Section 1.5 Staff Roles and Responsibilities


The dean is the chief executive officer of UMaine Extension, charged with administering all aspects of Extension and representing Extension as a unit of the University of Maine. Responsibilities include:

  • administering Extension, as well as providing coordination and administrative leadership to other public service units as assigned;
  • setting priorities to accomplish the objectives of Extension programs and developing policies as needed;
  • providing leadership to Extension in the development and coordination of educational programs that focus on the relevant issues and problems affecting Maine people;
  • being an advocate for Extension;
  • providing major assistance to the vice president for academic affairs and provost in promoting university outreach; fostering statewide relationships with government, industry and the public; and developing and administering campus-wide policies that will enhance the effectiveness of the university in the public service arena; and
  • teaming with other deans, directors and administrators of UMaine as it makes sense to serve the citizens of Maine in outreach education.

Financial Administrator

The financial administrator has primary responsibility for the administrative financial functions of University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the coordination of these functions within the University of Maine and UMaine Extension Systems. Responsibilities:

  • Prepare and analyze Extension’s University budget including the matrix of personnel budgets, state and federal appropriations.
  • Establish and maintain fiscal management and accounting procedures.
  • Administer/oversee grant, gift and extramural funding in compliance with federal, state, university, and donor guidelines.
  • Administer/oversee federal fringe benefit programs.
  • Administer/oversee purchasing procedures and payables.
  • Administer/oversee Extension equipment inventory and vehicle fleet.
  • Administer/oversee Extension facilities.
  • Consult with County Extension offices counties about financial accounting practices.
  • Cooperate with other leadership team members to develop and implement administrative policies.

The financial administrator reports to the director with an annual performance evaluation by the director.

Assistant Director

  • Oversees and consults with internal staff to carry out human resource and equal opportunity processes (recruitment, hiring, ADA accommodations, reclassifications, performance management, faculty evaluation and other areas).
  • Liaison to human resources and coordinates human resource processes.
  • Administers the Extension career ladder process for professionals.
  • Leads and coordinates staff development offerings and events with the Extension staff development committee.
  • Administers and leads the Extension civil rights work and federal requirements.
  • Coordinates Extension’s actions to meet safety and risk management policies and expectations.
  • Liaison to legal counsel and risk management
  • Provides facilitation, mediation and consultations to address conflict.

Program Administrators

Program Administrators possess a minimum of a master’s degree.

Program Administrators act as program leaders in coordinating the activities of assigned faculty units, as supervisors of Extension faculty and professional staff members, as representatives of the Extension leadership team to county executive committees and officials, and as spokespersons who articulate a common Extension mission, vision and philosophy of education.

Program Administrators report to the director and are appointed for four-year terms. They pursue a program of professional development based on training in human resource management. Responsibilities:

1. Program Determination and Oversight

  • Establish and facilitate the statewide program development process (planning, developing, conducting, evaluating, reporting).
  • Ensure that program priorities are identified and met, and program impacts assessed.
  • With the faculty and county executive committees, participate in determining local programs.
  • Provide leadership in assessing the adequacy of the research base for Extension programs.
  • Identify potential resources in support of programs.
  • Ensure that state and area faculty and professional staff members support programming across all county and campus units.
  • Assist Extension faculty and staff with coordination and support of volunteers.

2. Supervision, Staffing and Staff Development

  • Provide leadership to translate Extension values into organizational behavior.
  • Supervise the faculty, professional and classified staff with county, area and statewide responsibilities through frequent contact, observation and supportive relationships; contribute perceptions, suggestions and counsel in the performance evaluation process; and make recommendations about personnel actions.
  • Support the faculty, professional and classified staff in developing and maintaining professional relationships that reflect courtesy, civility, and mutual respect.
  • Help faculty, professional and classified staff assess their professional improvement needs and ensure that they are met.
  • Counsel individuals in career development and long-term professional improvement goals in the context of organizational priorities.
  • Establish and implement procedures for recruitment of personnel.
  • Participate in the selection and orientation of new staff.

3. Organizational Direction and Operations

  • With the rest of the leadership team, develop procedures that establish program direction, resources and policy.
  • Ensure employee involvement in organizational decision-making.
  • Ensure allocation of faculty, professional and classified staff time and other resources according to established goals.
  • Develop teamwork within the leadership team and within and among Cooperative Extension units.
  • Assist county faculty, professional and classified staff with accountability to county partner and elected officials.
  • Serve as a key liaison between academic faculty and Extension faculty, and between Extension and state and federal agencies.
  • Assure compliance with the letter and spirit of affirmative action/equal opportunity guidelines to ensure that the organization and its programs do not discriminate unlawfully against any group or individual.

Extension Faculty

All Extension faculty possess a minimum of a master’s degree; specific positions may require an earned doctorate.

All Extension faculty members share the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Provide leadership and support for educational programs that respond to local and statewide issues and that help the people of Maine identify and solve problems facing them.
  • Design educational activities and programs using sound Extension methods and draw on the research base of the land-grant university and other credible sources of information.
  • Involve the people of Maine directly, as volunteer partners and beneficiaries, in the design, conduct and evaluation of educational programs.
  • Assist the people of Maine in understanding and using the network of organizations and agencies available to help solve problems at the local, regional and state level.
  • Serve on program teams at the local, regional and state level.
  • Supervise Extension professionals, hourly staff and volunteers to extend the abilities of faculty in the conduct of educational programs.
  • In the context of organizational priorities, develop and sustain a program of professional development, including retraining when necessary.
  • Assure compliance with the letter and spirit of affirmative action, equal opportunity guidelines to assure that the organization and its programs do not discriminate unlawfully against any group or individual.
  • Account to the county, state and federal partners of Extension.
  • Respond to the educational needs of a specific audience if designated in current position descriptions and plans of work.

At the county level, Extension faculty

  • provide county leadership and support in identifying issues and needs; and in designing, conducting, evaluating and reporting educational programs, with guidance and support from county executive committees, other county and state-level faculty, and area volunteers and residents;
  • take responsibility for developing the entire county plan of work with coworkers and the executive committee; keep well informed on the problems and issues faced by county residents; work in appropriate portions of the county plan of work; and contribute knowledge, methods and skills to educational programs;
  • maintain linkages with area resources, local campuses of the UM system and other regional and state agencies; and
  • build and maintain the leadership function of county executive committees.

At the state and area levels, Extension faculty

  • provide state and regional leadership and support for Extension staff and other audiences in identifying issues and needs; and in designing, conducting and evaluating and reporting of educational programs, with guidance and support from county, state and federal Extension partners;
  • keep well informed in subject matter fields and contribute disciplinary knowledge, methods and skills to educational programs, helping county-based faculty and professional staff identify appropriate resources;
  • maintain linkages with UMaine academic faculty and state, regional and national resources; and
  • build and maintain the leadership functions of volunteer and program advisory groups.

County Coordinator

County coordinators (or co-coordinators) are responsible to the appropriate program administrators for county office management and assigned program duties. County coordinators may be single individuals or the role may be shared between county-based staff. Responsibilities:

  • Call and conduct staff meetings; send minutes to the program administrator.
  • Expedite information requests addressed to the county coordinator.
  • Initiate and expedite plan of work and annual report process, including county management responsibilities.
  • Coordinate orientation; support and communicate with the county executive committee in its roles and responsibilities.
  • Assist county executive committee members in their communication with county officials
  • With county executive committee president, initiate the cooperative effort of county faculty and county executive committee in reallocating resources in response to regional and statewide program needs.
  • Supervise support staff and coordinate general office management.
  • Work with the program administrator to assure that specialists’ efforts are appropriately integrated with county programs.
  • Coordinate compliance with civil rights policies and maintain civil rights documentation.
  • Keep the program administrator informed about the county situation and attend regularly scheduled meetings called by him/her.
  • Plan for county orientation of new staff with the appropriate supervisor.

Extension Professionals

I. University of Maine Professional Staff Association (UMPSA)

  1. Extension professionals (formerly called Extension Associates) are non-faculty, non-hourly Extension staff. Professional employees with ongoing appointments are covered by the collective bargaining agreement between the University of Maine System (UMS) and the University of Maine Professional Staff Association (UMPSA). Professional employees with supervisory responsibility for other professional employees are covered by the Handbook for Non-Represented Faculty, Professional and Administrative Staff.
  2. Extension professional positions are expected to carry out administration, management, instruction, and/or support/service responsibilities.
  3. Extension professionals generally do not supervise or evaluate other professionals but may supervisr hourly employees or student workers.
  4. Extension professionals are assigned a supervisor who will evaluate their work in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement of university policy.

II. University of Maine Employment Policies

  1. Extension professional positions are categorized by the nature of their principal activities and the educational preparation required to do the work. Professionals are expected to exercise significant independent judgment and decision-making.
  2. Extension professionals should coordinate their schedules with supervisors and others to meet the reasonable demands of the position. The standard full-time workweek is considered to be 40 hours. It is the joint responsibility of the professional and the supervisor to maintain reasonable work demands and schedule. Consult Cooperative Extension Concern Resolution Procedures if needed
  3. Some Extension professionals are eligible for overtime given changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act effective December 1, 2016.

III. UMaine Cooperative Extension Expectations for Professional Employees

  1. Extension professional positions require a bachelor’s degree or extensive work experience or specialized training; further degrees may be required.
  2. Extension professionals with program responsibilities may have specific duties for teaching, research or public service and these activities are part of a Plan Of Work. The Extension professional’s individual Plan of Work is a subset of a larger state Plan of Work.
  3. Extension professionals are expected to have a professional development plan and are eligible to apply for a Cooperative Extension sabbatical leave. In some cases soft-money funding of a professional staff member does not allow for such a sabbatical.
  4. Extension professional employees may be promoted through the Extension professional career ladder or, if a position has changed substantially, the employee may request a position review that may result in a revised job description and altered compensation.
  5. Extension professionals with program responsibilities report quantitative and qualitative program information such as key program components, output indicators, contacts, program linkages, success stories and days allocated.

Please note: Extension professionals should consult their UMPSA contract. The contract overrides all information shared here if a statement above is not in agreement with the contract.

Extension Hourly Staff

Extension support staff, Community Education Assistants and technicians are members of the Associated Clerical, Office, Laboratory and Technical (COLT) staff of the University of Maine System. Their positions are defined in the Job Classification Program manual published by the University of Maine System. Their positions include clerical support staff, program support staff and technical support staff.

Community Education Assistants (formerly Program Aides) are usually based in county offices. Many work in the limited income nutrition education program; some work in 4-H, supporting county faculty and professionals in their work with volunteers; some work in other aspects of local county program delivery. Often, their programs target a specific group of Extension clientele.

Extension support staff work in offices at both the county and state level, supporting program and administrative personnel in clerical matters and performing technical tasks. County Extension offices usually have one or two clerical support staff members. Most county support staff hold the title of Administrative Specialist. Funding for county support staff salaries comes from county budgets; the number and type of positions in the county office depends on the amount of county funds available and the type of work that needs to be performed.

Extension administrative offices and the offices of Extension specialists have a variety of support staff positions. Positions include laboratory and computer technical staff, as well as administrative support clerical positions.