible, non-tenure academic professional position appointed on a 12-month service basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the closing date.  Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. Generous vacation and sick leave.  State Universities Retirement System.  Group health, dental, vision and life insurance.


Application Procedure

To apply, go to Please upload a resume, cover letter, and the names and contact information for three professional references. Resume dates submitted must be in month/year format and employment history, at a minimum, should include all work dating back to the completion of your undergraduate degree. Positions that were less than full-time/100% must be noted as being part-time. Transcripts may be requested at a later date. To receive full consideration, all requested application materials must be submitted via the online system by the close date of November 27, 2023


The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. The University of Illinois must also comply with applicable federal export control laws and regulations and, as such, reserves the right to employ restricted party screening procedures for applicants.


For further information about the position please contact search chair Christina Edgington at For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.