Program Director — Upham Woods 4-H Outdoor Learning Center

Print More

UW Extension

Position Description and Position Vacancy Announcement
Application Due Date:  04/28/2015

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION VISION: To be a thriving, well-known and sought-out educational resource that reflects the rich diversity of the state.

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PURPOSE: We teach, learn, lead and serve, connecting people with the University of Wisconsin, and engaging with them in transforming lives and communities.

WORKING TITLE:  Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center Program Director (100%)

OFFICIAL TITLE:  Outreach Specialist (prefix to be determined)

GEOGRAPHIC AREAS SERVED:  Primarily Wisconsin Dells area and extending beyond Center boundaries for specific commitments and team programming

OFFICE LOCATION:  Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center, N194 County Road N, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, 53965

This position is a fixed term renewable academic staff appointment in the University of Wisconsin-Extensions division of Cooperative Extension.   Fixed term renewable academic staff appointments are renewable on an annual basis.

The Program Director works in partnership with the Director and Assistant Director in providing leadership and operational management of Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center.  The Program Director manages the seasonal naturalist staff and oversees marketing as well as programmatic development.  Upham Woods is a year-round educational facility that provides outdoor education, environmental education, and leadership education opportunities for over 9,000 youth and adults each year.  In the summer, users are primarily 4-H groups, while during the spring, fall and winter, the Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center serves school groups and other youth organizations.  Upham Woods strives to provide the community with outdoor educational programming and partnerships as a way to provide local accessibility to University resources and research.



  • Coordinate group programming at Upham Woods including serving as the primary communication contact/coordinator for client groups; identifying programming needs of groups;  assisting in selection of appropriate classes; and working collaboratively to ensure that all scheduling and communications needs are met
  • Respond in a timely manner to client group requests to reserve space at the Center; maintain the reservation calendar for the Center and effectively communicate to staff about date availability; assist with advanced reservation system for school and 4-H groups
  • Create and maintain the seasonal naturalist staff schedule for the Center
  • Serve as an on-call staff contact
  • Assist with new staff training and manage seasonal naturalist equipment such as keys, radios, staff handbooks, etc.
  • Keep accurate, complete, and timely work records which will contribute to annual University of Wisconsin-Extension and Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center accomplishment reports


  • Develop, coordinate, and provide overall leadership for community programming offered directly by the Center such as “community days" and professional development trainings
  • Teach educational classes on a regular basis in the topic areas of environmental, outdoor, and leadership education
  • Develop a system to regularly review, update, evaluate, and improve the educational programs offered by Upham Woods, with particular attention to STEM education, the 4-H model and K-12 educational standards
  • Reach and engage diverse audiences in ways that are inclusive and do not discriminate to ensure full access to programs, facilities and educational services
  • Research and author grants to assist with program development and funding requirements at the Center, as needed

Marketing and Communications:

  • Develop and implement a marketing plan for the Center including quality assurance and referral management; developing strategic networking and partnering relationships with youth educational groups; and targeting promotional efforts with non-traditional users of the Center
  • Promote and coordinate outreach programs to schools, youth groups and conferences
  • Represent Upham Woods and the University of Wisconsin-Extension through the presentation of poster sessions and workshops at professional development conferences
  • Maintain and update the Upham Woods website
  • Oversee the ongoing development, updating and posting of program promotional materials
  • Lead the communication plan for Upham, including newsletter, blog postings, web updates, print materials and social media updates


  • Make individual arrangements for transportation adequate to meet position responsibilities and essential job functions
  • Assume occasional travel within the state
  • Lead educational programs and ensure the safety of participants on uneven terrain or in water, as well as in a wide variety of temperatures and environmental conditions
  • Regularly work evenings and weekends, as needed to meet program and management needs

The Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center Program Director aligns the work of this position with the purpose, vision, and values of Cooperative Extension in ways that contribute to supportive workplaces.  The values of community, discovery, inclusiveness, relationships, and respect guide the Program Director in achieving the primary outcomes for the position.

The Program Director is expected to contribute to the scholarly environment of Cooperative Extension as appropriate for the position.  Standards of excellence are expected to be met throughout the Extension career of the Program Director.

The Program Director actively participates in the shared governance and policy development of the institution, personally or through representatives, to ensure representation in matters affecting academic staff.

The Program Director meets the reporting accountabilities and performance expectations of the position in collaboration with the 4-H Youth Development State Program Director (hiring authority), the Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center Director and the Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center Assistant Director.


  • Bachelors degree in education, recreation management, biology, youth development or a related field
  • Experience in developing, implementing, managing, or teaching educational programs
  • Experience utilizing outdoor education as a way to teach leadership skills, environmental concepts, STEM or social development skills
  • Experience working collaboratively in a team environment to accomplish program goals
  • Experience or education in marketing educational programs
  • CPR, First Aid, and Lifeguard certifications, or ability to obtain certifications shortly after hire
  • Knowledge and skills to effectively interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, including those associated with race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, socioeconomic status, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other aspects of human diversity


  • Masters degree in education, recreation management, outdoor education, environmental education, biology, youth development or a related field
  • Demonstrated success in providing excellent customer service
  • Excellent organizational and supervisory skills
  • Ability to communicate ideas effectively orally, in writing, and through educational technology
  • Experience in research and program evaluation
  • Experience using social media to market educational programs
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising
  • Demonstrated success in authoring, acquiring, and managing grants
  • Experience working with partners in formal education environments (preK-12)
  • Strong relationship-building skills with strategic stakeholders
  • Experience and leadership skills in adventure education such as backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, or other outdoor pursuits

Individuals, who demonstrate capacity in the following organizational competencies, as indicated by the examples listed below, are likely to experience higher levels of success within their Cooperative Extension positions:


Inspires respect and trust; Practices strategic, shared and ethical decision making; Clarifies expectations and accepts feedback; Shows personal responsibility and follow through on commitments; Adapts well to change or unexpected events in the work environment; Finds solutions; Is motivated to learn.


Works in ways that support mutually beneficial partnerships, including being tactfully and diplomatically responsive to others and maintaining confidentiality; Understands group and team dynamics; Gives appropriate recognition to others; Chooses appropriate Extension roles in conflict situations; Manages interactions successfully through an awareness of emotions for oneself and others.


Recognizes, understands and appreciates the culturally different ways in which others express themselves; Treats others with dignity, respect and consideration; Demonstrates active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity in programming, and in outreach efforts.


Listens and seeks clarification; Adapts and varies communication to fit cultural contexts and circumstances; Demonstrates effective communication technology skills and presentation skills; Writes clearly and informatively; Possesses marketing skills to strengthen understanding of the value of Extension.

This fixed-term renewable academic staff position is subject to University of Wisconsin System, University of Wisconsin-Extension and Cooperative Extension human resource policies. This position description is not intended to be comprehensive in nature given the changes in primary duties/essential job functions and position expectations that can occur over time in response to emerging and assessed community, program and organizational needs. Changes to this position description are subject to the approval of the Cooperative Extension Human Resource Development Office and those to whom the position is accountable.

State of Wisconsin benefits (, including retirement, vacation, sick leave, health insurance, and other insurances.   Starting salary commensurate with qualifications:  $42,000 to $55,184.

As an affirmative action employer, University of Wisconsin-Extension provides equal opportunity in programs and employment; and is strongly committed to maintaining a climate supportive of respect for differences and equality of opportunity. University of Wisconsin-Extension does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, creed, color, disability, sex/gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, religion, marital status, or identity as a veteran, disabled veteran, Vietnam veteran or any other military service, arrest record or non-program related conviction record.  We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

Materials will be made available in alternative format upon request.  Please call 711 if you are hearing or speech impaired and need assistance.   Direct inquiries concerning equal opportunity to:  University of Wisconsin-Extension Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Room 501, 432 N. Lake Street, Madison, WI  53706; 608.262.0277 (office); 608.890.0259 (fax)

A criminal background check will be conducted prior to employment.  Completed consent forms will be requested at the time of final interviews.  In compliance with the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, convictions and pending charges will be considered only as they relate to this position.


  • APPLICATION DUE DATE: 04/28/2015

Applications received after the application due date will be accepted through the conclusion of the initial application screening process.


To receive full consideration, you must submit all of the following documents. when uploading documents, pdf format is preferred.  Any documents, other than those requested, will be deleted from your application.  Application materials that do not comply with these instructions are incomplete and will not be considered.

  1. COVER LETTER (up to two pages) in which you summarize how your qualifications meet those of the position. Please note that your response will be evaluated not only for content but for written communication skills as well. You are encouraged to refer to formal education, training, professional work history, volunteer work, research and any related life experiences in your response.  Please follow the guidelines below to ensure your cover letter is as complete a summary of your qualifications as possible:
    1. Prepare a summary paragraph for each of the listed MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS.
    2. Include a paragraph that summarizes the PREFERRED knowledge, skills and abilities which you possess as particular strengths, beyond the minimum qualifications.
  2. PROFESSIONAL RESUME, including related education, professional work history and volunteer experience.
    1. CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THREE (3) PROFESSIONAL WORK REFERENCES, including at least one person who has been your immediate supervisor. For each reference, please indicate the nature of your professional relationship and include their title, e-mail address and telephone number.
    2. FINAL COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS for each of your degrees. Unofficial copies of final college transcripts are acceptable when applying for this position.  Official final college transcripts are required upon hire.
    Please submit application materials in PDF format (preferred) to Cooperative Extension Human Resource Development Office online using the Candidate Gateway web URLs below.

    1. Before you get started with the online application process, we recommend you preview the frequently asked questions (FAQs). To do so, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser.
    2. Once you are in the Candidate Gateway, please make sure to click on the Advanced Search link and enter 10381 into the Job Opening ID field.
    3. If you are applying as an applicant who is NOT currently employed by the University of Wisconsin System, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser:
    4. If you are applying as a current employee of the University of Wisconsin System, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser:

The University will not reveal the identities of applicants who request confidentiality during the application process, unless or until they become final candidates.  The identities of final candidates must be revealed upon receipt of valid public records requests.  According to the Attorney General, final candidates under Wisconsin Law means the five candidates who are considered most qualified for the position.  See Wis. Stat. Sec. 19.36(7)(a).