President Judy Genshaft will formally step away from her role in July after serving in it for nearly two decades. Since Genshaft announced her decision to retire in September, the search has been on to find her replacement.
In an email to The Oracle, Adam Freeman, a university spokesperson, said the hope of the search committee tasked with finding the next system president is to do so sometime during the spring semester.
Freeman added that since the qualifications required in a candidate for the job were finalized in early December, the recruitment is expected to intensify until the right person is chosen.
Among the nearly 30 requirements detailed by the presidential search committee and Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc., the consultant firm tasked with finding Genshaft’s successor, includes the need for the next system president to be an individual with a strong background in education, including a Ph.D.
Though Genshaft has her doctoral degree from Kent State University, her direct predecessor, Betty Castor did not have a Ph.D.
In the time where USF will need to maintain its status as a Preeminent Research University and consolidate its three campuses — Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee — as mandated by former Gov. Rick Scott, having experience in both areas is a crucial characteristic of the university’s next leader, according to qualifications detailed by the search committee.
The qualification reads: “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.”
According to the search committee’s website, the “goal is to have a new president ready for ratification of the Board of Governors by the March 28, 2019 meeting…”
Student Body Vice President Shaquille Kent, who also serves as the student voice on the search committee, said in a message to The Oracle that some of the characteristics he discussed with his fellow committee members was a strong devotion to the student body and diversity.
Dick Beard, who served as chairman of USF’s Board of Trustees from 2000-05, told The Oracle after Genshaft announced her retirement in September, that a qualification he is looking for in Genshaft’s replacement is someone who is flexible and fully devoted to the university.
“It’s a 24-hour job,” Beard said. “People in that job react to situations and lots of them make the wrong decisions. USF needs somebody patient, a strategic person who’s able to relook at USF’s goals and do a plan.
“That’s what (Genshaft) did and you see what it became.”
Kent shared a similar sentiment.
“I hope the next president will be as charismatic as President Genshaft was where students will know who she is and they (the next president) bring that same excitement and energy for the university that she had,” Kent said.