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Female student at graduation in a cap and gown smiling with logo Uniquely UNF on the left side

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA

The University of North Florida, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, is seeking its next president to lead with a clear, inspiring vision for the future of UNF. 

 

The University of North Florida is a nationally ranked university in Jacksonville, Florida, located on a beautiful campus midway between downtown and the city’s beaches. UNF offers students small class sizes and individualized attention from faculty, countless opportunities to gain real-world experience while in school, strong job placement, an active student life, Division I athletics, and a welcoming and engaged community. A public institution and member institution of the State University System of Florida, UNF serves 17,000 students. 

STRATEGIC GOALThe UNF osprey fountain with water splashing around it

University of national prominence with North Florida as our catalyst and student success as our mantra.

 

MISSION STATEMENT

Our student-centered mission is to create the next generation of thinkers, leaders, and problem solvers with the knowledge and experience to uniquely change the world.

 

VISION STATEMENT

We will be the higher education nexus where diverse students, faculty, and organizations from around the world collaborate and creatively innovate for the advancement of society.

 

HALLMARKS

  • Small Class Size/Individualized Attention:
    19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio helps ensure student success
  • Transformational Learning Opportunities:
    life-changing experiences outside the classroom — undergraduate research opportunities, meaningful civic engagement and more 
  • Community Focus:
    research and learning aimed at making the community stronger; UNF holds the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a designation held by only 5% of universities in the U.S.
  • Global Perspective:
    UNF study abroad participation ranks in the top 5 among all universities in Florida, giving students a competitive edge in the global marketplace
  • Real-World Experience:
    professionally relevant learning experiences prepare students for the workplace; approximately 90% of seniors engage in real-world experiences before they graduate
  • Post-Graduation Success:
    No. 1 in the State University System in the percentage of graduates employed in Florida in the first year following graduation
Aerial shot of the John A. Delaney Student Union courtyard filled with students

ACADEMICS

Initially designated as an upper division institution for juniors and seniors, UNF first opened its doors to 2,027 students in the fall of 1972. The University was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) in 1974 and is currently accredited by the SACS to award baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. UNF began admitting freshmen in 1984.


The University has developed a wide range of offerings over the years, which include many areas of strategic focus such as healthcare, logistics, advanced manufacturing, water, financial services and technology (STEM). UNF currently offers 64 bachelor’s degrees with 78 areas of concentration, 43 master’s degree with 81 areas of concentration, a specialist degree, and six doctoral degrees with three areas of concentration.


There are six colleges at UNF:

SUPPORTING STATE AND REGIONAL NEEDS

The University of North Florida maintains a strong focus on experiential learning, student research and problem solving, career advising and counseling, faculty engagement, and producing graduates who support Florida’s talent needs and state initiatives. Healthcare is just one example where UNF is having an impact. North Florida is a top destination for quality healthcare, including highly specialized services, and UNF is at the center of this medical ecosystem. UNF MedNexus connects healthcare providers and educators across the region to address Florida’s growing healthcare needs and advance research.

RESEARCH

High-quality scholarship is expected from every tenure-track faculty member at UNF, and the University features an enviable portfolio of basic, applied and translational research activity that in many disciplines enjoys an international reputation. A Carnegie R2 doctoral university, UNF also emphasizes the engagement of undergraduates in research. Many students who receive bachelor’s degrees at UNF graduate having been directly involved in faculty-mentored research — and often as collaborators with faculty on conference papers and published articles. 

 

UNF invests in research activities that are responsive to a wide range of community partners — research that meets local needs while contributing solutions to global challenges. This includes interdisciplinary research on topics such as transportation and logistics, coastal sciences, advanced manufacturing, applied health, and advanced data analytics. Supporting these efforts are 20 centers and institutes and dedicated administrative units that proactively help faculty and students secure the resources needed to conduct impactful research. 

 

UNF’s research standing is improving rapidly. Since 2013-14, the value of external funding awards made to the University has increased by more than 50% (to more than $14 million) resulting in UNF surpassing more than 100 other universities on the NSF Higher Education R&D rankings. External support includes competitive grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Education and the Small Business Administration, among other federal and state agencies. Partnerships with industry account for a growing percentage of externally funded research, anchored by major collaborative agreements with companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Crowley Maritime and Mayo Clinic. Since 2015, research and development spending at UNF has increased 335%, and patented inventions, spinoff companies and licenses on UNF intellectual property have quadrupled.

Two female healthcare workers in scrubs intubating a mannequin while being supervised
Male student with a male professor in a computer lab looking at a computer

RECOGNITION

The University of North Florida consistently receives national recognition and ranks high for quality and value. UNF is increasingly seen as a high-caliber institution and a great place for students, faculty and staff.

  • UNF is nationally ranked at No. 132 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report, having moved from unranked to 140 to 136 to 132 over the past four years. UNF is in the top 100 among nationally ranked public universities in each of the four primary outcome categories tracked by the publication.
  • UNF was ranked in six other top lists by U.S. News & World Report recognizing undergraduate business, computer science, engineering and nursing programs, and listed as a “Top Performer in Social Mobility.”
  • For the seventh consecutive year, UNF received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award and was named a Diversity Champion by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine recognizing the University’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • For the 13th consecutive year, UNF was included among the “Best in the Southeast” by The Princeton Review, where only 143 colleges and universities in 12 Southeastern states make the list.
  • For the 12th consecutive year, UNF was designated one of the most military friendly schools in the nation by Military Friendly, honoring educational institutions nationwide that embrace military students and dedicate resources to ensure success both in the classroom and after graduation.
  • For the 13th consecutive year, UNF has received the Platinum Level Healthiest Companies Award from the First Coast Worksite Wellness Council recognizing the University’s commitment to the health and well-being of the campus community.
  • UNF was named one of the Top 10 Most Affordable LGBTQ-friendly institutions in the U.S. by Student Loan Hero. UNF scored high on the Campus Pride Index that examines LGBTQ acceptance on college campuses based on policies, administrative support, campus community involvement and other factors.
  • UNF ranked in the Top 50 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs list for best online bachelor’s programs. The ranking evaluates graduation rates, faculty credentials and support services. The University also made the list for its online master’s in education program.
  • UNF’s Information Technology Services was the recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for its efforts to protect and keep the University campus digitally safe and secure.

WHO WE ARE

Male student in a UNF t-shirt standing outside a building on campus with his arms wide and his mouth open
Male professor with a female student sitting at a desktop computer looking at the screen and pointing
A male and female older couple in UNF t-shirts at an alumni event both smiling at the camera

STUDENTS

UNF currently enrolls nearly 14,250 undergraduate students and more than 2,400 graduate students. Sixty percent of UNF students are white, 15% are Hispanic or Latino, and 11% are Black or African American. Fifty-nine percent are female. UNF students represent 79 different countries. More than 37% of UNF students come from the Jacksonville area, and about 55% are from other parts of Florida. Nearly 3,300 students live on campus in six residence halls, representing a 93.5% occupancy rate for Fall 2021.

In general, the academic profile of incoming freshmen has continued to rise over the last several years, as has the success of the freshman classes. In 2021, the incoming freshman class had an average high school GPA of 3.92. The four-year graduation rate has risen from 26.2% for the 2010 freshman class that graduated in 2014 to 48.3% for the 2016 class that graduated in 2020.

EMPLOYEES

The University currently employs 660 full-time faculty members, of which 550 have a Ph.D. or terminal degree. Less than 1% of classes at UNF are taught by graduate assistants.

Within the shared system of academic governance, the Faculty Association is concerned with faculty appointment, retention, promotion, and development; academic programs, organization, and standards; academic services and continuing education; and such other matters as may pertain directly to the University instruction, service, and research programs. Decisions reached by the Faculty Association are forwarded to the vice president for academic affairs and then to the president. When approved by the UNF president, the decisions become the policies, practices, and regulations of the University.

In addition, faculty members are represented by the United Faculty of Florida UNF chapter, which serves as the bargaining agent of the faculty. UFF-UNF represents all UNF tenure-line faculty, instructors and lecturers, and visiting professors on all labor-related contract negotiations.

There are nearly 1,200 staff members at UNF. University staff falls into three groups: the Administrative and Professional (A&P), the University Support Personnel System (USPS), and Executive Service.

ALUMNI

An Alumni Advisory Council was created in 1975, with the first official Alumni Association meeting in 1976 with 10 board members. Today, UNF has an active Alumni Association board with 30 members.

Of UNF’s 102,067 alumni, the vast majority live in Florida with more than half in Duval County or in one of the four surrounding counties (Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns). Outside of Northeast Florida, UNF’s largest alumni populations are in Tampa, South Florida and Atlanta, and the most active UNF regional area is Washington D.C.

Area alumni gather monthly for Third Thursday events and at special events to cheer on local sports teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Jumbo Shrimp.

Panoramic view of the UNF Pond

ON AND OFF CAMPUS

Located between the St. Johns River and Intercoastal Waterway, UNF’s 1,380-acre core campus is a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The nature-rich campus includes freshwater lakes, miles of hiking trails and a nature preserve. The university mascot, the osprey, is routinely spotted on campus. 

 

UNF recently received a donation of 1,050 acres of pristine saltmarsh wetlands located along the Intracoastal Waterway and established the William C. Webb Coastal Research Station. The wetlands expand hands-on learning and research opportunities for students, particularly those in the coastal sciences. 

 

Eleven recently constructed or renovated campus buildings have been LEED®-certified, demonstrating UNF’s commitment to green construction and environmental sustainability.

CAMPUS LIFE

Students get involved on campus through more than 200 clubs and organizations and 31 fraternities and sororities. 

 

The UNF campus also includes facilities designed to promote a vibrant campus life. The 150,000-squarefoot Student Union was ranked among “25 Best Student Union Centers” in the nation, one of only two Florida institutions to make the list. The outdoor Osprey Plaza serves as a meeting place for students and is home to Market Days on Wednesdays. 

 

The Student Wellness Complex is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive wellness facility and LEED®-Gold certified building that houses the largest fitness center in Northeast Florida at 27,000 square feet, a 34-foot climbing wall, a 1/8-mile indoor track and several group fitness rooms. The unique building has received several awards from chapters of the American Institute of Architecture, including Outstanding Design for an Athletic Facility and an Excellence in Design Award.

DIVISION I ATHLETICS

The University has participated in the NCAA Division I since 2009-10, and its athletic teams are known as the North Florida Ospreys

 

All 19 intercollegiate sports compete in the ASUN Conference except for swimming and diving, which compete in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (Swimming). UNF men’s teams include baseball, basketball, soccer, cross country, golf, and indoor and outdoor track. Women’s teams include basketball, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, beach and indoor volleyball, and indoor and outdoor track. 

 

Since 2009, the Ospreys have won 48 ASUN Championships, 43 ASUN Player of the Year awards, 34 ASUN Coach of the Year Awards, 21 ASUN Scholar-Athletes of the Year Awards, made 82 NCAA Championship appearances, and have won the River City Rumble against hometown rival Jacksonville University eight times. The Athletic department boasts a 3.46 cumulative GPA from Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. North Florida Athletics has totaled cumulative department GPAs of 3.0 or higher for 20 consecutive semesters.

Ozzie Osprey at a basketball game cheering on the team

Girl standing on a paddleboard in a lake smiling

MOCA Project Atrium filled with colorful geometric art that covers the entire wall

STUDENT GOVERNMENT

The purpose of the University of North Florida Student Government is to represent all student concerns in all universitywide matters while developing and promoting programs and activities of practical value and interest to students. This includes but is not limited to the following: the allocation of the Activity and Service Fee Budget; the evaluation and establishment of student programs; the support and development of student activities, clubs and organizations, publications and services; the representation of concerns for student morale, welfare, responsibility, and integrity; and other activities that pertain directly to students.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

UNF is proud of its Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a prominent national distinction recognizing the University’s vast community involvement and commitment to making a difference. Every day, students and faculty are immersed in community projects, seeking solutions to local problems and working together to make Jacksonville even stronger. As a large public institution in the heart of Jacksonville, the University of North Florida is also an intellectual and cultural hub for Northeast Florida. MOCA Jacksonville and OneJax are two examples of how UNF is making an impact locally. 

 

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, an established downtown museum, became a cultural institute of UNF in 2009. As a result, MOCA works closely with the University to expand learning opportunities for students while providing professional enrichment for faculty and staff. On a programmatic level, MOCA hosts faculty curated exhibitions in the UNF Gallery, as well as classes in its classrooms and auditorium. Moreover, the partnership enables students and faculty to collaborate with visiting artists and scholars, as well as work directly with artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection. As the only contemporary art museum in the region, MOCA serves the community through exhibitions, collections, educational programs and publications designed to enhance an understanding and appreciation of the art, artists and ideas of our time. 

 

OneJax, another institute of UNF, is a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote diversity as the foundation for a strong community. OneJax works to increase respect and improve relationships among people who represent the rich menagerie of religious, ethnic, racial, and cultural groups throughout the community. This partnership with the University has brought numerous benefits to both OneJax and UNF. The University has positioned itself to strengthen its community partnerships to play an even more significant role in Northeast Florida’s conversations about diversity and inclusion.

female UNF grad student holding a diploma at graduation and smiling

FINANCES AND FUNDRAISING

BUDGET

The University’s total operating budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22 is $333 million, of which $203 million is the Education & General (E&G) budget, $78 million is auxiliary funds and student fees, $12 million is contract and grants, and $40 million is financial aid. Of the projected E&G operating budget, approximately $126 million comes from state general revenue and lottery appropriations. Tuition accounts for $77 million or 38% of the operating budget.

The Florida Board of Governors, which governs the operation and management of the State University System’s 12 public institutions, approved a Performance-Based Funding Model in January 2014. The Performance-Based Funding Model evaluates universities on 10 metrics. The model impacts the amount of funding that institutions receive from the state.

UNF FOUNDATION

The UNF Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt entity that provides financial support and counsel to the University and enables it to achieve critical elements of its mission. The Foundation’s dynamic and distinguished board provides leadership in obtaining and managing private funding for the First Coast’s only public university. Gifts to the Foundation enable UNF to fund new programs and enhance existing ones far beyond what is possible using state allocations alone. The University’s accomplishments have been achieved by diligent stewardship.

Through careful planning, maximum benefit is derived from every dollar donated. The Foundation Board is proud of the many scholarships, professorships, programs and community outreach initiatives funded by these gifts.

FUNDRAISING AND ENDOWMENT

The UNF endowment includes funds for scholarships, fellowships, professorships and center/program support. At the end of the last fiscal year, the endowment portfolio reached a historic high of $149 million. Of the 12 institutions in the State University System, UNF ranked third in endowed portfolio return in fiscal year 2021.

During FY 2021, more than $17 million was raised in private support. UNF’s last multi-year campaign, The Power of Transformation, was the most successful in UNF’s history, raising $130 million. Over 27,000 donors contributed to the campaign, including alums, corporations, foundations, and friends. UNF’s previous successful campaign Access to Excellence raised more than $100 million.

GOVERNANCE

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

The Florida Board of Governors has constitutional authority for the entire State University System and is comprised of 17 members, 14 of whom are appointed by the Florida Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate for a term of seven years. The remaining members include the Chair of the Advisory Council of Faculty Senates, the Commissioner of Education and the Chair of the Florida Student Association.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

The UNF Board of Trustees is responsible for cost effective policy, implementing and maintaining high-quality education programs consistent with the University’s mission, performance evaluation, meeting state policy, budgeting and education standards. The UNF Board of Trustees was established in Florida’s Constitution in 2001.

Each university in the State University System has a 13-member board — six members appointed by the Governor and five appointed by the Florida Board of Governors. The remaining two members are the president of the Faculty Association and the president of Student Government.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

UNF is committed to diversity in all its forms and is a place where different cultures and perspectives are welcomed, appreciated and incorporated into the fabric of university life. The University of North Florida strives to be an environment rich and fluent in the exchanges of ideas, experiences and outlooks — a place where students and faculty learn from one another and value differences. In 2020, UNF appointed its first Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, responsible for advising leadership on diversity, inclusion and racial equality pertaining to strategies and policies, learning and research, community relations and the recruitment, retention and admission of faculty, staff and students of color.

STATEMENT OF UNITY

UNF stands in unity and solidarity with all members of our community, regardless of genetic information, race, color, religion, age, sex, disability, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or veteran status. We are proud of the diversity in our students, faculty, and staff.

We strongly condemn acts of hate and bigotry as antithetical to the university’s core values of mutual respect and civility. Actions and words that seek to deny human beings full membership in the broader moral community on the basis of arbitrary characteristics are intolerable. We stand opposed to violence in language or in action, and we see these as a threat to the mission of UNF as a public university that is committed to intellectual and cultural growth and civic awareness.

We pledge to stand with and for those who are the most vulnerable members of our community and to take actions that help our students and fellow employees feel safe and know that they are safe. We affirm UNF’s unreserved commitment to student success within a diverse, supportive campus culture. We seek to embody the ideals of a free and democratic society, and we fully support and value each member of our community.

ABOUT JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA

At 875 square miles, Jacksonville is the largest city (in landmass) in the contiguous U.S. The city boasts the most expansive urban park system in the U.S. with more than 80,000 acres of parkland including two national parks, seven state parks and more than 400 city parks. With a cost of living below the national average, the Jacksonville area provides residents an exceptional quality of life. The city offers a spectacular climate, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities and sporting events, concerts, numerous arts and cultural amenities, and is home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

 

Over 1.8 million people live in Northeast Florida, and there are more than 95 industry headquarters in the region including Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies, thriving businesses and startups. Jacksonville is growing twice as fast as the rest of the nation and is ranked the No. 7 Best City for Job Seekers by Money magazine.

 

Jacksonville has seen tremendous growth in the financial services industries; 20 major banks, insurance companies, and investment services firms have operation centers in the city. The region is a leader in healthcare with more than 20 hospitals — including one of only three Mayo Clinics in the country and one of five MD Anderson Cancer Network partner members. One in every six jobs is in the Health & Life Sciences sector in Northeast Florida.

 

Jacksonville also has a strong military presence. More than 25,000 active-duty military personnel are stationed in Northeast Florida and over 3,000 skilled veterans choose to stay in Jacksonville each year, providing a skilled, reliable workforce for local businesses.

The Downtown Jacksonville skyline on a bright blue sky day

ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT

The president shall be the chief executive officer of the University and shall be responsible for the entire administration and supervision of the University, subject to the Florida Statutes and Board of Governors’ regulations. Additionally, the president derives authority as delegated by the Board of Trustees.

 

Reporting to the president are the following members of the Cabinet:

  • Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs
  • Vice President of Administration and Finance
  • Vice President of Data Analytics
  • Vice President of Government and Community Relations
  • Vice President for University Development and Alumni Engagement
  • Vice President of Marketing and Communications
  • Vice President and General Counsel
  • Vice President and Chief Information Officer
  • Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
The John A. Delaney Student Union at nighttime with the lake and fountain in front of it

LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AND EXPECTATIONS

In the fall of 2021, the UNF Presidential Search Committee asked the community through a survey and extensive listening sessions to identify short- and long-term priorities for the next president. More than 2,000 members of the community participated. Consensus emerged around the following themes:

VISION

First and foremost, UNF welcomes a new president who can engage the entire community in building on its strategic planning efforts to develop a clear, inspiring vision for the future of the University. The University benefits from a community of passionate supporters who care deeply about the University and its mission. UNF is proud of and wants to continue its remarkable trajectory of growth and success that reflects the dynamic city of Jacksonville — an exciting, diverse, culturally and environmentally rich community in Northeast Florida. One of 12 institutions in the State University System of Florida, UNF plays an important role in contributing to the region and the state, as well as providing access to outstanding education, research, and cultural opportunities that will form the basis of a vision to take the University forward.

 

STUDENT SUCCESS

Fundamentally, the University of North Florida is all about the students – talented, passionate, representing a rich mosaic of backgrounds, nationalities, cultures and interests. Improving engagement and success of these students is among the top three priorities of all constituents. The president must engage the entire community in creative solutions to ensure university resources and efforts are invested effectively in student support programs and infrastructure that will improve student satisfaction and outcomes.

Two staff members in a laboratory looking at a computer with large equipment in the background

DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Equally important as a top priority across all constituents is building and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. The next president will be expected to integrate and advance inclusive excellence within all aspects of the University by accomplishing the following goals in UNF’s Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence 2021-2025:

  • Improve recruitment of students and employees from underrepresented communities, to better align with that of the Northeast Florida community.
  • Create an inclusive university climate to support the retention and success of all students and employees.
  • Provide innovative and transformative learning experiences enabling all students and employees to advance inclusive excellence.
  • Communicate to all stakeholders the University of North Florida’s accomplishments, initiatives and innovations as the University advances inclusive excellence.
  • Lead Northeast Florida in diversity education by establishing and sustaining relationships with businesses and organizations who will partner with the University of North Florida in championing inclusive excellence.

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

As an aspiring Carnegie R2 institution, UNF must continue strengthening its academic profile through recruitment, retention and engagement of outstanding faculty. The faculty seek a productive collaborative relationship with the president built on meaningful two-way communication as they work together to build academic excellence. The University’s existing and emerging strengths in STEM, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and logistics, as well as community engaged scholarship, offer a strong foundation for continued investment and growth. An important area for attention is improving the resource base to provide funding for investment in technology, infrastructure, laboratory and classroom facilities, and faculty and staff compensation.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

UNF deeply values its closely knit community of staff, faculty, students, alumni and friends. People on campus expect their leaders to know them, care about them, and engage them in dialogue about the University’s challenges. Leaders succeed at UNF by building strong relationships and connections with people, exercising authentic listening and communication skills, and establishing a visible presence on campus. 

 

One of the president’s most important responsibilities is to build sustainable, productive relationships with external constituencies including but not limited to the Governor’s office, the SUS and its Board of Governors, the Board of Trustees, leaders and influencers in the Jacksonville community, legislators, and more. It is essential that these groups understand UNF’s unique strengths, its role contributing to the state and region’s well-being, its resource needs, and ways that UNF can better serve the community.

FUNDING AND OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

  • Performance metrics: Like all members of SUS, UNF’s budget is determined by the State in accordance with a set of Performance-Based Funding Metrics. In recent years, UNF has made considerable progress in all metrics. Increases in budget depend on further improvement in persistence and graduation rates. The next president must engage leaders across the University at all levels in finding ways to increase success in these key areas.
  • Resource development: UNF has benefited from the extraordinary generosity of its alumni and community members. Armed with a vision, strategic priorities and enthusiastic commitment to leading the effort, the president can expect strong support for launching the University’s first capital campaign in 10 years. With strategic investment, the University’s success in attracting research grants also offers potential to add to its resource base.
  • Budget: Having experienced a drop in enrollment due to COVID-19 in 2020-21, UNF must grow in order to increase its tuition and fee resource base. The University would benefit from targeted strategic enrollment efforts that tap markets beyond the region as well as nontraditional students through online and other programming. As in all public higher education, every member of the SUS of Florida must find ways to control if not reduce costs or identify alternative sources of revenue besides tuition and fees in order to attract funds for investing in new programs and innovation.
  • Talent management – The new president will want to assess and strengthen the University’s ability to attract and retain its talent. The University would benefit from adopting contemporary best practices in talent management by instilling a culture of recognition, empowerment, and professional growth and development.

INSTITUTIONAL VISIBILITY

The University of North Florida is a relatively young institution that will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. The University competes not only with local private institutions in the Jacksonville area but also with its fellow SUS members in a challenging resource environment. The University must identify ways to raise its profile through promoting its distinctive characteristics, research strengths, and location as well as its substantial contributions to the region, state and nation. The University’s assets and successes are a strong platform for building an aggressive, successful marketing strategy.

A group on a campus tour following a female UNF tour guide who is smiling and walking backwards

The president of the University of North Florida has historically been a leader on campus, in the Northeast Florida region and in the state of Florida. To continue this tradition, the University of North Florida seeks an innovative and results-oriented thought leader who possesses integrity and honesty, and exhibits the highest ethical standards. The University president should possess the academic credentials needed to secure the respect of faculty, staff, stakeholders and the community UNF serves. 

 

The successful candidate must be a proven strategic thinker who, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, is able to develop, articulate and execute a well-defined academic and research vision for the future of UNF and its role in the region. In addition, the next president will demonstrate the following characteristics:

LEADERSHIP

  • Inspirational, bold servant leadership philosophy combined with exceptional communication skills, accessibility, approachability, and a passion for higher education.
  • A caring, supportive and compassionate persona coupled with exceptional listening skills.
  • A principled yet creative and innovative approach to problem-solving.
  • Ability to engage the community and build relationships and partnerships in the region and beyond.
  • Ability to advocate eloquently for the value of higher education for the public good.
  • Respect for and ability to steward the natural environment.
  • A collaborative leadership style that enhances ability to recruit and retain a strong leadership team.
  • Commitment to Division I athletics and the arts.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • A successful track record in administrative leadership of large, complex organizations, ideally in higher education. Understanding of the central role of faculty and students within the university community and personal engagement in the education process.
  • Senior-level experience, with a track record of creating forward-thinking strategies and implementing change to carry out and sustain the vision.
  • 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-focus with a demonstrated passion for higher education; evidence of ability to create a quality academic experience, both inside and outside the classroom that leads to the success of all UNF students.
  • The ability to build and lead an organization that enrolls, retains, and graduates gifted and diverse students in a timely manner.
  • A vision for increasing and broadening career opportunities for all students and graduates and for increasing research, internship, international study, and work opportunities for students.
  • A demonstrated record of developing and enhancing community engagement.

MANAGEMENT

  • 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.
  • Experience engaging an entire organization in facilitating and managing change; a commitment to a talent management philosophy that values and supports the professional growth of employees.
  • 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, and a commitment to academic tradition.
  • 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 and elected officials in the Northeast Florida region.
  • The desire to embrace new technologies to elevate UNF.

 

The University of North Florida sign as you sign into campus with a palm tree and purple flowers in the forefront

APPLICATION PROCESS

The Board of Trustees invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest and complete CV), or expressions of interest to be submitted to WittKieffer, 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. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to March 7, 2022. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal

 

It is important for candidates to note that under Florida’s Sunshine Laws, all application materials are available for public review upon request. 

 

NOMINATIONS AND INQUIRIES CAN BE DIRECTED TO: 

Lucy A. Leske, John Thornburgh, Charlene Aguilar, and Jessica Harrington

PresidentUNF@wittkieffer.com

 

The University of North Florida (UNF) is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all who interact in our community. In building this environment, we strive to attract students, faculty and staff from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and life experiences. While embracing these concepts, including our obligations under federal, state and local law, UNF is equally committed to ensuring that educational and employment decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, admission, hiring, compensation and promotion, are based on the qualifications, skills and abilities of those desiring to work, study, and participate in our community. 

 

To accomplish this intent, UNF shall not commit or permit discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, physical or mental disability, national origin, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic information, AIDS/HIV status, sickle cell trait, 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. 

 

The UNF president has delegated to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion (EOI) the authority and responsibility to receive, investigate, and, where appropriate, attempt to conciliate complaints, or investigate situations or conduct alleged to be in violation of the University’s Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Inclusion Regulation and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment Regulation. Accordingly, any member of the UNF community who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination, discriminatory harassment, retaliation, or sexual misconduct may seek guidance, counseling and/or file a complaint by contacting EOI and Title IX Coordinator, located at Building 1, J.J. Daniel Hall, Suite 1201, 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32224-7699, or call (904) 620-2507 or via 711 Florida Relay for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing or those with speech impairments and/or limitations.

Four people kayaking on the nature preserve on UNF's campus