Back In Place

UF/IFAS Extension has a new boss... 

The following article is from UF/IFAS News and written by Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Former University of Florida faculty member Nick Place is returning to Gainesville to become the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences dean for extension and director of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, made the announcement July 2. Place officially takes the position Sept. 15.

“I’m thrilled that we were able to find someone with the energy, vision and character that Dr. Place has,” Payne said. “That he’s already familiar with the University of Florida, our land-grant mission and the people here – that’s a bonus.”

Like other land-grant institutions, UF/IFAS has a three-pronged mission of teaching, research and extension—an effort that includes faculty members positioned all over the state who translate research findings into information easily understood by the public.

Extension faculty duties include everything from conducting specialized training for agricultural producers to mentoring 4-H club members to teaching residents how to build water-saving rain barrels.

UF/IFAS conducted a national search for a dean to replace the departing Millie Ferrer-Chancy, interim dean since February 2009. The search led them to Place, someone already familiar to many in the extension program.

Currently, Place is associate dean and associate director of University of Maryland Extension in College Park, Maryland. He’s been with the institution since August 2007.

Before that, he worked for eight years on the faculty of UF’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. He was the department’s graduate coordinator and spent two years as coordinator for the Program Development and Evaluation Center, which assists faculty members in designing programs and assessing their effectiveness.

Specializing in extension education, Place taught undergraduate and graduate courses on the role and development of extension, extension methods, adult education, extension administration and supervision, and extension systems.

To date, he has served on more than 60 graduate committees and chaired more than 20 of those.

Place, a Pennsylvania native, said he’s excited about returning to Florida and its flagship university. He said he feels there is tremendous opportunity to build upon UF’s already strong extension program.

“Jack Payne and I want the University of Florida to have the premier extension program in the country,” he said. “Initially, it will be important to meet with people, both internally and externally, to get a real good handle on the organization and what’s been working well, and also develop some strategies to further advance our efforts.”

Place earned a bachelor’s degree in dairy husbandry at Delaware Valley College, his master’s in dairy and animal science and his doctorate in agricultural and extension education, both from The Pennsylvania State University.

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