New College of Florida interviews three for vacant presidential position

by | Aug 11, 2023

  • New College of Florida is in its final stage of selecting a permanent president from three candidates: interim president Richard Corcoran, associate professor Tyler Fisher (UCF), and former interim president Robert Gervasi (University of Mount Union).
  • The university received 63 applications, narrowed it to 8 for interviews, and then selected the final three candidates. Corcoran has held the interim role since February.
  • Interviews were conducted prior to Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

New College of Florida entered the final stages of selecting its next permanent president on Thursday evening, with three candidates being interviewed.

The nominees include current interim president Richard Corcoran, who expressed interest in retaining his role, Tyler Fisher, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida, and Robert Gervasi, a former interim president at the University of Mount Union in Ohio. Corcoran has held the interim position since February and has proposed a business plan to guide the institution through a conservative reformation.

After receiving 63 applications, the university shortlisted 8 individuals for the position, subsequently conducting interviews among the chosen applicants. On July 31, Presidential Search Committee Chair Matthew Spalding communicated the final trio of candidates to the chair of the board of trustees. The interview phase was concluded before the recent trustee meeting, with the candidates also scheduled to engage in campus forums to further deliberate their standing for the role.

“The search process which meticulously followed the Board Of Governors regulations, was well planned and excellently carried out to provide a fair review of all applicants and efficiently reveal three great finalists,” said Alan Levine, State University System Board of Governors and New College presidential search member.

In the meantime, Corcoran is slated to act as interim until September 1, 2024, or until the New College selects a permanent president. In his role, he will earn a salary of $699,000 annually alongside $84,000 in housing allowance. Corcoran’s contract also includes a $12,000 automobile stipend and an annual retirement supplement of $104,850.

The salary figure marks a $400,000 dollar increase over New College’s previous president, Pam Okker, who was ousted late last month following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointment of six new Trustees to the university’s board.

During the trustee meeting, university leaders also delivered an overview of its five-year business plan, which sees New College engage in $61 million of deferred maintenance, launch new academic initiatives, and improve campus facilities. Trustees assert that the projects will lead to the recruitment of increasing numbers of students.

“New College will define itself as a luxury brand, the very best of the liberal arts, while also benefiting from the value branding implicit in its status as a public college,” reads the plan. “This is a major shift in the way in which New College describes itself to others and thinks about itself internally.”

Trustees are also working to expand its focus across the United States after Sarasota and Manatee counties supply more than 20 percent of incoming students on an annual basis. The report also states that New College failed to register a single student from 27 states.


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