Another New Yorker has wound up in Florida, but this time it’s not a tourist or a retiree, it’s Mark Durand, former chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Albany and new regional vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at USF St. Petersburg.
“We felt as though Dr. Durand brought us the best mix of qualities,” Regional Chancellor Karen White said. “He is a wonderful scholar and researcher and a master teacher as well as a proven administrator.”
With a doctorate in Psychology, Durand is an internationally renowned expert on developmental disabilities and has written a textbook on abnormal psychology used at 330 universities worldwide, according to a USF St. Pete press release. His time at Albany also led to a position as interim dean of arts and sciences, a position he now occupies as a founder in St. Pete.
“I think that he has a wonderful reputation as an administrator and a teacher in the academic community,” White said. “His skill set will be a great asset to the future of our campus.”
According to the release, Durand will be responsible for academic strategic planning, undergraduate and graduate academic programs and procedures, oversight and compliance with institutional and state guidelines, as well as regional and national accreditation criteria.
And if that is not enough to handle, Durand will supervise the college deans, the Poynter Library, the director of institutional research and effectiveness, the associate vice chancellor for research and community partnerships, the director of University Computer Systems and the dean of Enrollment Services, including the functions of admissions, registration, enrollment management, academic advising, financial aid, veteran’s services, student recruitment and retention.
“The good news is that we have a lot of good administrators in place,” Durand said. “The second thing is that we have to prioritize where we want to take this campus.”
As for the direction in which he wants the campus to head, Durand is looking to make USF St. Pete a more personal alternative to other USF campuses. He said that he would like the St. Pete campus to be a research institute that has smaller class sizes and more direct involvement with faculty and staff. Part of his plan will be to teach a class now and again.
“I have no plans for the fall, but I hope to teach occasionally. It helps me understand where students are coming from,” Durand said. “(Having chief administrators teaching) is becoming more and more common; it allows you to have contact and you can miss that at times.”
Durand’s placement comes after an extensive search which started last year. The search committee brought in four candidates but did not find the right fit, so they called off the search and resumed it last semester. They brought in another four candidates, narrowed it down to two and finally chose Durand.
White said Durand displayed an impressive skill set and was dedicated to research and teaching, a direction in which St. Pete wants to head.
Durand said that he thought he might have been an appealing choice because he was involved with administration at the University of Albany, which he thinks is comparable to USF. He decided to pursue the job because of the weather, among other things.
“I knew President Genshaft and I liked her leadership style, which is one of the things that stood out. It is also a beautiful place to live,” Durand said. “I am watching the sailboats right now.”