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11 apply for USF president’s job, though more are likely in the running

University leaders say they’ve reviewed at least 30 resumes. Only 11 names have been made public.
University of South Florida trustee Les Muma, center, publicly said last month that he has reviewed "30 to 40 resumes" related to USF's search for a new president. But the university has only made 11 names public. [Times file]
University of South Florida trustee Les Muma, center, publicly said last month that he has reviewed "30 to 40 resumes" related to USF's search for a new president. But the university has only made 11 names public. [Times file]
Published Feb. 19, 2019

Eleven people with varied backgrounds have applied to be the University of South Florida’s next president, records provided by the university show.

That is fewer than half the number of resumes consultants and USF leaders have reviewed, however, according to comments made by trustee Les Muma last month.

At a public meeting on Jan. 14, Muma, who leads USF’s presidential search committee, said consultants from the search firm Greenwood/Asher and Associates provided him with “30 to 40 resumes.”

RELATED: USF reviewing more than 30 resumes for president job

The Tampa Bay Times requested those resumes on Jan. 22, but was told by USF spokesman Adam Freeman that the university had “no records responsive.” Multiple requests for an interview with Muma have been declined and he was unavailable for comment Tuesday, Freeman said.

When the Times made a similar request last week, Freeman provided the newspaper with a list of the 11 applicants. No additional materials, like resumes and cover letters, have been provided, although they were requested.

“We have ... requested those items from the search firm and we’re waiting to hear back,” Freeman said in an email Tuesday.

MORE: See the list of 11 applicants for USF president

Also at the meeting in January, Muma told at least 100 people in attendance that they would “be blown away at the quality of the resumes we are looking at," referring to himself and the search firm.

Yet credentials for the 11 applicants listed in documents USF provided don’t appear to line up with the official president’s job description finalized by Muma and others on the 15-member search committee in November.

The document states that USF’s ideal next leader should have an academic background and leadership experience at a major research university, as well as understand the inner-workings of an institution like USF.

Of the 11 applicants named by the university this week, only six appear to be currently working at an academic institution. Of those, one is a sitting university president.

Three are employed by federal agencies: a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Mississippi, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Army. One applicant is a financial consultant at a private firm, while another appears to be currently unemployed after directing study abroad services for a private Catholic liberal arts university in Pennsylvania.

Since September, when current USF president Judy Genshaft announced her retirement, university leaders have urged the importance of transparency in the search for her replacement. In fact, board of trustees chairman Brian Lamb mentioned it explicitly in his charge to the search committee.

But to this point, much of the work related to finding USF’s next president has been done in private.

According to Muma’s comments at the January meeting, the applicant pool will be narrowed by the end of this month. Officials have not made clear who will perform that task and whether it will be done in the public eye. There are no future meetings scheduled for the search committee.

Still, the group is expected to conduct interviews and provide a list of finalists to the board of trustees by late March, based on what Muma has said recently.

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com. Follow @mareevs.

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