The University of South Florida has released the names and resumes of 11 candidates to be the school’s next president, a group with ambitious ideas and diverse experience.
They come from all over the world, some from higher education and some from the private sector. But none of them are likely to be a favorite as USF’s presidential search committee searches nationwide for a successor to former president Steve Currall.
The university’s research consultant indicated as much earlier this month, telling committee members that he had been in contact with 50 potential ‘targets’ for the job, many of them high-level university leaders. . The candidates most likely to be the best fit are those who don’t officially apply right away and are waiting to be recruited, said Alberto Pimentel, head of SP&A Executive Search.
“That first batch of people who apply don’t always meet all the criteria you’re looking for,” he said. “But they are candidates, so I need you to review them.”
The group of 11 includes Shahnaz Abdullah, a professor in the accounting and finance department at Alabama A&M University and former finance chairman of Claflin University. Her 39-page cover letter comes with a template she developed to transform the region’s economic growth. She said that as president she would add programs focused on public service, with the idea that they would help governments operate more efficiently and achieve better results internationally.
Richard Bishirjian, another candidate, is president of the American Academy of Distance Learning and founder of Yorktown University, an online liberal arts institution. In his cover letter, he wrote that he enjoyed USF’s instructional design programs and would be “thrilled to be considered” for the position of president. He pointed to his age, 79, but noted that others – including President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren and former President Donald Trump – engaged in vigorous work in their later years.
Documents provided by USF did not include a cover letter for Robert Davis. But, according to his resume, he’s a retired chief justice of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims, a lecturer at Yale Law School, and a former professor at the College of law from Stetson University.
Another nominee, Charalabos Doumanidis, is Marie Curie Professor and Vice-Rector at CDIC University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland. His 67-page resume details other positions at MIT, the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Tufts University and others.
For Kelan Farrell-Smith, his “first, second and only” goal as president would be to get USF involved in a Power 5 football conference. , sport matters enormously when it comes to exposure, perception and recruitment,” he wrote. Farrell-Smith is a consultant for the Redwood Fund, a former student affairs representative and assistant to the director of admissions at Claremont University, and a former GRE speaker for The Princeton Review, a company that helps students enroll in college. university.
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Robert Laurine is former Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer of the University System of Georgia. He said he spearheaded COVID-19 planning efforts for the system. His education includes a certification from Harvard University and he is a professor at George Washington University and a consultant based in Stuart.
Tim Murray pointed out that he was working as an adjunct professor at Susquehanna University during the pandemic. “These experiences along with my passion for coaching and mentoring led me to the decision to pursue a leadership role in academia,” he wrote. According to his resume, he is also the managing director of Cardinal Virtues Consulting in Virginia and a former CEO of a “multi-billion dollar company” called Aluminum Bahrain (Alba) in Bahrain.
Vanya Quinones is vice president and executive vice president of academic affairs at Pace University and former associate vice president of Hunter College, City University of New York. “I aim to continue my work in an urban academic institution that values the diversity of its students and measures their success as they increase the social mobility of their graduates,” she wrote.
Penny Reynolds said her interest in the position “results from a deep appreciation of the University of South Florida’s rich heritage, history, and tradition as a world leader in student education.” Reynolds is an instructor at Georgia State University and a senior policy advisor at Albany State University. She previously worked as legal counsel to the Governor of Georgia, mediator for the Georgia Supreme Court Dispute Resolution Office, and CEO of the JP Foundation, an education-related nonprofit.
Jennifer Schaeffer is vice president of information technology and chief information officer at Athabasca University in Canada and former vice president of Morgan Stanley. She wrote that she would embrace and celebrate USF as a place where students have the opportunity to take courses in person or online, and its role as “America’s fastest growing university.”
Mark Schweitzer said the next USF president “must have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and be politically experienced and sophisticated.” As vice president of health affairs and dean of the medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit, he said he speaks weekly with government officials to nurture strong relationships. He noted that Michigan’s state house, like Florida’s, “is primarily Republican, while our local elected leaders are primarily Democrats.”
Under a bill making its way through the Florida Legislature this year, those early nominees would be kept secret from the public. Proponents of the measure say it would encourage more high-profile candidates to apply, while opponents say it would erode transparency and make presidential searches vulnerable to political maneuvering.
The USF Presidential Search Committee plans to begin interviewing applicants by March.