Presidential Search Committee moves forward with position profile

A list of ideal traits for the next president were outlined, including dedication to USF’s mission and ability to create respectful relationships within the community. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Job applications for USF’s next president will soon be coming in as the Presidential Search Committee finalizes the position profile and advertisements.

The committee created a 15-page brand book consisting of USF facts and statistics, awards and achievements, as well as the role’s qualifications and challenges. The board reached a consensus on the document and approved it Nov. 19, with a few changes in the language used for certain points still pending.

After the document is finalized, the committee leadership will create the position’s advertisement and present it with the brand book to the Board of Trustees (BOT) in December, according to Search Committee Chair Michael Griffin.

“It sends a strong message that we have consensus, but we will be coming back to you electronically with [the final version],” Griffin said.

In the brand book’s qualifications and characteristics section, the committee focused on skills in the area of leadership, communication, management style and problem solving.

An ideal candidate must have a passion for USF and its mission, the ability to lead a multi-campus university and have an accessible and approachable management style. An emphasis on the candidate’s ability to develop and cultivate working relationships with trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, students, government and corporate leaders as well as community partners is also included in the position’s profile.

Candidates should also further promote and pursue the university’s set ambitions, including achieving American Association of Universities membership and enhancing its infrastructure, as well as establish “a bold vision” for the future.

A commitment to reinforcing the role of USF Athletics is also strongly emphasized in the book. The next president is expected to be a “passionate supporter” of the university’s athletic programs and work with trustees, athletic boosters and other “key campus stakeholders” to build an on-campus stadium.

The committee will accept application nominations until the position is filled, according to the book. Applications need to include a current curriculum vitae and a letter of interest in which the applicant will describe relevant experience and their interest in the position. The search firm will be taking applications via email.

The brand book is filled with the university’s points of pride, including its recent rankings, research stats and general facts about the three campuses. 

There is a heavy focus on academics in the book, focusing on STEM majors and the university’s research endeavors. USF Health has its own section highlighting its recent accomplishments and awards, as well as its partnership with Tampa General Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. 

Other colleges, including arts and sciences, engineering, the arts and business, are not given the same emphasis on the promotional video or brand book.

Alberto Pimentel, co-founder of SP&A Executive Search, said he was concerned about excluding colleges when highlighting a few in the brand book. He said an emphasis is being put in other areas of the university during conversations, in which the search committee is “pushing the connectivity between the university and the business and local community.”

“I want to make sure we emphasize that the university has been very impactful in each area. So I don’t know if that addresses the comment but the fact that we thought it might create a problem if we just emphasize only a couple of colleges,” Pimentel said.

The university’s recent commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is featured in the brand book, highlighting some general information about its anti-racism initiatives, including a website, the Diversity, Anti-Racism and Equity (DARE) dashboard and the $500,000 investment in interdisciplinary research projects focusing on systemic inequality and Black history, across campuses.

Suggestions to add more information regarding the Tampa Bay area and its quality of life were proposed by some committee members during the meeting. 

“I do think that adding in that broader context is important,” Board of Governors member Ken Jones said. 

“If you think about the companies that have moved here to Tampa Bay just in the last three or four years, those are really interesting selling points … This area is experiencing not just educational excellence with growth, but also corporate growth with relocations.” 

Among the recommendations, committee members suggested the book include a stronger emphasis on student success, Ph.D. and M.D. programs and other college’s accomplishments.

Once the changes are made and the brand book is finalized, Griffin will present it at the Dec. 7 BOT meeting. The committee will then work on the advertisement and open submissions for the role of USF’s eighth president.