Hilton UF Conference Center | May 2, 2018 | Gainesville, FL

View photos of the event here.


Welcome to the inaugural UF/IFAS Research Forum hosted by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. We are pleased that you are joining us for a day of sessions that address topics relevant to research faculty of all stages. We hope that you learn something new that will help strengthen your programs and contribute to discussions by sharing your own experiences. We can learn much from each other, and this day is designed to help you make new connections within UF/IFAS.

We will begin the program by hearing from our Senior Vice President of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Jack Payne. As UF aspires to rise in the national rankings, research discoveries will fuel the climb to the top and strengthen our associated teaching and extension programs that contribute to UF’s land-grant mission. We welcome Dr. Norton as our keynote speaker to share his vision of UF’s research preeminence and the role of UF/IFAS faculty in that journey.

Finally, thanks to all who participated in the development of this program. We truly hope this is a valuable faculty-driven experience. After the forum, please take the time to provide feedback and ideas for future programs through the online evaluation that will be delivered via email.

– Jackie Burns, UF/IFAS Dean for Research, @JackieBurnsIFAS


SESSION 1 (8:40 - 9:30 a.m.)

International Programs

Learn about the best (and coolest) international projects in UF/IFAS. These case-studies will provide a good overview of what a successful and strong international program looks like. Also learn about support for UF/IFAS faculty engaging in research programs with international activities.

Moderator: Wagner Vendrame

REEport Projects

The what, why, and how of land-grant university funding: Hatch, Hatch Multi-state, McIntire-Stennis, Animal Health and associated REEport Projects. Hear from the finance and business experts in the UF/IFAS Office of Research.

Moderator: Nancy Wilkinson


The Mechanics of Funding

Learn about types of agreements, the process (including deadlines), how to ensure compliance, best practices, and what projects are suitable for crowd-sourced funding.

Moderator: Benita Bannis

  • Sponsored research processes: Hear from Virni Mattson, Grant Specialist and 2017 Research Service Award recipient from the Dean for Research Office, and Ryan Chance, Grant Specialist, Shared Service Center
  • Crowd-sourced funding: Hear from Caylin Hilton, UF/IFAS Advancement, on how to establish accounts and Emilio Bruna, on support of student research

Applying for and Managing Large Multidisciplinary Grants

The session will discuss major points from “Leading Large Transdisciplinary Projects Addressing Social-Ecological Systems”, a book co-authored by directors of large integrated Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAP) funded by USDA-NIFA that highlight the characteristics of successful projects. The presentation, by PINEMAP team leader Tim Martin, will be augmented with input from UF CAP team member Wendy-Lin Bartels. Sobha Jaishankar will have information on UF support for faculty submitting proposals for complex projects.

Moderator: John Davis


SESSION 2 (9:40 - 10:30 a.m.)

Successful Student Field Experiences: Courses and Research

A participatory panel discussion on enhancing student field experiences … without losing your cool.

Moderator: Shirley Baker

  • Erin Alvarez, Farm to table; Encouraging students to get their hands dirty
  • Rae Crandall, Removing the fear from field research
  • Joel McQuagge, Making the most of student travel experiences
  • Will Patterson, Practical considerations for student involvement in field-based marine research
  • Christina Romagosa, The importance of field-based learning experiences


Integration of Research and Teaching Program

Five faculty will describe how they integrate teaching and research, providing information on resources to support integration (most notably federal grant programs) and tips for successful projects.

Moderator: Kelly Grogan

Engaging Clientele

This session will address questions on how to better engage with clientele and gain their valuable support. Three faculty members will share personal experiences as formal presentations followed by a panel discussion.

Moderator: Mathews Paret

Developing and Maintaining a Research Lab

Hear tips and strategies from experienced faculty with successful forestry, agronomy and entomology labs. Q&A and a presentation from Environmental Health and Safety follow.

Moderators: Fredy Altpeter and Matt DiMaggio


SESSION 3 (11:00 - 11:50 a.m.)

Recruiting/Hiring Research Staff

Having the right research staff is essential to the smooth functioning and productivity of an academic research lab, but knowing how to effectively search and hire great staff and moving through the hiring process can present unexpected difficulties. The goal of this session is to generate useful discussion with faculty and staff with significant experience recruiting and hiring research staff, including postdoctoral associates.

Moderator: Damian Adams, Session notes

  • Jo Ann Davis, Nothing surprises me, I work in HR
  • Jiri Hulcr, Assembling a killer research team
  • Fredy Altpeter, Digging for diamonds


What are ways to bring my research to audiences? How can I better communicate my results? From blogs, to Twitter, to podcasts. Experiences of two UF/IFAS faculty and key insights from a faculty outside UF/IFAS will be shared as formal presentations followed by a panel discussion.

Moderator: Mathews Paret


Coaching/Mentoring Students and Professionals

Faculty play a critical role in developing graduate students and post-doctoral scientists through quality mentorship. Learn about best practices for mentoring and resources available to help develop your trainees.

Moderator: Heather McAuslane

Integration of Research and Extension in Federal Grants

How to remove the burden of justification and accountability through formal incorporation of project evaluation that also enhances the visibility of programs and supports the scholarship of Extension.

Moderator: Sherry Larkin


Lunch (Noon - 1:30 p.m.)

Keynote Address


Plenary Session (1:40 - 2:30 p.m.)

Federal Funding

What makes a “winning proposal”? Panelists will comment on how to effectively structure proposals to “most effectively get the message across” to reviewers in key federal agencies followed by a Q&A session.

Moderator: Jackie Burns

Facilitators: John Davis and Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski


SESSION 4 (2:40 - 3:30 p.m.)

Enhancing Research through Engagement

The scholarship of engagement with students and the public that foster integration and cohesiveness of teaching, research and extension programs, and use of formal assessments to improve communication and documentation of effectiveness.

Moderator: Andrea Lucky

T&P Packet Development

Achieving tenure and promotion is a central concern for faculty, who are uncertain about the process. This panel session aims to generate an enlightened discussion with four faculty representing various career stages and levels of experience with the tenure and promotion process, including members of the UF/IFAS Committee and UF’s Academic Personnel Board.

Moderator: Damian Adams

  • PK Nair (Past APB member and Distinguished Professor)
  • Norm Leppla (Past APB member)
  • Charlie Staples (Past chair of the UF/IFAS T&P Committee)
  • Luke Flory (recently promoted faculty member)


How do I make the most of a sabbatical? What funding is available? What if I can’t leave Gainesville? How have sabbaticals helped faculty programs? Panel discussion with UF admin and faculty with diverse experiences.

Moderator: Lisa House

  • Angel Kwolek-Folland, Regulation that guides sabbaticals, and how to use an FEO
  • Karen Kainer, Impacts of our year in Mexico
  • Lisa House, Benefits of short vs. long, family vs. solo
  • Emilio Bruna, Simple rules for a successful stay-batical


Purchasing and Asset Management

Hear from the Chief Financial Officers’ office about the procurement process for all kinds of purchases including assets, and the restrictions or flexibility based on funding (state, federal, residuals etc.). Learn about getting and retiring property (assets).

Moderator: Sherry Larkin

Thank You

Thank you for participating in the inaugural UF/IFAS Research Forum. We hope you found value in the sessions, and that you use the information provided to help advance your research programs, and in turn, the UF/IFAS mission. Please take the time to complete the follow-up survey that will be sent to your email within the next few days.

Invited Special Participants:

Robert Nowierski, National Program Leader, Division of Plant Systems-Protection, USDA-NIFA

Sobha Jaishankar, Assistant Vice President, Division of Research Program Development, UF Office of Research

Karen Gillis, Associate Director of Research Services, UF Environmental Health and Safety

Angel Kwolek-Folland, Associate Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs, UF Office of the Provost

Ryan Parris, CPA, CGMA, Assistant Controller, UF Finance and Accounting

Sherry Adams, Accountant III, UF Finance and Accounting

Lisa Deal, Assistant Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer, UF Procurement Services

Andrew Selepak, Director, M.A. in Mass Communication, UF College of Journalism and Communications

David Julian, Associate Professor, UF Department of Biology

Christine Overdevest, Associate Professor, UF Department of Sociology, Criminology & Law