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News Clips 09/06/2013
Vice chancellor expected to be named interim chancellor for Florida's State University System
Source: Palm Beach Post, 09/05/13
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By John Kennedy
A high-ranking administrator is expected to take over as interim head of the State University System Board of Governors when Chancellor Frank Brogan leaves next month for a similar post in Pennsylvania.
Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson said Thursday that he will recommend that Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Jan Ignash become interim chancellor when Brogan departs Oct. 1.
The full board is scheduled to meet next week to finalize the move.
“She will help keep the train squarely on the tracks as we move forward on these and other critical system issues,” Colson said.
Ignash joined the Board of Governors last year after serving as chief academic officer for the state of Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board.
She has worked for more than 30 years in education at the state and campus levels, including serving as a professor at the University of South Florida.
Brogan was chancellor for four years, assuming leadership of the university system after serving as president of Florida Atlantic University.
Brogan announced last month that he is leaving to lead the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, overseeing 14 universities and 115,000 students. Brogan was lieutenant governor of Florida under former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Florida has 12 public universities and 335,000 students.
The Board of Governors hasn’t yet begun action on seeking a fulltime chancellor. Colson has said he plans to appoint a search committee following the Thursday board meeting, but there doesn’t appear to be a rush to find Brogan’s successor.
Scott appointments comprise a majority of the 17-member Board of Governors, which will make the decision on a chancellor.
Scott also has interim leaders running the state’s Department of Children and Families and Education Department following the departures of those bosses this summer under the cloud of separate scandals.
The candidate who becomes Brogan’s successor is likely to need his skills as a deft diplomat, balancing the demands of universities seeking higher tuition with Scott’s demand to hold the line on student costs.
This tug-of-war has played out against the backdrop of a system where taxpayer support has fallen 20 percent in inflation-adjusted funding per-student over the past two decades, according to analysis by the university system.
Scott also has made higher education a focus of his administration. He has ridiculed Florida universities for steering students toward undergraduate degrees not easily converted into high-paying careers, instead pushing for heightened emphasis on science, technology, mathematics and engineering programs.
Although restored last spring, the university system also was staggered in 2012 by a $300 million budget cut, even as Scott and the Legislature agreed to expand the system to 12 universities, with the creation of Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland.