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Job ID: 197853

Center Director and Professor
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)

Date Posted Oct. 26, 2022
Title Center Director and Professor
University University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)
Apopka, FL, United States
Department Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC), Apopka
Application Deadline Jan. 3, 2023
Position Start Date Available Immediately
  • Department Head/Head/Chair
  • Agricultural - General


The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is seeking an innovative unit leader with broad programmatic vision and enthusiasm for leadership. The Center Director is the administrative head of the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC) and provides leadership and support for the center’s multi-disciplinary research, teaching, and Extension programs. MREC programs seek to improve the viability of regional agricultural economies, protect and enhance natural resources, support sound urban and rural landscape practices, and encourage positive interests at the urban-agricultural interface. 

Duties and Responsibilities

The Center Director plays an active leadership role with the faculty to develop modern, and innovative research, teaching, and extension programs at the center addressing the present and future needs of the surrounding agricultural, natural resource, and urban communities. The Center Director reports administratively to the Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and programmatically to the Deans for Academic Programs, Research, and Extension. The Center Director cooperates with UF/IFAS Deans, Department Chairs, other UF/IFAS Research and Education Center Directors, District Extension Directors, County Extension faculty, and other UF units in program development. This position strengthens and maintains strong ties and goodwill with diverse audiences, such as agricultural commodity and support organizations, regulatory agencies, environmental groups, local and statewide governmental agencies, members of urban and rural clientele groups, and consumers.

The Center Director practices sound management of MREC resources, including transparent budgetary and personnel management, regularly communicates with local faculty, and develops short- and long-term goals involving programs, equipment, physical plant, and personnel. The Center Director is instrumental in obtaining financial support, including gifts and endowments for research, teaching, and Extension programs at MREC. The Center Director uses appropriate communication and management skills to promote teamwork among faculty and staff, delegates responsibility and makes timely decisions. The Center Director plays the lead role in recruiting and hiring faculty members. The Center Director is also responsible for evaluation of MREC faculty programs, and initiation of tenure and promotion actions in consultation with appropriate department chairs. 

QUALIFICATIONS:  An earned Ph.D. (foreign equivalent acceptable) in a field related to agriculture or natural resources with experience in conducting multi-disciplinary research, Extension and/or teaching programs with academic credentials equivalent to the full professor is required. The candidate should have demonstrated strong professional leadership, communication, interpersonal, and administrative skills. Candidates should also have experience in obtaining competitive extramural support for programs as well as support from commodity and industry groups. The candidate must demonstrate strong commitment to research,  teaching, and extension. Previous administrative experience is preferred.

OTHER INFORMATION:  MREC, located in Apopka, Florida, is 15 miles northwest of the Orlando metropolitan area and 30 miles from the Orlando International Airport. MREC is 95 miles from the main UF campus at Gainesville. This close proximity allows easy participation in UF/IFAS administrative meetings and other main campus activities. MREC is central to large concentrations of Florida’s diversified ornamental plant nurseries, landscape industries, and indoor and foliage plant production facilities. In addition, there are nearby fruit and vegetable production operations and many small, diversified farms. Center personnel include 12 faculty and more than 50 supporting staff, including part-time and grant-funded personnel and students. Currently, the interdisciplinary MREC faculty has members specializing in agricultural economics, entomology, landscape ornamentals and indoor foliage plants, landscape ecology, molecular biology, plant breeding, plant pathology, and edible and medicinal plant production.  More information on the MREC, UF/IFAS, and the region can be found at .

The University of Florida is a Land-Grant, Sea-Grant, and Space-Grant institution, encompassing virtually all academic and professional disciplines, with an enrollment of more than 56,000 students.  UF is a member of The Association of American Universities.  The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences includes the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Florida Sea Grant program, and encompasses 16 on-campus academic departments and schools, 12 Research and Educational Centers (REC) located throughout the state, 6 Research sites/demonstration units administered by RECs or academic departments, and Florida Cooperative Extension Service offices in all 67 counties (counties operate and maintain). The School of Natural Resources and Environment is an interdisciplinary unit housed in IFAS and managed by several colleges on campus.  UF/IFAS employs nearly 4,500 people, which includes approximately 990 salaried faculty and 1,400 permanent support personnel located in Gainesville and throughout the state. IFAS, one of the nation’s largest agricultural and natural resources research and education organizations, is administered by a Vice President and four deans: the Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Dean for Extension and Director of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, the Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Dean for the College of Veterinary Medicine.  UF/IFAS also engages in cooperative work with Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Application Information  

  • Individuals wishing to apply should go online to Careers at UF and submit:
    • A formal letter of application which includes a brief statement of the applicant’s leadership skills and vision, administrative philosophy, and ideas on the role of an off-campus UF/IFAS Research and Education Center.
    • A current curriculum vitae which includes a biographical sketch, leadership roles, service, consultant roles, and a complete list of publications.
    • Contact information for 3 individuals who are willing to provide a letter of reccomendaiton.


Please refer to Position No. 00013382


  • The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is committed to creating an environment of inclusive excellence that affirms diversity across a variety of dimensions, including ability, class, ethnicity/race, gender identity and expression. Inclusive excellence is the active process of including and respecting everyone as we strive for excellence and equitable outcomes in all we do at the University of Florida. We particularly welcome applicants who can contribute to such an environment through their scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and professional service. We strongly encourage historically underrepresented groups to apply.

    If an accommodation due to a disability is needed to apply for this position, please call 352-392-2477 or the Florida Relay System at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or visit Accessibility at UF .

    The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution dedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty and staff. The University and greater Gainesville community enjoy a diversity of cultural events, restaurants, year-round outdoor recreational activities, and social opportunities.



Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

  • John Arthington
    Department of Animal Sciences
    2250 Shealy Dr., Bldg. 499
    Gainesville, FL 32611


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