FSU warned that new Presidential search could be a "sham"

Update: Associated Press
July 14, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida State University is revamping its search for a new president but the school has been warned that this new search is likely to be seen as a "sham."

Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that the consultant first hired to help FSU told the search committee that the university was trying to "concoct a competitive process."

Before Bill Funk resigned in June he told FSU trustee Ed Burr that FSU would not be able to attract "viable candidates" as long as powerful Republican politician John Thrasher remained a candidate.

Thrasher was initially designated as the main candidate. But the search was then revamped. Candidates wanting the job have until September to apply. School officials expect to pick a new president by the end of that month.


By: Andy Alcock
June 20, 2014

Florida State students, faculty, staff and the community at large will have an opportunity to give their input on the university's next president.

"With the search being reset, it offers the opportunity to re-establish the importance of encouraging candidates with strong academic credentials," said FSU Sociology Professor Irene Padavic.

"In order to truly reset this search, we need more students, especially graduate students and faculty on this search committee," said FSU Graduate Assistant Kerr Ballenger.

Those comments are just a small sample of what the FSU Presidential Search Committee heard on Friday.

Now the group's consultant, Storbeck/Pimentel will get feedback.

Tuesday in room 208 of the Turnbull Conference Center, the consultultants will coduct an open forum with FSU staff from 1 to
2:30 p.m.

Students will have their chance from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and from 4 to 5 p.m. an open forum will be held for the community including business leaders and other campus stakeholders.

On Wednesday in Turnbull 108, a forum for faculty will be held from 9:45 to 11:15 a.m.

Lead consultant Alberto Pimentel told search committee members by phone his search philosophy.

"The focus for this particular search needs to be on the strength and quality of Florida State University," said Pimentel.

The committee also set a September 2nd application deadline for candidates.

On the 5th, the committee will select finalists.

On the 8th and 9th initial interviews will be conducted.

Extensive on campus candidate interviews are scheduled for 15th through 18th.

On the 19th, campus feedback is due.

"I'm looking forward to being able to interview 3 or 4 people to recommend to the board of trustees," said search committee member Al Lawson.

Pimentel told search committee members he plans to speak to applicants the university already has to see if they're still interested.

If they are, he'll keep them as part of the pool.

Lawson says there's a trend emerging across the country with university leadership.

"Universities often times will be run by academic provosts and the president is more of a fundraiser and a person who can lobby the legislature and so forth," said Lawson. "Not saying that is going to happen at this time, but I think you like to have it all in one," he said.

Many students and faculty members who've spoken to the search committee have made it clear they don't want State Senator John Thrasher as the new president due in part to his lack of academic credentials.

Lawson says he'd like to hear input from black student, faculty and alumni groups who haven't addressed the search committee.

"I think it's very important with black student enrollment going down with no African Americans in the administration," Lawson said.


Update: FSU Communications
June 20, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State University’s Presidential Search Advisory Committee unanimously approved today the schedule to produce finalists for the university’s Board of Trustees’ consideration before the end of September.
The schedule outlines dates for the application deadline, selection of finalists and on-campus interviews in the recruitment of the next president of Florida State University.
The schedule is:
• Sept. 2 – Application deadline
• Sept. 5 – Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC) meeting to discuss candidates and select finalists
• Sept. 8 & 9 – PSAC conducts initial interviews with selected candidates
• Sept. 15-18 – Campus hosts candidates for extensive on-campus interviews
• Sept. 19 – Campus feedback due
• Sept. 22 – PSAC meeting
The search committee will retain all applications for the position received to date.


A new consulting firm will get a chance to lead Florida State's presidential search.

FSU's Search Committee Wednesday voted to negotiate a contract with Storbeck Pimentel and Associates.

Storbeck Pimentel was third on the search committee's original list of three finalists to lead the search.

The committee chose that firm after Bill Funk resigned as the consultant.

The University of Florida has hired the committee's second choice, Greenwood Asher, to run its presidential search.

It created a conflict with FSU.

If FSU's contract negotiations go as expected, owner and managing partner Alberto Pimentel will lead the search for a new president.

Originally, the committee was sheduled to interview State Senator John Thrasher for the job at Wednesday's meeting.

Funk reasoned other qualified candidates weren't coming forward because the perception was Thrasher had the inside track to the job.

But following vocal criticism from faculty and students and new applications from Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston and State Representive Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda, Funk resigned.

"That process left the concept of fair and open and inclusive in shambles and risks holding this great institution up to national ridicule," FSU Teacher Matthew Lata told the committee.

"This a completely corrupt process that I'm sick of and the students are sick of and the faculty are sick of as well," FSU Student Zachary Schultz told the committee.

While Funk has stepped down and a new firm has been selected to lead the search, committee members agreed to pass on the names of current applicants to the new consultant, including Thrasher.

"In my classes, if a student learned something half way through the semester that would count for something, so I have to give Bill Funk credit for that," FSU Teacher Robin Goodman told the committee.

Search Committee Member Eric Walker called it a reset.

But FSU Faculty Member Jennifer Proffitt says it's not.

Proffitt presented the committee with a petition with more than 1,400 signatures on it.

A parade of faculty and students told the search committee they support the demands on the petition.

Specifically, they want someone with academic credentials to help reach the goal of becoming a top 25 public research institution.

Thrasher doesn't have them.

Faculty and students also said they want more representation on the search committee and a September deadline for applicants.

"Now is not the time for a politician to be president," FSU Student John Emanuello told the committee.

"I can't imagine working with a president or a provost or anyone at the university in a higher position who doesn't have academic credentials," said FSU Student Sean Cooley.

While Walker says the search committee is getting a fresh start, he acknowledges Thrasher's candidacy may still be stopping qualified candidates with academic and administrative backgrounds from applying for FSU president.

"The best thing that John Thrasher can do for this institution that he dearly loves and he has done so much for would be for him to withdraw his candidacy," Walker said.

When asked if he expects Thrasher will withdraw, Walker said "I hope he will do it."

Even as the search committee was selecting a new consulting firm, a student interrupted.

When Chair Ed Burr asked if there were any objections to the motion, a student in the crowd stood up and said, "I stand against the motion, I demand the students and faculty should choose who our president should be and not an outside firm."

Storbeck Pimentel lists 35 active searches on its website, most of them for colleges and universities.

Those searches include four university president openings and positions for other administrators at top ranked institutions including Harvard, Northwestern and the University of Southern California.

The committee agreed to set a new deadline for applications after getting input from the new consultant.

Thrasher was unavailable for comment.


News Release: Florida State University News
June 11, 2014 - 12 pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State University’s Presidential Search Advisory Committee unanimously approved a motion to appoint the national search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates to assist in the recruitment of the next president of Florida State.

Presidential Search Advisory Committee Chairman Edward “Ed” Burr said the committee “remains committed to hiring the very best president for Florida State University.”

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates is an executive search firm exclusively dedicated to serving the higher education and not-for-profit sectors. The firm was interviewed by the committee on March 21, 2014, as a potential search consultant.

“We are excited about the opportunity of representing another major research university, especially one with the academic stature and standing of Florida State University,” said Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates Managing Partner Alberto Pimentel after the meeting.

The search committee will retain all applications for the position received to date.

The committee agreed to set a revised search schedule with consideration of the recommendations of the search firm. The committee will review and discuss the recommendations for the search schedule during its next meeting. That meeting is to be scheduled.


By: Andy Alcock
June 11, 2014 - 11 pm

The search committee is discussing hiring Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates to lead FSU's presidential search.

The firm was the third of three finalists to lead the search. The number two firm is now involved in the University of Florida's search.

The chair says it's a conflict for that reason to hire that firm.


By: Kevin Clark
June 9, 2014 11pm

FSU is still without a president, and now the search committee is without its head consultant.

William Funk withdrew from the search process Monday in a brief letter.

Funk did not give details as to why he was withdrawing, but the move comes after FSU faculty approved a resolution of no confidence in the consultant, based on the way he was handling the search.

Board of Trustees Chair Ed Burr called the move disappointing.

"Mr. Funk felt he could no longer make the kind of contribution to the search that the university deserves," said Burr. "The Presidential Search Advisory Committee will consider this development at its next meeting. We remain committed to conducting a thorough, open and transparent search of the highest quality and integrity for the next president of Florida State University."

Search committee officials say they have no other response at this time, except that they will assess the developments at their next regularly scheduled meeting.

The meeting is set for Wednesday, June 11th, at 10am.


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