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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Baker can apply for St. Petersburg College president job



The St. Petersburg College board of trustees set minimum requirements for its next president Friday afternoon.

The bottom line: Neither a Ph.D. nor education experience is required.

The unstated implication: St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, who has said he is interested in succeeding president Carl Kuttler, can apply.

Trustees followed the recommendation of their search consultant in making the decision. Only trustee Ken Burke supported a provision requiring experience in education.

“Maybe I’m old fashioned, I think a person should know their product,” Burke said. Later, Burke said hiring someone without higher education experience would be a “tremendous morale buster for our faculty.”

Burke said he will not support someone without an education background.

Baker, who has said he is interested in the job but hasn’t said whether he will apply, has a Juris doctorate. He has no official experience working in higher education.

Presidential search consultant Jeff Hockaday said law degrees are generally considered sufficient for hiring a president.

But in his 72 previous presidential searches, Hockaday said every successful applicant had education experience.

Trustee W. Richard Johnston advocated for broadening the search beyond only educational experience. “I don’t want to limit the search in any way possible,” Johnston said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:13pm]


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