Presidential Search – Recap From Q&A With Dianna Morgan

December 11, 2012 2:41 pm

Dianna Morgan shared several important updates on the Presidential Search during her November 15 presentation to the Gator Business Adminstrator Services (GBAS) and the APA:

How was the Presidential Search Committee selected?

President Machen gave us gift of time in announcing that he stepping down in 2013. The Board of Trustees immediately started to prepare for the presidential search. Trustee Chair David Brown appointed the search committee- 23 different reps BOT, faculty, BOG, students, committee all who have great stake in the University and who are important voices at the table so we many perspectives.

What are the most important qualities and characteristics wanted in a president by the Board of Trustees? By the faculty? By the UF Community in general?

Subcommittees were appointed including one on Qualities and Criteria. The committee asked for input from various entities including a database of more than 250,000 stakeholders and hosted focus groups led by Jodi Gentry. We received a lot of feedback that helped create the qualifications and criteria.

Another subcommittee is the Marketing and Communication subcommittee (Dianna Morgan is the chair). The goal of the search is to be transparent and over communicate with weekly updates, editorial board meetings and key media placements in Florida and nationally.

Housing subcommittee is focusing on just that, the home of the President. They are looking at all housing options and peers to see what others are doing. The current president home is in need of renovation. The current options are to renovate the existing house, build a new home or provide a housing allowance.

Compensation subcommittee is review peer level compensation. We hired an outside firm, Mercer, for report. They will develop a framework for a contract.

Campus Interview subcommittee is working on logistics when the candidates come to the campus.

Each subcommittee has UF partners working with each committee.

How is the search committee prepared to deal with the competing universities also looking for a president? How will the committee ‘sell’ UF over other AAU universities?

Early in the process, we interviewed many search firms. There are many searches going on now. We choose Greenwood/Asher who have contacts in the higher ed community and were available. Greenwood/Asher did President Machen’s search and have experience conducting searches in the sunshine. We are unique and require firm with special skills.

The process of developing qualities and criteria are inclusive of broad themes, academic credentials, leading a major university preferred but not absolute criteria. We want to recruit faculty, sound leadership, visionary thinking, (distance learning, university of next century look), entrepreneurship, creative solution to old problems.

Presentation kits were created that tells a story of the top 20 things someone needs to know about UF. There were other materials included as well.

Where are we?

We are in the outreach phase. The search consultants are meeting with leaders in AAU, academic community inviting them to consider becoming a candidate. This occurs quietly because some may be existing leaders. There are individuals we are excited about but they may wait to declare their application. There are those nominated by others and consultants have spoken to them.

Interest in role is considerable and the pool very exciting. We are optimistic to wrap up the search in next few weeks. We know a number of universities searching and we have to keep moving forward. We hope to have someone identified by the holidays. The right leader sets the right vision.

Questions and Answer Session

Q. Communication has been exemplary. Has the state’s budget been an issue with candidates?

A. We are not alone; every state is facing some challenges. A bit of concern about governance authority. When I joined the UF Board of Trustees in 2001, the Board of Regents moved to the Board of Governors and governing was realigned.


Q. Is there an expectation the search committee will put a list forward of 3-5 candidates?

A. If we follow the previous search, there may be 5-7 people here are a few days on campus. There will be forums and feedback mechanism for those participating. Occur in 24 hour period. There will be a faculty forum, open forum and search committee meeting to narrow candidates to two or three. The Board of Trustees will make the final decision.


Q. Theme of managing change. How will BOT plan for change in their relationship with the president (from a BOT perspective)?

A. Nothing is “broken” and there are no major issues but we want continuing momentum for good things. Are we looking for chance agent or for someone to continue to build? The BOT is reluctant to hand the new president a blueprint but will work together on strategic plan. Some goals are obvious. After the president is selected, we will know more and have longer term planning.  We want to retain valued talent; we have a strong cabinet and want to send reassurance to the team.


Q. Heavy competition for candidates, what specific marketing of UF has been used for recruiting?

A. They know UF has great athletics but not all successes like our students, $1 billion campaign, faculty, health science center on campus, Gainesville was voted the #1 place to live, point of differentiation governance and we have a cohesive board of trustees.