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Osprey statue and fountain on UNF campus

Candidate Qualifications

The president of the University of North Florida will be a leader on campus, in the Northeast Florida region and in the state of Florida. The University of North Florida seeks an innovative and results-oriented thought leader who possesses integrity and honesty, and exhibits the highest ethical standards. UNF encourages candidates from all professional backgrounds. The University president should possess the academic credentials needed to secure the respect of faculty, staff, and all the stakeholders UNF serves. The successful candidate must be a proven strategic thinker who, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, will collaboratively develop, articulate and execute a vision for the future of UNF and its role in the region with the student experience as a top priority. To support a clear strategy and vision, the next president must be exceptional in securing funding from all possible sources. The next president will build a well-defined academic and research vision that leverages UNF's unique strengths and core values.


  • An inspirational, bold leader who is articulate, accessible and approachable, with a passion for higher education.
  • A caring, supportive and compassionate person who is a good listener.
  • A principled leader who is strategic, creative and innovative.
  • A community-engaged statesman/woman, building relationships and partnerships in the region and beyond.
  • An eloquent advocate for the value of higher education for the public good.
  • A leader who can respond to and lead through change.
  • A leader who respects and protects the environment.
  • A leader who will continue UNF's commitment to the arts, Division I athletics, and unique initiatives.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Proven experience with higher education, preferably in the classroom, or in sustained, meaningful service.
  • Executive-level experience, with a track record of creating forward-thinking strategies and implementing change to carry out and sustain the vision.
  • Experience in a shared governance environment.
  • The ability to cultivate relationships with alumni, volunteers, donors and governmental officials to marshal support for UNF.
  • A demonstrated ability to obtain and develop new funding sources.
  • Strong, transparent communications skills, with the ability to promote UNF's hallmarks and unique niches, with the ultimate goal of elevating UNF to national prominence.

Resource Development

  • The ability to increase resources for the University. This includes working successfully with the Governor, the Legislature and the Florida Board of Governors on funding. The ability to elevate UNF's standing in performance-based funding is key.
  • Strong fundraising skills to grow the UNF endowment.
  • The ability to increase and diversify UNF's research portfolio, and to support and expand scholarly and creative excellence in all areas.

Commitment to Students

  • Student-focused, with a demonstrated passion for higher education. Providing a quality academic experience, both inside and outside the classroom that leads to the success of all UNF students, is a top priority.
  • The ability to enroll, retain and graduate talented and diverse students in a timely manner.
  • The ability to increase and broaden career opportunities for all students and graduates.
  • The ability to increase research, internship, international study and global work opportunities for students.
  • A demonstrated record of developing and enhancing community engagement.


  • Decisive management skills as demonstrated by a history of showing leadership in making difficult decisions with competing agendas and finite resources.
  • A successful record of attracting, retaining and compensating highly qualified and diverse personnel.
  • The ability to excel within the multifaceted landscape of higher education.
  • A deep understanding and appreciation for shared governance through policy, procedures and best practices.
  • A commitment to academic freedom and democratic decision making.
  • A true and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Extensive financial experience working with complex budgets.
  • Demonstrated consensus-building abilities to work with groups such as the UNF Board of Trustees, the Florida Board of Governors, the Faculty Association, students, unions, business partners, community organizations and the leaders in the Northeast Florida region.
  • The desire to embrace new technologies to elevate UNF.

Application Process

The UNF Board of Trustees invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, complete CV, and contact information of at least five references), or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University of North Florida.

Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until final candidates for the appointment are identified. For full consideration, all applications should be submitted prior to February 1, 2018 to:

Porsha L. Williams

Vice President

Parker Executive Search

P 770.804.1996 x109

F 770.804.1917

Submit Application

UNF shall not commit or permit discrimination or harassment on the basis of genetic information, race, color, religion, age, sex, disability, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin or veteran status in any educational, employment, social or recreational program or activity it offers. Similarly, UNF will not commit or permit retaliation against an individual who complains of discrimination or harassment or an individual who cooperates in an investigation of an alleged violation of University Regulation. In exercising these standards, the University will not abridge either free speech or academic freedom based on its context.