The search has begun to find a replacement for University of West Florida President Judy Bense.
They are very early in the process. The committee, led by Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Mort O’Sullivan approved the hiring of Greenfield Asher as the advisory search firm on February 2. One of the first things they've been asked to do is participate and lead open interactions with all the parties involved with the university to get input on what they want in a new president.
There will be open forums on Monday, March 7 and Tuesday March 8 led by Greenfield Asher. They will be fairly open without many structured questions. The intent is to lead a discussion and seek input from the faculty, staff, students and community.
O'Sullivan says, "the intent is to lead a discussion and seek input from folks. This is a big decision about the hiring of our next president. It's going to affect the university for years to come. The thought is to seek from all the constituents what it is that we are looking for in our next president...the faculty, the staff, the students, and the community."
There is a structured timetable for the selection process. A document called Timeline For the Selection of President is on the UWF web site. The expectation is the committee will have final on campus interviews in the latter part of September, with the final vote on the new president coming at the September 30 Board of Trustees meeting.
O'Sullivan has served on two previous search committees and says, this search is a transparent process, which he believes it has always been the case. In the past it may not have been this structured or this extensive.
The first open forum will be held Monday morning from 9 until 10 am at the UWF Commons Auditorium. That forum will be web cast on WUWF.org. There will then be separate meetings with the Faculty senate, the Staff Senate, and the Student Government Association throughout the day.
The second open forum will be at a breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Tuesday morning at 7:30 where they will seek community input. This forum will NOT be web cast. Then the meetings from Monday will be repeated for people who could not make them the first day.