Nick T. Place, an academic leader with a record of applying research-based expertise to the needs of agricultural producers and communities, has been named dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and director of the UGA Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Experiment Stations.
Place is currently dean for extension, director of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service and a professor in the department of agricultural education and communication at the University of Florida. His appointment at UGA is effective Jan. 1, 2021.
“I am delighted that Dr. Place will serve as the next dean and director of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “With his far-reaching experience as a scholar, practitioner, educator and administrator, he will provide outstanding leadership to the college in the years to come.”
As dean and director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, a position he has held since 2012, Place oversees faculty located in each of Florida’s counties, 13 research and education centers, 15 academic departments and the School of Forest Resources and Conservation. He previously served as associate dean and associate director of University of Maryland Extension and as a faculty member at UF, where he was graduate coordinator and led the graduate program in agricultural education and communication. He began his career as an extension agent at Penn State University, where he conducted educational programs in dairy, livestock, 4-H youth development and community development.
Place’s research and scholarship focuses on teaching and learning along with domestic and international extension services and their role in youth, community and economic development. His work has been supported by $1.7 million in grants and contracts from agencies such as the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Security Education Program. He is the author or co-author of more than 30 peer-reviewed publications as well as a book, several book chapters, and numerous extension publications. He was selected by the USDA to work in Poland for six months to assist the Polish Ministry of Agriculture in restructuring and reorienting its agricultural extension system.
“Dr. Place has devoted his career to the land-grant ideal that universities exist to address the needs of our nation while producing knowledge and talent for global impact,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I am confident that he will provide visionary leadership to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences that promotes excellence in teaching, research and service.”
Place was a fellow of the two-year Food Systems Leadership Institute program sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Land Grant System. His additional honors include receiving the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education Outstanding Achievement Award and the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teacher Fellow Award.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in dairy husbandry at Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania. He earned his M.S. in dairy and animal science and his Ph.D. in agricultural and extension education from Penn State University.
“I am looking forward to becoming the dean and director of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” Place said. “There is recognizable strong potential in areas such as agricultural technology, innovation, food systems and a host of other areas across all three missions of research, teaching and extension outreach. I stand ready to proactively work with the outstanding faculty and staff at CAES and UGA who are poised to take the college to whole new heights.”
A 24-member search committee co-chaired by Jennifer Frum, vice president for Public Service and Outreach, and Dale Greene, dean of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, helped identify finalists for the position. The committee was assisted by the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller and the UGA Search Group.