NWFSC Trustees Begin Presidential Search Process; White Announces Retirement
NICEVILLE, FL - The process of searching for a new president of Northwest Florida State College has begun, as the college's board of trustees approved a process for developing a profile of the college and desired attributes for the school's next president, and also approved the responsibilities and structure of a presidential search advisory committee as well as a code of ethics for the committee.
Trustees discussed the search process and related documents for the majority of their September 15 business meeting, following a presentation by a Dr. John Pickleman, a consultant from Academic Search, Inc., a professional firm from Washington D.C. retained by the college to coordinate the search process.
Pickleman also presented trustees with a proposed timeline to guide the search and established an initial goal to have a new president potentially report for duty in July 2010, prior to the start of the next academic year. ''Our job is to help the trustees lay the foundation for a successful presidency that will carry this college into the future - not just serve as a national recruiter for qualified candidates,'' said Pickleman who noted that the first step in the process, focus groups and opportunities for input from the faculty, students, alumni, business leaders and the community, was vital to a successful search.
Under the consultant's direction the college will host forums and provide an online method for people from all constituencies to register their views about the college's future needs and priorities, as well as the desired characteristics and talents for the next president. As part of the process, the college will soon launch a presidential search web site that will keep the community apprised of the search process.
Board members agreed in principle to a September 2009 to July 1, 2010 timeline for the entire process, but made it clear that the timeline would be extended if needed to ensure that the best possible national-level pool of diverse applicants could be recruited for consideration by trustees.
Trustees authorized Academic Search as their consultant for the presidential search process at their August 31 meeting noting that the same firm is in charge of assisting Florida State University in its current presidential search and has a track record of more than 186 successful presidential searches in the last five years for universities such as the Citadel, Texas A & M, Mercer University, Florida Southern College, DePaul University, University of Wisconsin, Washington and Lee University and more.
Also at the meeting, the college's interim president Dr. Jill White formally announced she intends to retire effective February 28, 2010 following 13 years at the college and 44 years in education. White had previously informed trustees that the requirements of the state's DROP retirement program meant she needed to retire in early to mid 2010. The trustees also briefly discussed a prior recommendation from Dr. White that the college hire an outside interim president to lead the college following her retirement and until a permanent president is in place.
In other action, trustees also approved:
- Approval of the NWFSC Collegiate High School Annual report, that noted the successes of the innovative charter school which has completed 9 years of operation and ranked fourth among all high schools in Florida in the state's school grading system and first in Florida among all charter schools. Trustees also approved a 15 year contract extension for the school that was previously approved by the Okaloosa County School Board for the school to continue its charter with the district through 2027. - Approval of various construction change orders related to finalizing construction of the college's new center in South Walton County, with a new completion date anticipated by the end of October, 2009. The college plans to begin classes and activities at the South Walton Center, the college's seventh area location, in January 2010.
- Approval of two competitive bids, $197,677 and $86,302, to replace aging electrical switch gears which control the electricity for the entire Niceville campus. The college's architect, David Alsop, noted that parts are no longer made for the 40-year-old gears and that the replacement work will occur during the upcoming Christmas holiday break to avoid disruption of campus activities.
- Reallocation of $310,000 of the college's PECO state allotment (Public Education Capital Outlay), originally designated for college-wide renovation and repairs, to reimburse state PECO funds disbursed for a college Emergency Response Workforce Center in Destin. The college trustees indicated that as the funds were allocated from PECO monies that ''reimbursement is most appropriately made with PECO funds'', and while there would be an impact on the college, it would have the least effect on students or the college's programs and services. Trustees also reiterated that the funds had been spent in good faith for an approved state project.
- Approved an increase in the hourly pay of work-study students employed by the college to $8 per hour from $7 per hour.
- And, various other items related to the college and the Collegiate High School.
The next regular business meeting of the college's trustees is set for November 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the College Mall Gallery on the Niceville Campus. Trustees are the governing board of the college with authority over all personnel, finance and programs of the college.