Less than 24 hours after Broward College announced that prominent lobbyist and former Florida Department of Education (FDOE) Senior Chancellor Henry Mack III would be its Acting President, the college announced its No. 2 pick would serve in the role instead.
After Tuesday’s announcement, college officials said they were not able to come to contract terms with Mack and he withdrew his name for consideration. As a result, Barbara Bryan, who had served as a Broward College administrator starting in 1987 until her departure in 2013, starts work as Acting President Wednesday, college officials said.
The appointment of Broward College’s first female leader caps a month of turmoil at the college. Still, Bryan, one of three candidates interviewed Tuesday, said she was “thrilled” to accept the appointment that she acknowledged comes “at a time of transition.”
She will be paid $287,000 a year, her contract shows.
“I’ve spent the greater part of my career at the institution and it is an honor for me to return in the capacity of acting President to serve among the dedicated and passionate faculty and staff in our mission to provide quality education and job training to our community. Most important, as we move forward, we will maintain our unwavering commitment to our students,” she said.
Broward College is the third-largest of the 28 colleges in the Florida College System, behind Miami-Dade College and Valencia College, according to the Florida Department of Education 2022 FactBook.
Bryan, who has a doctorate in higher education administration, has been running a higher education consulting business for the past 10 years and does have the title “President Emerita” of North Campus Broward College.
The acting job came open last week after the abrupt departure of Broward College’s President for five years, Gregory Haile. The one-week search produced three finalists, who were required to have a connection with Broward College, and interviews conducted Tuesday. That session produced the announcement that Mack would be the college’s new leader.
Mack, a partner at The Southern Group since the start of this year, was an associate vice president at Broward College until Ron DeSantis’ administration tapped him to become a Chancellor at the FDOE.
Originally, Mack oversaw FDOE’s Division of Career and Adult Education, from 2019 to 2021. In 2021, he was promoted to Senior Chancellor at FDOE. From that position, which he held until this year, he oversaw Florida’s public and private higher learning institutions. Working with the Governor’s Office, he was responsible for all higher education and workforce education legislative priorities, according to his résumé.
Mack was seen as an ally of the Governor, the third one to ascend to lead one a state-run college or university. DeSantis has taken a strong interest in remaking higher education, endorsing legislation that has ended traditional tenure and stripping schools of programs and expenses focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Another DeSantis ally, Rep. Fred Hawkins, in June was named President of South Florida State College in Avon Park. He had no higher education experience before being named to the post, the Tampa Bay Times reported.