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Search committee narrows field of candidates for Florida State University president to 9

(WCTV)
Published: May. 11, 2021 at 11:27 AM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 12:10 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Florida State University’s presidential search committee has narrowed the field of candidates for president of the university to nine. The candiates are set to be interviewed this weekend.

Here is the list of candidates:

  • Robert Blouin
    • Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • David Coburn
    • Athletic Director Florida State University
  • Richard Corcoran
    • Florida Education Commissioner
  • Randy Hanna Dean
    • Dean, FSU Panama City
  • Robert McCullough
    • Vice Provost for Research, Harvard University
  • Giovanni Piedimonte
    • Vice President for Research, Tulane University
  • Sean Pittman
    • Lawyer, lobbyist
  • Mary Ann Rankin
    • Senior Vice President and Provost, University of Maryland
  • Michael Young
    • President Emeritus, Texas A&M University

The committee will talk to six candidates Friday and the remainder on Saturday. Six are considered from traditional academic backgrounds, with experience in leadership at major universities, many with an emphasis on research. Three of the candidates come from non-traditional backgrounds: FSU Athletic Director David Coburn, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, and lobbyist Sean Pittman.

The finalists came from a list of 22 applicants selected by an outside search firm.

During public comment prior to the decision, several professors raised concerns about the field of applicants, questioning the inclusion of Florida politicians. They questioned whether the committee and the University’s board of trustees were under pressure to appoint a politician favored by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“It’s disturbing to hear that candidates whose primary credentials are political will be considered for FSU president,” said retired professor Joseph Clark. “The students, faculty, staff, families and public expect more than that.”

Others echoed Clark’s call that the new president should bring experience in public higher education.

“Our growing national reputation will be badly damaged if we choose a non-academic to the position,” professor Will Hanley told the committee.

He asked that members pay particular attention to the candidates who pay attention to research as a critical part of the university’s function.

The commenters raised concerns Florida State University could risk losing its accreditation if it’s perceived the appointment is politically motivated.

You can read WCTV’s original story below.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State University’s presidential search committee is meeting Tuesday to consider 22 applicants for the position. The goal of the meeting is to narrow the field to eight top candidates for interviews.

Of the 22 applicants, 16 are considered traditional academics. Six come from other backgrounds, including two former Lieutenant Governors of Florida, current Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and FSU Athletic Director David Coburn.

During public comment prior to the decision, several professors raised concerns about the field of applicants, questioning the inclusion of Florida politicians. They questioned whether the committee and the University’s Board of Trustees were under pressure to appoint a politician favored by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“It’s disturbing to hear that candidates whose primary credentials are political will be considered for FSU president,” said retired professor Joseph Clark. “The students, faculty, staff, families and public expect more than that.”

Others echoed Clark’s call that the new president should bring deep experience in public higher education.

“Our growing national reputation will be badly damaged if we choose a non-academic to the position,” professor Will Hanley told the committee.

He asked that members pay particular attention to the candidates who pay attention to research as a critical part of the university’s function.

The commenters raised concerns Florida State University could risk losing its accreditation if it’s perceived the appointment is politically motivated.

Below, you’ll find the full list of the applicants (Note: asterisk indicates “non-traditional” applicants — meaning lack of strong academic leadership experience — according to the search firm):

  • David Blackwell: Provost, University of Kentucky
  • Robert Blouin: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Frank Brogan*: US Assistant Secretary of Education, former Lieutenant Gov. of Florida
  • Dr. Robert Clark: Provost and SVP of Research, University of Rochester
  • David Coburn*: Athletic Director, Florida State University
  • Richard Corcoran*: Florida Education Secretary, former Speaker of the Florida House
  • Randall Hanna: Dean, FSU Panama City
  • Erick Jones: Vice President, Academy Sports & Outdoors
  • Jeff Kottkamp*: Former Lieutenant Gov. of Florida
  • Richard McCullough: Vice Provost for Research, Harvard University
  • Myrna Amelia Mesa*: Attorney
  • Romain Murenzi: Executive Director, the World Academy of Sciences
  • Giovanni Piedimonte: VP for Research, Tulane University
  • Sean Pittmann*: Attorney, Lobbyist
  • Mary Ann Rankin: SVP and Provost, University of Maryland
  • Peter Bowman Rutledge: Dean, University of Georgia School of Law
  • James Weyhenmeywer: VP for Research, Auburn University
  • Gregory Williams: Executive, Franklin Templeton Investments
  • Cynthia Young: Dean, Clemson University College of Science
  • Michael Young: President Emeritus, Texas A&M University

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