Presidential Search Committee says UNF’s new president should display integrity, honesty, inclusion

Colin McCann

Colin McCann
The search committee. Photo by Colin McCann

On Jan. 30, members of the Presidential Search Committee, along with some faculty, met to talk about online survey results, interview questions, and finalist presentations at the upcoming faculty forums.

During the week of Jan. 22, students and staff participated in an online survey, which asked what characteristics and priorities the President should have. With the responses in, the group jumped right into breaking down the results. Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr. Judith Rodriguez, pointed out that there was a lot that the students and staff agreed about.

Both the students and the staff believe integrity, honesty, having ethics, and being inclusive are important characteristics for the president to have. The rest of the committee agreed and added that being “student-focused” is another major priority.

The results of the survey show that students and staff think the next president should be consistent with their original choices and have an understanding of budgets and fundraising.

The results also show that the top three priorities that the students and staff believe the university should have for the next five years should be “improving the quality of the academic experience for students,” “legislative financial support,” and “paying for faculty and staff.”

As for challenges, President of the UNF Faculty Association, Dr. Radha Pyati, said university funding is a main issue, and the survey results show that the students and staff agree.

On Feb. 6 and 7, face-to-face interviews for the semi-finalists will take place at the Adam W. Herbert University Center. The committee will be using the online survey results and feedback to determine which questions will be asked. The questions will be finalized on Feb. 1.

Rodriguez said she is interested in knowing how the candidates solve ethical problems. She said, “I like questions that force them to tell us how they will go through decision-making processes, rather than listing a bunch of things they accomplished.”

French Language Professor Patricia Geesey said it is important that the candidates know that students come from different backgrounds. Geesey also pointed out that many students work long hours on top of their classes.

She said the candidate should understand “students are in a lot of different situations and they need a support structure and more financial help too.”

The third thing the group discussed was finalist presentations. From Feb. 12 to 15, there will be forums where students and staff can ask the candidates questions. Each day, two forums will take place, one for students and one for staff. Additionally, each day is reserved for only one of the finalists.

Each candidate will have 10 minutes to give a short presentation. The candidate will be asked, “Why UNF?” The candidates will also be given the choice to use tools like powerpoint. There will be two lines of students or staff who will be permitted to ask one question each.

The committee said they want to figure out a way to get feedback from the forums in order to determine which candidates the students and staff prefer and why.

On Feb. 1, the Presidential Search Committee is set to have a meeting to go over candidate materials, as well as possibly choosing around eight candidates for initial interviews. Then, on Feb. 6 and 7, the interviews will take place.

Students can access the resumes and cover letters of applicants in various locations around campus. This includes the Thomas G. Carpenter Library, Osprey Commons, and the Alumni Hall. The full list can be accessed here.

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