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FSU Begins Their Search to Replace Wetherell

Florida State officials are moving forward in their quest to find a replacement for university President T.K Wetherell, who announced his retirement at last month's trustees meeting.

The Board of Trustees agreed to hire John Hicks, a consultant with Academic Search, Inc. to run the search. The university had previously worked with the firm for its searches for a medical school and a business school dean.

Already, two people are not candidates for the high profile job. U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who had been rumored to be interested in the position, wrote the university expressly telling officials that he did not want the job. Additionally, Board of Trustees Chair Jim Smith, the former Florida secretary of state, told other board members Tuesday that he also was not interested in the position.

Board members only laid out vague credentials during their phone conference Tuesday, saying they wanted someone with solid academic credentials as well as someone with fundraising abilities. They also stressed the need for an extensive, national search, with no favorites.

Eric Walker, the faculty representative on the Board of Trustees, said the faculty in particular wanted someone with strong academic credentials. He added that he hoped the process would not result in an either–or choice between someone with academic experience versus management experience.

“I think there are people out there who can do both,” he said.

Several members also said they did not want to rush the search process. However, they also wanted to avoid a situation where Wetherell was in “lame duck” status for a long period with less power or political pull.

Wetherell, 63, is a former speaker of the Florida House and was the first Florida State alumnus to serve as president of the university. His contract does not expire until June 2011, and he has said that he could possibly stay until the trustees find a replacement. However, that has not been set in stone.

“I say let's just let the process begin and see how it all shakes out,” Smith said.

Community members interested in commenting on the public search process can email presidentialsearch@fsu.edu.

Another Florida university is starting to think about a new president as well. Florida Atlantic University will have to replace Frank Brogan, who was named Friday as chancellor of the state university system.

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