New College of Florida kicks off presidential finalist interviews

New College of Florida
Five presidential candidates remain.

New College of Florida will begin interviewing presidential finalists on Monday, marking the college’s latest step to replace outgoing President Donal O’Shea.

The Sarasota-based liberal arts school will host five candidates over two weeks. The meetings kickoff Monday with Alan Shao, College of Charleston’s College of Business Dean.

Other finalists include Guilford College President Jane Fernandes, University of Missouri College of Arts Dean Patricia Okker, Wofford College Provost Michael Sosulski and Purdue University Honors College Dean Rhonda Phillips.

A meeting schedule and live stream link is available online. The candidates’ resumes are also available online.

The meetings come after the Presidential Search Committee narrowed their finalist list from 12 to five candidates earlier this month.

O’Shea plans to retire June 30 at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. He took the position in 2012.

Notably, the incoming President will take the helm a year after the Legislature contemplated legislation that would have consolidated the school.

The proposal, (PCB EDC 20-03), sought to fold New College of Florida under Florida State University and Florida Polytechnic University under the University of Florida.

House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Randy Fine, a Brevard County Republican, proposed the merger to reduce education costs at state universities.

“We have an obligation to taxpayers to generate degrees at the lowest possible cost,” Fine said in 2020. “Unfortunately, degrees earned from Florida Poly and New College cost an order of magnitude more than they do at the other 10 universities.”

The school in recent years has struggled to meet enrollment goals despite the state originally budgeting to grow the student body.

To that end, the incoming President will oversee the college’s 10-year strategic plan.

Coined as Cultivating Curiosity. Unleashing Potential, the plan aims to bolster enrollment and increase four-year graduation rates among other pursuits.

More information about the presidential search can be found online.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.


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