GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 17-year University of Florida administrator and chairwoman of a key Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences committee has been named associate vice president of operations for UF/IFAS.
Jeanna Mastrodicasa worked for seven years as UF assistant vice president for student affairs before being appointed to the post by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. She also serves as chair of the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education Advisory Board.
The PIE Center provides trusted communications research on current and emerging issues within agriculture and natural resources. Through the research, the center can more clearly determine how people form and act on opinions about these issues and provide recommendations for making strong messages.
Mastrodicasa will assume her new role Feb. 1.
“One of my goals is to learn as much as I can about what we do in IFAS,” she said. “It’s a statewide organization. I’m interested in listening. I want to know, ‘what can I do to help?’ I think it will be fun and exciting. It all comes back to relationships. That’s what makes IFAS and UF more successful.”
In her role at student affairs, Mastrodicasa worked with 600 faculty and staff, managed a $94 million annual budget and oversaw student fees and grants among her plethora of responsibilities. She also serves as liaison to the Office of the Chief Information Officer.
Student Affairs has more than 170 buildings and $100 million in new construction, including the renovation and expansion of the J. Wayne Reitz Union and Cypress Hall, the first new residence hall at UF in 10 years.
Mastrodicasa emphasized her budget, facilities and operations experience that she brings to her new post at UF/IFAS. She also keeps track of UF legislative proposals and looks forward to helping UF/IFAS advance its legislative agenda.
“I know the people who will report to me,” she said. “They know what they’re doing. IFAS needs more resources for facilities and upgrades. I think I can support that effort.”
Mastrodicasa takes over for Joe Joyce, who will retire in November 2015 after 20 years as senior associate vice president. Joyce will now devote 100 percent of his time to the IFAS Center for Leadership, a role he added to his normal administrative duties in April 2014.
Before working at student affairs, Mastrodicasa was associate director of the university honors program, assistant dean of students for orientation and academic adviser for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“We’re proud to bring someone with so much expertise about University of Florida operations to UF/IFAS,” Payne said. “Having both a doctorate and a law degree provides Jeanna with an excellent educational background for the challenges of this position, as well as the many years of experience she brings in administrative leadership of a major public university. In addition, she has successfully run for political office and has served on the Gainesville City Commission, which has provided her both experience and knowledge about the importance of working with stakeholders. I am delighted that she has agreed to join the UF/IFAS Leadership Team.”
Mastrodicasa earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism, and later her juris doctor, both from the University of Georgia. She earned a master’s in college student personnel from the University of Tennessee’s College of Education as well as a doctorate in higher education from UF.
Tennessee and Georgia, as well as UF, are land grant universities. As such, one of their missions is to bring unbiased agriculture and natural resources research findings to constituencies across their states – a branch of all land grant universities referred to as Extension.
Mastrodicasa cited her land grant education and experience in her letter to the UF/IFAS search committee. In her role as chair of the PIE Center advisory board, Mastrodicasa said she’s connected with representatives from industry and academia related to agricultural and natural resources issues as well as faculty, staff and students who conduct research for the PIE Center.
“I appreciate the value of being part of an institution with a Land Grant mission,” she wrote.