Presidential search survey deadline extended to Oct. 20, hiring timeline delayed

The Presidential Search Committee wants to collect as many responses as possible from the community in the Presidential Search Stakeholder Survey, so it has extended the deadline by 20 days. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

The Sept. 30 deadline for members of the USF community to complete the Presidential Search Stakeholder Survey has been extended to Oct. 20 since, according to Interim President Rhea Law, the responses received so far weren’t as “robust” as expected.

So far, the committee has received over 1,000 responses, chair of the Presidential Search Committee Michael Griffin said in an interview Tuesday with The Oracle. He said the committee decided to extend it “as a result of how much interest [recipients have] shown in providing input,” which might consequently delay the initial January deadline to present a candidate to the Board of Governors.

“Realistically, I think that will shift a little bit because I want to spend more time on the listening tours,” Griffin said. “And that’s truly the reason I mean … there’s no need to rush it, one. And two, we’ve got to get it right. And so, in order to get it right, we got to spend more time with the community before we finish the position profile.”

The survey, launched Sept. 20, was created to gather input from faculty, students, staff and other USF stakeholders on what the Presidential Search Committee should look for in the next president. The responses will help create a position profile that will be used to recruit the candidates, according to an email sent by Griffin.

While there will be a team coming up with summaries and themes from the surveys, Griffin said he would personally read all of them.

“I’m committed to reading every word as chairman of the search committee,” Griffin said. “Folks took the time to give us feedback. The least I can do is make sure that I’m reading all those [comments]. We’re going to have an opportunity for members of the university community to speak before the search committee in person.”

The survey contains questions about short- and long-term challenges and opportunities the president might face. It also asks about the experience candidates should have, the personal qualities they should possess to “fit” in with the community and what USF features might attract the best candidates.

In the Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday, Law gave an update on the presidential search and stressed the importance of filling out the survey.

“Please don’t wait [until] the last day. Please go ahead and get on it [the survey] now and leave us your feedback,” Law said in the meeting. “Because it’s extraordinarily important that we put in the attributes that we want to see for the new president.”

Besides the survey, the committee and search firm SP&A Executive Search will conduct a listening tour to meet with stakeholders, representatives from the three campuses and groups from the surrounding communities the university serves. The listening tours don’t have a set date, but Griffin said they can be expected to occur between October and November.

Griffin said he doesn’t want to meet with candidates in December since campus activity is low. He said the search committee will attempt to receive feedback from everybody in the community until it is confident the survey has reached as many people as possible.

“I really want to spend more time in the fall and into the winter in listening sessions,” Griffin said. “I don’t want to just check boxes. I really want to understand what the university community wants in our next president.”