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Kalamazoo Valley Begins Search for Health-Focused Campus Administrators

KALAMAZOO, MI — A search is underway for candidates to fill two key administrative positions at the new health-focused college campus in downtown Kalamazoo, MI. Officials from Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) are hiring a director for Sustainable and Innovative Food Systems and a director of Culinary Education. Applications for both positions are being accepted until January 16, 2015. The new administrators are expected to begin work by June 1, 2015.

The applicant search is the latest step in Kalamazoo Valley’s plans to develop a health-focused campus. In May 2013, a partnership was formed between KVCC, Bronson Healthcare (Bronson), and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) to develop a campus focused on wellness and food sustainability. The campus is becoming a catalyst for urban revitalization, community health and workforce development through sustainable food education, training, production, distribution and preparation.

The campus, located on 13 acres donated by Bronson Healthcare, will be home to three separate facilities: a Culinary/Health Careers building; a Food Innovation center; and a Mental Health clinic. Construction began in September and the anticipated program launch is fall 2015 with facilities opening shortly thereafter.

The mission of the new campus will be to educate culinary, healthcare and food production professionals with the knowledge and skills to serve as force-multipliers and change agents in their communities. “Our focus is on Menus that Matter™ — environmentally sustainable, socially responsible, healthy, safe and delicious food experiences surrounding food prepared at schools, day-care centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities and restaurants, where Americans increasingly eat and want healthier menu choices,” says Dean McCurdy, associate vice president of Food and Community Sustainability for KVCC. “To achieve our mission, we will provide experiential learning opportunities through high-quality, flexible programs that lead to employment, career advancement and healthier lives.”

“The founding director for Sustainable and Innovative Food Systems will work to develop Kalamazoo Valley’s Food Innovation Center — a leading-edge urban farm, and food production, distribution and teaching facility, and will provide the leadership to make Kalamazoo Valley’s mission for its health-focused campus a reality,” McCurdy says.

The director will have administrative responsibilities related to sustainable urban agriculture and food safety courses and programs, community outreach activities, and student interns. The position includes teaching responsibilities in the area of sustainable food systems and/or agriculture/horticulture courses relevant to the background of the candidate. The director for Sustainable and Innovative Food Systems will lead collaborative efforts to help community partners reach their goals for local, sustainable sourcing of produce and engage with other leaders to help build a vibrant local food system which will serve as a model for others.

“Our founding director will have a deep and demonstrated commitment to building local food systems and to our mission of embedding food production, nutrition, food safety, food science and environmental sustainability within the college curriculum,” McCurdy says. The ideal candidate will be knowledgeable about multiple delivery models of instruction, including credit-based coursework as well as competency-based approaches to learning. “This person must also have a strong commitment to building a program based on direct engagement with community partners such as farms, schools, healthcare facilities, local and state government, Cooperative Extension staff, grocers and restaurants,” McCurdy says. The director will help recruit students and faculty and support the development of a learning-centered environment which allows students to reach their goals.”

A master’s degree in a field of study related to community development, horticulture, environmental science, agriculture, food science, nutrition or related fields is required. A minimum of three years of relevant experience with food production and distribution is also required. Experience teaching at the college-level or teaching adult learners is preferred, along with experience promoting educational programs.

Applicants for the director for Culinary Education position should have an understanding of “ground-up” sustainability, health and nutrition. “We are seeking a visionary leader for our collaborative and innovative culinary program focused on health, food safety, and environmental sustainability,” McCurdy says.

Candidates for this position must have extensive training in culinary arts, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in culinary arts or a related field and/or status as an ACF Certified Master Chef®, Certified Executive Chef® or Certified Culinary Educator® (or equivalent). A minimum of 10 years of relevant experience in the culinary or hospitality fields is required.

The culinary facilities will be housed in a new, state-of-the-art 75,000-sq.-ft. culinary and allied health building — part of a growing health-corridor in the community. The culinary facility will include spacious and well-equipped production kitchens, a bakery, a teaching restaurant and café, technology-rich classroom spaces, a community kitchen and a teaching brewery.

Students completing degrees in culinary arts will also make extensive use of the new urban food production and distribution facility and spend time exploring career options and gaining work-experience with employers in the community.

The director for Culinary Education will have administrative responsibilities related to the culinary program, teaching responsibilities in culinary arts and/or related areas and operational oversight of facilities.

The job postings can be accessed at https://jobs.kvcc.edu. For more information about the new health focused campus, visit www.kvcc.edu/grow.

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