Mr. Luther Coggin, Ms. Toni Crawford, Mr. T. O’Neal Douglas, Ms. Donna Harper Gibbs, Mr. Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, Mr. Steven T. Halverson, Ms. Ann Hicks, Ms. Joan Wellhouse Newton, Mr. Hank Rogers, Ms. Carol Thompson, Mr. Kevin Twomey
Mr. James Stallings, Dr. Floyd Willis
Dr. Bill Proctor, Florida Board of Education
Chair Thompson called the meeting to order and asked Ms. Karen Stone to take roll. Following the roll call, Chair Thompson greeted everyone, thanking the attendees for their participation in person and by phone, stating that she understood and appreciated their time constraints. She mentioned the possibility that Dr. Bill Proctor of the FBOE might join the meeting later by conference call.
Chair Thompson asked for motions to approve the minutes from the June 20 meeting as well as the minutes from the conference call of June 25. Trustee Gonzalez moved to accept the minutes from the meeting. Trustee Crawford seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved. Trustee Hicks made the motion to accept minutes from the conference call. The motion was seconded by Trustee Crawford and unanimously approved by the Board.
Chair Thompson asked President Hopkins to speak on the third item outstanding from the previous meeting. President Hopkins stated that a motion from the Board would be necessary in order to legally change the University parking fee requirements. This motion was introduced by Trustee Douglas and seconded by Trustee Hicks. The Board unanimously approved the motion.
As the next order of business, Chair Thompson reassured meeting participants that although this would be the last Board meeting scheduled for the rest of the summer, the Board would continue to work on items raised in previous meetings, including next year’s calendar and feedback from the retreat. She said that there had been a considerable amount of discussion at the retreat regarding the number of meetings to have next year. Some members indicated that they felt monthly meetings would be too frequent, so she suggested bi-monthly meetings held with conference calls scheduled for the alternate months. She pointed out that this format might allow committees an opportunity to get together prior to meetings if they were unable to do so between meetings. Committee Chairs Hicks and Halverson agreed that this would be helpful in establishing times for committee meetings.
Dr. Bill Proctor of the FBOE and Flagler College joined the meeting and was welcomed by Chair Thompson.
The Chair brought up another issue from the retreat, the proposed white paper on the role of the Board, stating that Dr. Serwatka was conducting the necessary research and would provide information on the project. She also said that the Board would work with the interim president on this issue to ensure its completion. Ms. Thompson again assured the Board that items previously discussed (such as the University’s Strategic Plan and School Code Rewrite) would continue to be addressed prior to the next scheduled Board meeting in September.
Moving on to the next item, Chair Thompson informed the group that although only four members had been appointed to the committee, eleven had actually participated. After thorough discussion, the committee came up with three recommendations.
First, the committee decided that it was necessary that the interim president not be declared a candidate for the initial candidate list. They felt that the position of interim president should be one of neutrality and that to include the seated president could discourage other candidates. However, the committee agreed that the interim president would not be ruled ineligible for consideration as a candidate at a later time. Trustee Gonzalez motioned to accept the Transition Steering Committee’s recommendation. The motion was seconded by Trustee Crawford and unanimously approved.
The second recommendation from the committee was to nominate Provost Kline for the position of interim president if he agreed to the conditions previously agreed upon by the committee. Chair Thompson indicated that the discussion with Provost Kline had been very positive and that he completely understood the necessity for this as he had witnessed the process at other institutions. Trustee Douglas initiated the motion to offer Provost Kline the position as interim president to occur subsequent to Dr. Hopkins resignation on August 2. Dr. Kline’s appointment would be effective August 3. The motion was seconded by Trustee Gonzalez. The Board voted unanimously for Provost Kline as interim president. After the group applauded Dr. Kline, he stated his appreciation for the confidence shown him by the Board members, as well as his appreciation for the wisdom and teaching of President Hopkins. He declared his intention to continue his service to the University in whatever capacity would be most helpful.
Chair Thompson offered her thanks to President Hopkins for her years of service, noting that the Board was very proud of the legacy developed by President Hopkins and the three previous presidents of UNF and grateful for President Hopkins’ influence. She agreed with Provost Kline that he had much to build on due to that legacy. The Chair said that she and the Board were looking forward to working with staff, faculty, and students to continue making the University the very best organization possible for the community of Jacksonville and this region.
Trustee Douglas spoke of his positive experience in the meeting with Board members regarding the nomination of Provost Kline. He said that he was very pleased with the unity of purpose expressed by the members that Dr. Kline was the person to become interim president and that the Provost’s presence at today’s meeting made this decision a very comfortable one for the Board.
Chair Thompson addressed the third recommendation, stating that the committee had decided that they should begin the process for screening search firms. She thanked the FBOE for having previously instituted such a process. There are seven listed firms, five of which will be contacted for proposals. Three firms will be chosen to recommend to the Board. One Trustee asked if there was anything that might slow the selection process. Chair Thompson indicated that there could be, referring to Senator Graham’s proposed amendment as a possible deterrent for candidates.
The Chair stated that she, the Transition Committee, and Provost Kline had discussed a number of issues related to his nomination for interim president. Provost Kline did not feel it would be necessary to hire a provost prior to hiring a permanent president, but also said that it would be appropriate to have someone internally to assist with duties usually designated for the Academic Vice President. The Steering Committee decided that this would be a matter best handled by the University management rather than the Board.
The committee also addressed compensation for the interim president. Chair Thompson related their decision, stating that Provost Kline has always been professional and had the interests of the University at heart. As he would be assuming additional responsibilities, the committee felt it appropriate that he receive additional compensation and had suggested an increase in salary to $165,000. Chair Thompson further complimented Provost Kline, stating that he had been very helpful in considering the options available were he not chosen as the permanent president and had been thoughtful about how to refrain from setting a precedent that would be hard to return from. She said that various options were explored with Dr. Kline including the possibility of a return to the position of Provost or to a faculty position so that no one would later be uncomfortable should any of these options occur. The motion to increase Provost Kline’s salary to $165,000 was made, seconded and approved unanimously by the Board.
Chair Thompson again expressed appreciation for the professional manner with which Dr. Kline had conducted himself. She then asked if Dr. Proctor was still on the line and stated that this recommendation would be forwarded to the FBOE for ratification.
Trustee Gibbs suggested that, in the future, meeting exhibits be lettered or numbered for easier access and Chair Thompson agreed.
One Trustee asked when the proposals would be presented to the Board and the Chair responded that the proposals would probably not be presented until the meeting in September, if then.
The last item discussed was the reception to celebrate the work of President Hopkins, which will be held at UNF, in the new Fine Arts Center, on Wednesday, July 31 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Chair Thompson expressed her appreciation for the help of Dr. Allaire and Ms. Anthony in setting up the reception and encouraged the participants to add the reception to their calendars. The following Friday, August 2 will be the commencement ceremony over which President Hopkins will preside. Chair Thompson thanked everyone for working so diligently through a particularly hot and difficult summer and the meeting was adjourned.
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