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Board of Governors Moving Forward with Search for Chancellor

The state university system is moving ahead with selecting a new chancellor, closing in on candidates officials would like to interview for the position.

But the head of the search committee admitted Thursday that there was a bit of a slow down after one potential candidate, Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, withdrew his name for consideration after he announced he was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

King was in the process of mounting a full campaign for chancellorship before he was diagnosed with cancer. He had, however, not officially applied for the job despite his public lobbying for the position.

“After I heard that dreadful news, we did slow down the process out of respect for him,” said Board of Governors member Carolyn Roberts.

Roberts said the search committee will convene June 29 and will decide which candidates will be brought forward for an interview at that time. She said she would like to ultimately interview four or five potential chancellors, she said, who would have strong academic credentials and be able to work well with lawmakers who control the system's budget.

“It's very important that the presidents are accepting of this candidate because he works very closely with the presidents...they need to buy into the person,” she said.

University of North Florida President John Delaney has been serving as the chancellor in an interim capacity, but has said that he is not interesting in pursuing the job full time.

Eight candidates applied for the job in early April, but Roberts would not say if any of them would be considered for final interviews. A consulting firm has also been conducting a nationwide search for candidates for the system and is bringing the names to the search committee before the next committee meeting.

The eight applicants for the job so far include M.T. Attaf, professor at the University of Quebec; Steve Hoagland, research consultant at the University of California-Irvine; Larry Lemanski, senior vice president for research at Temple University; Steve MacNamara, associate professor at Florida State; Preston Mercer, professor at University of South Florida Polytechnic; Simon Priest, acting president of Marco Polo International University; Chris Sliwa, associate professor at Fayetteville State University; Bernard Weiss, former faculty member at Southern University.

Lemanski could emerge as a potential candidate from the initial group of applicants. Prior to working at Temple, he was vice president for research at Florida Atlantic University, so he is familiar with the system's governing structure.

MacNamara's, however, may be the most recognizable name of the official applicants so far. MacNamara served as chief of staff to former Speaker John Thrasher. He currently works as Associate Vice President in Academic Affairs at Florida State.

Roberts said she was very pleased with the quality of the candidates thus far but also acknowledged that it is difficult for people to apply for the job when it means alerting their current employers that they're looking around. Florida's public records laws require that the applicants names be made public.

“It's difficult for people who have a job to put their name forward for another job especially in this economy,” she said.

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