UCF Presidential Search Committee approves financial assessment

Committee member Falecia Williams, president of Valencia's West Campus, looks over the assessment report. UCF Presidential Search Committee meeting, Jan. 10, 2018. Photo by Daniel Ceruti.

UCF is one step closer to its next president as the candidate pool narrows and statistical research and data collection, primarily focused on the president’s salary, approaches an end.

With a little more than six months remaining to submit a presidential candidate to the UCF Board of Trustees, the UCF Presidential Search Committee met on Wednesday at the Fairwinds Alumni Center on UCF’s main campus to discuss its next steps.

Chosen search firm Parker Executive Search President Laurie Wilder kicked off the meeting by discussing the what will happen before any candidates are considered.

“The next 30 or so days is a critically important piece,” Wilder said. “You have all your documentation, you’ll have your listening sessions complete, then you really can drive that market.”

Members of the Presidential Search Committee convene to discuss the next steps in the search for UCF President John C. Hitt’s replacement. Presidential Search Committee meeting, Jan. 10, 2018. Photo by Daniel Ceruti.

A major topic of discussion at the meeting was the recent President Market Compensation Assessment conducted by Sibson Consulting that was approved by the committee. The assessment provides a foundation for the committee to negotiate financial expectations within different peer groups of candidates.  

The peer groups detailed in the assessment are divided into comparison groups, aspirational groups and members of State University System (SUS) institutions. These groups are based on various financial variables such as expected base salary, bonuses and incentives, nontaxable benefits and retirement compensation, among others.

Recurring themes of transparency and inclusivity throughout the search process were mentioned at the meeting, which are factors that could be affected by the recent attention UCF has drawn from its undefeated football team.

“[A] National Championship couldn’t come at a better time for bringing a spotlight to this presidential search and what we’re trying to do at this university,” UCF Vice President of Communications and Marketing Grant Heston said.

Along with candidates from all over the country, internal candidates and candidates from non-academic settings will be considered.

“We are seeing members of the community, as well as faculty members and staff here on campus submitting recommendations to us, and I think that’s very important,” Wilder said. “The search is progressing, and that’s the good news.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer observes the projected image of the presidential search website. UCF Presidential Search Committee meeting, Jan. 10, 2018. Photo by Daniel Ceruti.

The meeting also served as the first open forum, or “listening session,” where the UCF community was able to speak directly to search committee members.

Although attendance was slim with about 10 people in the audience, several people shared their thoughts and expressed their appreciation for what UCF President John C. Hitt accomplished during his tenure.

Other audience members discussed the need for change and adaptation in the future. The transition from UCF football Coach George O’Leary to Coach Scott Frost was alluded to as an example of needed progress.

Another forum was held late Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Cape Florida Ballroom in the Student Union on UCF’s main campus. Two more listening sessions will be held on Thursday — one from 10 a.m. to noon at UCF’s Center for Emerging Media in downtown Orlando and another from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at UCF’s College of Medicine in Lake Nona.

The next Presidential Search Committee meeting, which will include another listening session, is scheduled for Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. at the UCF Global building on UCF’s main campus.