Center Director for Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, FL

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The Center Director is the administrative head of the Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) located in Homestead and provides leadership and support for the teaching, research and extension programs essential to the agricultural, horticultural, natural resource conservation, environmental and consumer interests of the area. The Director is responsible for promoting the development of proactive programs addressing the present and future needs of the surrounding agricultural, natural resource and urban communities. TREC programs seek to improve the viability of regional agricultural economies, protect and enhance natural resources, and encourage positive interaction at the urban-agriculture interface.


The Center Director facilitates and supports the teaching, research and extension programs of the faculty. In particular, the Center Director is expected to address clientele needs through visionary and proactive extension programming and scientifically recognized research efforts. The primary responsibility will be administrative but there may be opportunities for research, extension, or teaching.


The Center Director is responsible for sound management of TREC budgetary and personnel resources, and for development of short- and long-term goals involving programs, equipment, physical plant and personnel. The Director is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan for strengthening the teaching, research and extension activities at the TREC to increase its impact in the region. The Center Director will maintain liaison with local, state, and federal agencies and will interact with UF/IFAS administration, county extension faculty, other UF faculty and staff, and agricultural and environmental leaders in accordance with the Center’s mission and goals.


The Center Director is expected to use appropriate communication and management skills to promote teamwork among faculty and staff and be able to delegate responsibility and make timely decisions. The Director is responsible for evaluation of TREC faculty programs and initiation of tenure and promotion actions in consultation with appropriate department chairs. 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 must take an active role to develop and maintain goodwill for the Center among various support and clientele groups and consumers. Strong ties must be developed and maintained with organizations and public agencies, including commodity organizations and local and statewide agriculture, natural resource, and regulatory governmental agencies. A good working relationship must also be maintained with private entities, including agricultural producers, members of agricultural industries, various agriculture and horticulture clientele groups, environmental NGO’s, and consumers. The Director will collaborate with UF/IFAS Department Chairs, other UF/IFAS Research and Education Center directors, district extension directors, county extension faculty and other UF units in program development, implementation and evaluation.


BASIC QUALIFICATIONS: An earned Ph.D. (foreign equivalent acceptable) in a field related to plant sciences, including but not limited to agriculture, environmental horticulture or natural resources. The candidate should be recognized as a leader in their own field of expertise and is expected to have experience in conducting teaching and research programs with academic credentials equivalent to the rank of full professor. Experience with extension activities is also required. The candidate should have demonstrated strong professional leadership, communication, interpersonal and administrative skills. Candidates should also have demonstrated ability to generate extramural support (grants, contracts and cooperative agreements) from commodity and industry groups or governmental agencies such as the USDA.


OTHER INFORMATION: The Tropical Research and Education Center ( of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (, University of Florida ( is located in Homestead, Florida, about 30 miles south of Miami. The Center was established in 1929 by an act of the state legislature in what is now Miami-Dade County. Currently, TREC consists of offices, laboratories, greenhouses, vegetable fields and fruit orchards on 160 acres. Research, teaching, and extension programs focus on tropical and temperate vegetable crops, tropical and subtropical fruit crops, and ornamental crops of southern Florida. The agricultural industry served by the center has an annual farm gate value in excess of $1 billion. Multiplier effects make agriculture’s impact on the local economy worth over $2 billion annually. The area’s oolitic limestone soil is unique to extreme southern Florida, and due to the region’s humid subtropical climate, TREC is the only state university research center in the continental United States focused on a large number of tropical and subtropical crops. The center also addresses crop-related water and environmental issues that result from its proximity to Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Marine Park, Florida Bay and major well fields that provide drinking water to the several million people in neighboring urban areas.


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 53,000 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. IFAS employs over 2500 people, which includes approximately 900 faculty and 1200 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 Senior 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 Instructions


Individuals wishing to apply should go online to and submit:

  • An on-line application,
  • A formal letter of application which includes a brief statement of the applicant’s administrative philosophy and ideas on the role of a Center Director of an off-campus Research and Education Center,
  • A current curriculum vitae which includes service, consultantships, and a complete list of publications, and
  • three (3) names and contact information of references who can assess the candidates qualifications for this position


(Please refer to Requisition # 505669)


Dr. Calvin Arnold

Chair, Search and Screen Committee

UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center

2685 State Road 29 N

Immokalee, FL 34142


Telephone: 239-658-3400 (O)

Facsimile: 352-846-6618

Electronic Mail:


The final candidate will be required to provide official transcripts to the hiring department upon hire. A transcript will not be considered “official” if a designation of “Issued to Student” is visible. Degrees earned from an educational institution outside of the United States are required to be evaluated by a professional credentialing service provider approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES), which can be found at .


The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution dedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty and staff. The selection process will be conducted in accord with the provisions of Florida’s ‘Government in the Sunshine’ and Public Records Laws. Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.

Job Type: 
Job Listing Expiration: 
60 Days
Company Name: 
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Name of Contact Person: 
Calvin E. Arnold, PhD
Contact Person's Phone: 
United States of America
Contact Person's Email: