Feb 28, 2024
University of Florida names interim IFAS dean

John Davis will take over as interim dean for University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Research and as the director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.

“John is the person UF/IFAS needs for this moment,” Robert Gilbert, interim senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said in a news release. “He has excelled in executing many of the office’s responsibilities over the past six months. I’m confident he will continue to do so as its leader. John’s effective leadership in eight years on the research administrative team has raised our productivity and stature.”

John Davis, courtesy of UF

Davis has worked at the University of Florida for 32 years. In 2020, he was appointed as the senior associate dean and associate director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. His research interests are centered on forest systems and the functional biology of trees and forest ecosystems. He serves as the director of the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station, a UF/IFAS research facility in Melrose that supports and pursues the study and conservation of unique ecosystems. In addition, he has worked to increase honorifics within the organization, building a “culture of nomination” that has resulted in significantly increased recognition of UF/IFAS research and faculty.

Gilbert was named interim senior vice president in July, leading UF/IFAS in consultation with Scott Angle, who continued to participate in major strategic decisions at UF/IFAS while he served as interim provost. On Jan. 9, UF president Ben Sasse appointed Angle permanent provost and assigned Gilbert complete decision-making authority for UF/IFAS. Previously, he had been splitting time between his job as dean for research and interim senior vice president. His role as interim senior vice president of UF/IFAS has been extended into 2025.

Davis said the transition into his new role will be seamless.

“My leadership style and principles are closely aligned with Rob’s,” he said in the release. “We both seek continuous improvement to a research operation that is already a national leader. I’ll continue to work closely with Rob to raise UF/IFAS to even greater heights in part by elevating our research faculty.”