Tag Archives: presidential search

Ask the Students: What Are You Looking for in the Next University President?

 “I would like to see a president who embodies the Jesuit values of USF and listens to the community has a whole. It is my understanding that the job of  President of a University is to represent the school to others as well as lead in a responsible and respectful manner. It would be nice to see a president that listens to the students and creates an environment that allows for open conversation about issues that people care about.” -Megan Houston, sophomore, Psychology


“I want a President that will put students first, above anything else, ensure that education standards are top notch, and will help pave the way to make USF an even finer institution than it already is.” -Pranav Mandavia, junior, Communication Studies


“All we can really ask for in a University President is someone who is wide open to new ideas, understanding, and honest. If these qualities are on the table, we’re already headed in the right direction.” -Khuyen Do, junior, International Studies


“I would love to see a President that is in touch with student involvement on USF’s campus. It would be great to see the next President foster growth of campus life and make USF a destination of students who want to attend the University for the University’s sake, not just the destination for students who want to attend school in SF.” -Lauren Voss, junior, Nursing

“I would like a president who believes in equality for all.  Some one who is a hardworker and wants what is best for the students and faculty.” -Liz Beckerle, freshman, Psychology

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“Someone who is invested in the diversity of our campus is an admirable value to have as President.” -Hannah Villano, sophomore, Psychology

“I like the ‘whole person education’ standpoint that Father Privett used. I would like to see our President be someone who is equally interested in developing the mind as well as a good conscience.” -Liliana Robertson, junior, Psychology

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“I think it’s assumed that a university leader is one who is honorable and wants the best for the student body but an important value that’s overlooked is someone who is relatable. This role should be taken on by someone we can connect with on a personal level.” -Kelsey Gummow, senior, Communications

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“The university leader needs to be someone who has a presence on campus.” -Jessica Small, junior, Communications and Advertising

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“The next University President should be someone who is not afraid to rock the boat for change!” -Naudia Queen, senior, Communications


Staff Editorial: The Next USF President

We at the Foghorn have decided to contribute our thoughts and hopes on the next USF president. In an effort to keep the opinions diverse, we have chosen a few that maintained the general themes that were found throughout all the submissions:

“I hope the new president of USF is someone who listens to students: their ideas, concerns and feedback. I hope the new president is supportive of all students, specifically the student organizations on campus that do so much work for the USF community– not only by hosting events and providing entertainment, but as representing the voice of the student body.”
Madeline Vanden Branden, Editor-in-Chief

“I hope the next USF President runs the university like a university, and not like a business. I find that the Jesuit mission of supporting those in need translates to, in the educational sense, supporting scholarships and finding ways to keep welcoming a diverse student population to campus every year. I would love to see a President whose mission it is to create equal opportunity on campus. Lastly, for the sake of campus media and the community it serves, I hope the search committee finds a candidate who values and encourages transparency at our institution.” — Tanya Dzekon, Managing Editor

“I want the next president to be friendly, approachable, and enthusiastic about their profession. Their religious beliefs do not matter to me as much as their overall character and kindness as a human being. It would be great if they regularly interacted with students and listened to what we have to say about the school. I definitely hope that USF’s next president is committed to creating great experiences and opportunities for both students and faculty, and I also hope that they are dedicated to increasing awareness about USF and sculpting its image as an excellent school. I think we have made a lot of progress in those respects in recent years, so I would love to see that continue.” — Hayden Gehr, Deputy Sports Editor

“I hope the new president is personable and tries to get to know the community he serves. I hope the new president is attentive to student and faculty concerns, and open to improvement. I also hope the new president can uphold the expectation of “creating a financial model for the future that clearly places the academic enterprise at the core,” so that future Dons can afford a quality education.” — Mia Orantia, Scene Editor 

“I hope the new USF president will have a strong presence in student events on-campus, especially within the performing arts. Right now, there’s a big focus on the sciences at USF, and it would be great to see a focus on other departments at USF that might need attention and support. In my opinion, more departments should receive the level of resources afforded to the sciences. Additionally, financial aid and scholarship funds should remain a focus for the next USF President so that everyone who wants a USF education has a fair shot regardless of socioeconomic background.” — Matt Miller, Online/Rich Media Editor

“I want to see a president who makes an effort to be a personable, approachable figure on campus. We need a leader who helps to unite the students, someone who can walk around campus and wave hello to students, can greet some of us by name. Someone any student can feel comfortable discussing their ideas and concerns with. Beyond just personal traits,  I would like to see someone who, Jesuit or lay person, takes Pope Francis’s lead on modernizing the Catholic public opinions on social issues. I think that under the right leadership, USF can continue and further its position as a role model for progressive, accepting Jesuit education.”  — Heidi Patton, Sports Editor 

Father Privett Steps Down, Students Step Up in the Search for the Next President

Students at USF this year have the rare opportunity to participate in the search for the University’s next president.

University President, the Reverend Stephen A. Privett, S.J., announced plans to retire from his position at the end of his third and final term in a campus-wide email, last month. Privett will continue to serve as university president until a successor has been named and the presidential transition completed.

The search effort for USF’s 27th president is being led by two teams within the Board of Trustees: the Presidential Search Committee (PSC), which consists of only Trustees, and the Search Advisory Committee (SAC), which consists of Trustees and representatives from various constituencies on campus, like students and faculty.

Each constituency then has at least two or more listening sessions, where representatives of that constituency have the chance to voice their concerns and opinions to members of the SAC. The last student listening session was led by ASUSF President senior Johnny Chibnall, the undergraduate representative on the SAC.

“In the listening sessions, students discuss what they want to see in the next president of USF,” Chibnall said. “Students, if they choose to participate, have a great opportunity to talk about what they want to change at USF and what should not change.”

The information collected at the listening sessions is then added to the leadership requirements for potential candidates, and presented to the PSC, the group responsible for making the final decision in the presidential selection, said Teresa Win (‘85), a member of the Board of Trustees and the SAC.

“The feedback of students is extremely important to the Trustees because they will ultimately decide which candidate is right for the job,” Chibnall said. “From speaking with the Trustees myself, I know they value student voice because, after all, USF is a university for students.”

Search Committee Chair Charles “Chuck” Smith echoed Chibnall’s sentiments. “Students have a lot of leverage in the search because they are the most important product that we have to offer,” Smith said. “We are here for the students. We embrace the thinking of the students because — it’s what we’re all about!”

“It’s really the students who have their ears on the ground for what’s going to happen next. They pull us to the future,” added Win. “So, we are here to share what is known and what we have learned, but we are looking for you to show us where we have not been.”

Smith recalled the common themes from last week’s student listening session: “Students were very candid, very direct, and extremely thoughtful about what they expected from their leader, mainly, a quality education, a timely education, and an education that result[s] in finding a job.”

“A pretty hot issue is space,” added Win. “[Students] value the outdoor space that’s there, and also their living space, since it is so scarce on campus as well as in the city,” she said. “We heard that very loudly.”

According to Chibnall, other topics brought up were regarding Bon Appetit, athletics, and financial aid stability. “Two things that students unanimously agreed that should stay the same are our focus on Social Justice and Diversity,” he said.

The importance of being heard goes far beyond the present moment. “The next President of USF is in a great place to continue the work of making USF an even more recognizable and prestigious institution, so much so that we could be the first USF people think of — not University of South Florida or UCSF or SF State,” Chibnall said. “The feedback that a student gives could be the deciding factor in selecting a president that can continue to take USF to the next level.”

Student feedback plays a vital role in the greater USF community effort to find the best presidential candidate.

“The issues presented by the students build on the issues of faculty and staff,” said Smith. “Every group expressed their concerns and, though they were distinct depending on where they came from, there was a very consistent theme. The theme is we want to be bigger and better and great at — no doubt — being highly thought of with a good reputation in the academic community, but also at pursuing the Jesuit mission and using the mission to explore knowledge and education.”

As for finding the individual with the credentials to lead USF to this bigger, better place, the search is still in full swing.

After making a change to the by-laws of the Board of Trustees a number of years ago, this next president is being chosen from the widest range of applicants yet. “The individual we bring in may or may not be a Jesuit. They may be a layperson. They may be a woman or male. We don’t know — but we’re going to bring in the very best candidate into our organization,” Smith said.

Though the final say rests in the hands of PSC, who will select the best candidate based on a ranking scale system, Smith and Win stress the importance of this opportunity for students.

“I am disheartened that some graduating students do not see their participation as valuable in the process because the next President of USF affects them even after they graduate,” Chibnall said.

“If you’re a student and you’re here at this moment that we’re going through this process, it’s a rare opportunity to have an influence that will affect the future of the entire university,” Win said. The last time students were presented this opportunity was fifteen years ago, when Privett was selected as University President.