Joseph Malual is an Extension Specialist, Community and Economic Development serving Region 1. He works with communities, businesses, organizations, and local governments to identify critical issues and delivers practical educational programs to help communities make decisions and solve problems. With an interdisciplinary background in Economics, Development Sociology, and Sustainable Agriculture, Malual utilizes a system approach to help communities and organizations identify and address root causes of issues and engage community assets to maximize benefits for all residents.
Prior to joining Illinois Extension in 2020, Malual worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension for five years as a Community and Economic Development educator where he focused on community capacity building, including organizational development, strategic planning, community needs assessment, community food systems, and minority entrepreneurship. His research interests include sustainable development, social dimension of natural resource management, food security, sustainable agriculture, community food systems, small business development and minority entrepreneurship, and international development with focus on post-conflict rural development in sub-Saharan Africa. Malual holds a Ph.D. in Sustainable Agriculture and Development Sociology from Iowa State University.
Regarding past experiences, Malual has held various positions, including Program Director for Radda Barnen Swedish Save the Children in Ethiopia, Program Director for Hawthorne Hill Ministry English as a Second Language, and a refugee resettlement case manager at the Lutheran Social Services in Iowa. He has a combined experience of 15 years working as a Community Mental Health Counselor in Iowa and Virginia. Malual draws on this experience and collaborates with Extension educators and faculty to develop effective educational programming that helps communities in Illinois improve quality of life.