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Here’s what USF is looking for in its new president

Megan Holmes



University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft (Photo by Matt May/University of South Florida)

The search for the University of South Florida’s new president is officially on. On Tuesday, the USF Board of Trustees approved the position description developed by the university’s search committee to find its new president.

The university seeks to replace Judy Genshaft, whose retirement is effective July 1, 2019. But Genshaft will not go empty-handed. The Board of Trustees also moved to award Genshaft with 98.5 percent of the possible performance stipend for the 2017-2018 academic year, totaling an estimated $295,500.

In formulating the position description for Genshaft’s replacement, the search committee went to great lengths to gather public input. The 15-person committee conducted a listening tour involving each campus (Tampa, Sarasota-Manatee and St. Petersburg) and met with faculty, staff and students. The committee’s community input survey was also sent to more than 60,000 community members, alumni, students, faculty and staff.

The input gathered from the survey and listening tour was furthered by the guidance of consultants Greenwood/Asher & Associates. The consulting agency conducted an “understanding the landscape” exercise, bringing forward top leadership from universities throughout the country to be analyzed by the search committee.

The final product moved for approval is a three-page document of bullet points indicating desired, not required, qualifications without hierarchical structure.

See the full approved position description here:

The search committee will consider candidates under the totality of the following desired qualifications:

  • Has an academic background and credentials, including Ph.D., or highest degree in chosen academic field.
  • Demonstrates a record of meaningful accomplishments in senior level leadership and decision-making in a complex research university and has a strong record of innovation and transformation.
  • A record of building excellent leadership teams and organizing complex systems around core missions.
  • Has experience at an AAU institution.
  • Has experience in an administrative leadership position at a major research university and in successfully leading the development and implementation of a strategic plan in a complex multi-campus institution.
  • Has proven success and passion to lead a research one university to new levels of academic accomplishment and research excellence. Is committed to attracting, developing and retaining world-class faculty, both domestic and international, who are at the core of the university’s mission and success.
  • Is committed to multi-disciplinary approaches of a preeminent, public, research-intensive university.
  • Has the commitment, vision, entrepreneurial skills and ability to foster growth of the research enterprise and the infrastructure to support it, ensuring its quality and competitiveness, as well as its contribution to economic development. Has proven success in raising funds from private sources, federal and state government and industry.
  • Appreciates and is committed to fostering an exceptional, well-balanced and varied student experience, i.e., undergraduate, graduate, and international; in academics; in research; in cocurricular opportunities; in diverse social, multicultural and service experiences; and in residential and work activities. Relates well to, and understands the issues facing today’s students.
  • Will have respect and influence among peer and aspirant peer organizations and institutions.
  • Exercises the highest integrity at all times and demonstrates a commitment to the diverse needs of the university community.
  • A proven strong commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity.
  • Demonstrates success working in a multi-campus environment with teaching sites with unique identities, preferably at a public university. Has the commitment to enhance state and community college partnerships and enrich transfer student access.
  • Has the commitment to the importance of regionalism within a metropolitan area.
  • Understands the complexity and interrelationships of university health science centers, affiliated teaching hospitals and practice group, and the communities they serve, and has the vision to foster success in the academic health endeavor in a changing health care environment.
  • Is able to identify and recruit high quality talent committed to excellence at all levels, and has a record of building, empowering and mentoring a strong, skilled and collaborative leadership team.
  • Understands major intercollegiate athletics programs and their role within the university fabric, and is enthusiastic about and committed to fostering the programs’ integrity, accountability to the university and to NCAA compliance, the academic excellence and personal development of student athletes, as well as the programs’ competitiveness.
  • Is recognized as a national and international scholar of distinction with a proven record of distinguished academic, scholarly and professional accomplishment. Ability to forge relationships and partnerships on the local, national and global level.
  • Has an appreciation for the importance of working cooperatively within the governance structure of the State University System of Florida including the ability to work with elected officials and policy makers to advance the university, at the local, state and federal level.
  • Reflects visionary and transformative thinking and global perspectives about higher education and its role in society; thinks creatively about how to foster access, affordability, and excellence in education, including (a) leveraging innovative modalities, techniques and research to promote effective learning and student engagement, and (b) preparing students for success in all aspects of life and to make meaningful contributions to society.
  • Has passion and intellectual energy to be involved in all aspects of university life and to fulfill the university’s unique commitment to serve the State of Florida, including through education, research, economic development, and global partnerships.
  • Proven success in building strong external community relationships. Appreciates and is committed to leveraging the passion of the USF alumni base and becoming a part of USF and its culture.
  • Has a record of fiscal acumen and sound fiscal leadership. Has a sophisticated understanding of the fiscal complexity and structure of academic research and multi-campus institutions; can lead development of new and creative funding models; appreciation of data analytics; and can optimize resources in a changing global economy and public higher education environment.
  • Vision and the commitment to include the university community in shaping the university’s future.
  • Comprehension of higher education issues/trends and the ability to bring those into focus throughout USF.
  • Strong executive skills with a demonstrated commitment to inclusive and collaborative decisionmaking processes.
  • Effective communication skills, written and oral along with active listening skills.
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