UCF search committee hears recommendations for new president

By Erin Murray, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018, 5:37 PM EST

The University of Central Florida continues to search for its next president, and for the past few months, it has been taking feedback from students, staff, and the community on the qualities they want to see in a candidate.

There were two ways to give feedback. The first and most popular was a survey set up by UCF that asked three questions pertaining to the position. To date, more than 1,300 people responded before it closed Thursday night.

The second way to give feedback was to attend public forums. On Thursday, the final of those forums was held at UCF’s Medical Campus in the Lake Nona area.

"I think it is very important for the next president to carry on that spirit of access to education," said a faculty member to the 15-person panel who will choose the next president.

Students also shared their views.

"I would like to see a president who is an academic," said Mitchell McElroy, UCF medical student.

It is felt across campus and the community that after 26 years, Dr. John Hitt, the current university president, will be impossible to replace.

"He definitely left behind a legacy, so I think whoever the next president is, definitely has huge shoes to fill," said Heather Kraft, another medical student.

However, many people do admit that a new person will bring in a new era at UCF.

"Somebody with a vision, somebody with a new agenda," McElroy said.

Now the UCF presidential search committee will take all of the input from the forums and surveys and use that in its selection of UCF’s fifth president.

Committee Chairman Dave Walsh said both the surveys and forums are a big help.

"Phenomenally enriching, a lot of depthful comments, a lot of very well thought through comments. A lot of things that I can tell you that the committee, we didn't seem to think about before, so this is exactly what you want in these kinds of sessions," Walsh said.

The committee plans to have the new president ready to take over by June 30, when Hitt will officially retire.

To learn more about the search, click here.