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USF to narrow leader search

The St. Petersburg campus needs a chief academic officer.

By DONNA WINCHESTER, Times Staff Writer
Published September 29, 2007


An 11-member search committee took the first steps Friday to find a new chief academic officer for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

For more than two hours, committee members discussed their top picks from a list of more than 60 candidates who applied before the Sept. 18 deadline.

Among those vying for the school's No. 2 spot are the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Georgia Southern University, a former chancellor from the University of Minnesota, and a former dean of the College of Business at USF's Tampa campus.

"I think we have a very good applicant pool," said committee chair Geralyn McClure Franklin. "There's a lot of diversity in terms of geography and background."

Among the minimum qualifications for the job, Franklin said, are a doctorate or its equivalent from a regionally accredited school, at least three years of academic leadership responsibilities at a college or university, and an understanding of the role of urban universities.

This is USF St. Petersburg's first search for a chief academic officer, also known as the regional vice chancellor for academic affairs, since the campus earned separate accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in June 2006.

Former regional vice chancellor V. Mark Durand stepped down in March to return to a full-time teaching and research position in psychology at the school. Christopher D'Elia, a professor of environmental science and policy, has been serving as interim regional vice chancellor since July 1.

At a time when the state university system is facing drastic budget cuts, some schools, including USF, are finding it difficult to attract top-level administrators and faculty members.

Franklin said she is encouraged that so many top-notch educators are interested in the regional vice chancellor job. Over the next few weeks, she expects the search committee to narrow the list of candidates to 10 or 15 who will be interviewed by phone.

Up to seven will be invited for campus visits. By October, Franklin said, the committee should have several finalists to recommend to regional chancellor Karen White.

Times staff writer Donna Winchester can be reached at or 727 893-8413.

[Last modified September 28, 2007, 22:51:16]

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