Presidential Search Committee Meeting 2-5-18

The Presidential Search Committee gathered today to discuss any updates or concerns on applications for University of Central Florida’s next president.

During this meeting, the committee continued to discuss the sunshine state law and how Parker Executive Search claims it negatively affects the applicants and this process.

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The law requires the presidential search to be completely open to the general public.

Because of the law, Parker Executive Search President, Laurie Wilder, says the committee has received a low number of applications for the position, and the best might be waiting till the last second to apply.

Wilder confirms that there are currently 23 applications submitted for consideration. Wilder continued to share her belief about the sunshine state law’s inconvenience in the search process.

“In a public record and public meeting state the number of candidates is typically lower than in other institutions and in other states,” Wilder said.

This is not the first time Wilder has expressed her issues with Florida’s sunshine state law. At past meetings, Wilder has told the committee the law gives many individuals “great pause.” 

“Our biggest concern right now is the open process that is required in the state of Florida,” Wilder told the committee. “That is giving some individuals great pause, and as we have talked to sitting presidents it is obviously a massive concern for them.”

Today, Wilder claimed again to the committee that applicants are concerned with their records being open to the public.

Wilder believes, applicants with strong relationships with their current institutions are nervous to officially submit to the process in fear of losing trust with their institution.

Because of this belief, Wilder has recommended to set the deadline to submit applications as Feb. 15 at 8 a.m., immediately before the committee’s next meeting.

Several committee members shared their criticisms with the extended deadline stating that it would not leave enough time to review the applications. Michael Manglardi, UCF foundation and alumnus, voiced his concerns to Wilder.

“How are we expected to truly evaluate that last minute application if it comes in the morning of the 15th,” Manglardi said. “I know I try to prepare in advance for these things.”

Though committee members voiced their concerns, the application deadline will remain the morning of February 15, just as Wilder wanted.

“This is their careers and the best candidate is going to come in at the last second,” Wilder said.

While Wilder maintains that the sunshine laws negatively impact the university presidential search process, not everyone agrees with her assessment. 

“I’m not convinced,frankly,”  Barbara Peterson, the President of the First Amendment Foundation, said in an article on her organization’s website. “If we look at who has been hired to lead our state universities, over the last however many years, I don’t know that we could do better.”

The next Presidential Search Committee meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. in the Global UCF Building. The committee will be discussing the final applicants and who will be selected as a semi-finalist to replace John C. Hitt.