USF announces search committee for new USF Poly chancellor, gives update on separation benchmarks
The University of South Florida isn't wasting any time on its search for a new chancellor of its Lakeland campus, announcing today the selection of a 14-member search committee and national consulting firm to help with the process.
The committee is made up of USF and USF Poly campus representatives, and also leaders of Polk County business and academic institutions. Guiding them will be R. William Funk and Associates, a higher ed search consultant firm from Texas.
State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan called the open position a "plum."
"This person will essentially be brought in to paint on a blank palette," Brogan said at a meeting of the Board of Governors committee charged with overseeing USF Polytechnic's transition to independence. "The opportunity that that presents is huge."
The announcement was part of the first official update USF gave to oversight committee. At a meeting in Orlando, USF and USF Poly leaders laid out their plans to meet all the benchmarks the board laid out as conditions for the campus to split off. It came two months after the board voted on those conditions, essentially delaying USF Poly's impassioned bid for separation by several years.
Just reaching one of those benchmarks: accreditation, is estimated to take at least three to five years. As evidence of how involved that process is, USF gave board members copies of its 100-plus-page first draft of USF Poly's application with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. First USF Poly will seek separate accreditation as a part of the USF, then issue a substantive change request with SACS to apply for accreditation as a separate, independent institution.
The campus also needs to complete two of its first new campus buildings and increase its enrollment, as well as its enrollment of students in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). That will require new academic programs, with a laser focus on those areas, in addition to new faculty.
But USF won't rest until its once rogue branch campus can finally realize its separate vision, said USF Poly's interim branch chancellor, whose appointment last month earned USF President Judy Genshaft a slap on the wrist from the special BOG committee.
"I told everybody we’re going to live in today and tomorrow," said David Touchton, a Lakeland accountant. "We’ve got a job to do."