Presidential Search

New College of Florida, the state's Honors College of Florida and the nation's second-ranked public liberal arts college, is conducting a national search for its next president.

View President Leadership Profile

presidential candidate feedback surveys

View Candidates’ CVs and Cover Letters

The five candidates for New College president have completed their on-campus visits and interviews. Videos of their mini-class presentations and in-person meetings with faculty and staff are available below. Please also complete the feedback survey for each candidate by midnight April 14, 2021. Survey results will become a critical data point in the selection of the top-ranked candidate at the Board of Trustees meeting on April 20, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. 

 

Dr. Jane Fernandes

 

Dr. Patricia Okker

 

Dr. Rhonda Phillips

Dr. Alan Shao

 

Dr. Michael Sosulski

 

Presidential Search Documents

To contact the Presidential Search Committee, email: presidentialsearch@ncf.edu

online survey results

In addition to online forums in December, WittKieffer collected responses via an online survey to the following questions:

  • What three words best describe the New College experience?
  • If you could change one thing about New College, what would it be?
  • Fill in the blank:  Under the right new president, on January 1, 2031 New College will ______.
  • What is the most important single reason why someone should want to be the president of New  College?
  • Fill in the blank:  If there is one thing that I wish people knew about New College, it would be _______.

View Survey Results

 

Alumni Association Board Statement on Presidential Search

Messages from Search Committee Chair

Dear New College Community,

During the past three days, the Presidential Search Committee conducted Zoom interviews with 12 candidates who applied to serve as the next president of New College of Florida. After an extensive review of qualifications as compared to the leadership profile, the committee identified five candidates for invitation to campus between March 29th and April 9th for further interviews. There will be opportunities for candidates to interact in person and by Zoom with members of the New College community. The five candidates are:

Jane Fernandes, President (on sabbatical) and Professor of English, Guilford College

Patricia Okker, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of English, University of Missouri

Rhonda Phillips, Inaugural Dean, Honors College, and Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University

Alan Shao, Dean, School of Business, Interim Vice President for Corporate Partnerships, and Professor of Marketing, College of Charleston

Michael Sosulski, Provost and Professor of German, Wofford College

You may view their cover letters and CVs on the Presidential Search website. A schedule for candidate interviews will be posted as soon as it is available. Thank you for your patience and appreciation for how difficult logistics will be to plan during COVID precautions.

To collect your direct feedback after campus visits, a survey will be posted on the Presidential Search web page allowing you to give input into how closely you feel each candidate fulfills the nine requirements of the Leadership Profile. Your input will be summarized and provided to the Board of Trustees when they convene to select the next president on or before the Board meeting at 1:30 p.m. on April 20, 2021.

For further updates, check our Presidential Search web page or email questions and suggestions to PresidentialSearch@ncf.edu. Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of this presidential search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida

Dear New College Community,

Next week is an important one in our search process for the next President of New College.  The Search Committee interviews 12 applicants March 8th-10th, and on March 11th selects three or more candidates for on-campus interviews March 29-April 9th.  Zoom Webinar links for Search Committee interviews may be found on the Presidential Search web page.  The candidate interview schedule is also posted on this web page. Please note there have been some adjustments to times for each day.

What to expect during the first interviews?  The interviews will last about an hour each and will include one prompt for each of the nine themes developed by the campus community in the Leadership Profile.  The format will be Zoom Webinar allowing the Zoom panel to focus on the candidate and the committee members.  For your convenience, the Leadership Profile and interview questions are posted on the Presidential Search web page.

How can you participate in the first interviews?  All are welcome to attend.  While attending so many interviews is daunting given busy schedules, I encourage you to tune in whenever your day allows.  Keep in mind that the Zoom Webinar format enables attendees to see and hear candidates and committee members as panelists. The  Zoom Webinar format does not enable panelists to see and hear attendees. 

What happens after the first interviews?  Three or more candidates will be invited to campus to interact directly with members of the New College community from March 29th-April 9th.  A Zoom interview will also be arranged for those unable to attend in person.  To collect your direct feedback, a survey will be posted on the Presidential web page allowing you to give input into how closely you feel each candidate fulfills the nine requirements of the Leadership Profile.  Your input will be summarized and provided to the Board of Trustees when they convene to select the next president on or before the Board meeting at 1:30 p.m. on April 20, 2021.

For further updates, check our Presidential Search webpage or email questions and suggestions to PresidentialSearch@ncf.edu.  Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of this presidential search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida

Dear New College Community,

I am delighted to report that the search for the next President of New College of Florida is yielding strong interest among a broad range of highly qualified applicants.  New College is well-known and highly respected in higher education circles.  One applicant expressed my feelings exactly, “This is an opportunity of a lifetime!”

Many thanks to the New College community for referring 120 nominations.  Our search firm, WittKieffer, has accepted more than 60 applications and is in dialogue with more than 90 interested educational leaders. We expect to receive many more applications by the deadline of February 28, 2021.  Please note, that we will continue to accept applications up until the time the Board of Trustees makes an appointment sometime in April.   

What happens from here?  Here is the schedule as it currently stands.  Please check the Presidential Search web page for Zoom links and updates.

  • On Monday, March 1st, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm, the Search Committee selects applicants for first interviews
  • On Monday, March 8th, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm, the Search Committee interviews applicants.
  • On Tuesday, March 9th, 8:30 am-12:30 pm, the Search Committee interviews applicants.
  • On Wednesday, March 10th, the Search Committee interviews applicants.
  • On Thursday, March 11th, 8:30 am-10:30 am, the Search Committee selects candidates for on-campus interviews.
  • March 29th-April 9th  Reserved dates for on-campus face-to-face interviews.  (There will be online viewing for those not able to attend in person.)\
  • April 12th-30th, Board of Trustees selects the top candidate for contract negotiations. 

For further updates, check our Presidential Search webpage or email questions and suggestions to PresidentialSearch@ncf.edu. Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of this presidential search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida

Dear New College Community,

We move to the active recruitment of worthy applicants in the search for our next president.  If you wish to bring a potential applicant to the attention of our search firm WittKieffer, please do so as soon as possible at NCFPresident@wittkieffer.com.   

We are placing digital ads in Asians in Higher Ed, Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Jobs, HigherEdJobs.com, Hispanic Outlook, Inside Higher Ed, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Women in Higher Education, American Association of University Professors, American Conference of Academic Deans, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, National Association of College and University Business Officers and National Collegiate Honors Council.   

Further, our search firm WittKieffer is tapping its extensive network of academic leaders to personally reach out to those who might be a match for the qualities we seek.  They will be focusing intensively on engaging promising applicants over the next six weeks.  

The next Search Committee meeting is listed below.  You are warmly invited to join us.

Presidential Search Committee
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Zoom link:  https://ncf.zoom.us/j/94814314746

I regret to announce the resignation of Search Committee member Dr. Emily Heffernan.  She is no longer able to serve due to new demands on her time attendant with her appointment as Dean of Studies.  (Congratulations Dr. Heffernan!)  Dr. Miriam Wallace, professor of English and Gender Studies and Chair of the Humanities Division, joins the Search Committee to fill the vacancy.

In early March, the Search Committee plans to interview top applicants with the goal of identifying at least three candidates for on-campus interviews at the end of March or beginning of April.  

For further information and updates, check our Presidential Search webpage or email your questions and suggestions to PresidentialSearch@ncf.edu.  Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of this presidential search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida

Dear New College Community,

Greetings for the New Year!

Over 250 students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, directors, and community members provided input as to the qualities we seek in our next president through forums, surveys, and interviews.  The results of the online survey are posted at NCF-President-Constituent-Survey-Results-01.04.21.pdf  Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking contributions. 

The search dirm WittKieffer has applied your input into the preparation of a Leadership Profile that conveys our collective view of the opportunities and challenges with which we charge our next leader.  This is an important recruiting tool to attract the kind of candidates we seek.  The Leadership Profile is under review at two meetings this week which you are welcome to attend.

Presidential Search Committee
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Zoom link:  https://ncf.zoom.us/j/92463240373

New College of Florida Board of Trustees
Friday, January 8, 2021, at 10:00 AM
Zoom Link:  https://ncf.zoom.us/j/95360999022
Meeting ID: 953 6099 9022

Next steps in the process include posting ads in a broad variety of outlets in higher education.  Perhaps even more importantly, our Search Firm WittKieffer  will also conduct personal outreach to prospects who meet our criteria.  You may refer candidates directly to WittKieffer at  NCFPresident@wittkieffer.com.  We expect to focus very intensely on recruiting applicants over the next two months.  In early March, the Search Committee will interview about a dozen of the top applicants to present at least three candidates for on-campus interviews at the end of March or beginning of April. 

For further updates, check our Presidential Search webpage or email questions and suggestions to PresidentialSearch@ncf.edu.  Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of this presidential search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida

Thank you for your understanding for this short notice in this next step in our presidential search.  The holidays have foreshortened our available time for this request.  I hope you will receive it in the spirit of inclusiveness with which it is intended. You are warmly invited to participate in offering your thoughts on the qualities we seek in our next president in Zoom forums as scheduled below.  Yes, the dates are coming up quickly!  We are attempting to ease the inconvenience of the short notice by affording several times for Zoom forums below.  You are welcome to attend any forum.  In addition to the forum, we offer an online survey.  Everyone is free to offer their input through Zoom forums or the online survey or both.

  • Staff Forum: Wednesday, December 9, 2020,  1 pm-2 pm
  • Faculty Forum: Monday, December 14, 2020, 11 am-noon     
  • Student Forum: Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 1 pm-2 pm
  • Open Forums: Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 9 am-10 am AND Thursday, December 17, 2020, 11 a.m.-noon                                             

How will the forums work?  A Search Committee member will moderate each forum with a list of what we intend to be thought-provoking prompts. To give you time to think about your input, please view the questions.

How will the survey work?  Complete the online survey. The deadline for completing this survey is January 4, 2021.

How will your input be utilized in the search?  Our consultant Witt Kieffer will record each forum, recap survey results, and present these to the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees in early January.           

Thank you for devoting your time to this effort during the busy holiday season. 

Stay well and may your days be merry and bright.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida

Preparations for launching the search for our next president are moving along quickly. December is an important month as we will be asking the New College community to offer input on the type of leadership you feel is needed for our future. We will be announcing soon how students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members may participate in virtual forums and online surveys to help craft our leadership statement. The success of our search greatly depends on our clarity in describing the type of leadership we seek. Please give this deep thought. I look forward to our dialogue about the future you envision.

To date, other efforts include the following:

  • New College Student Association President Sofia Lombardi held an NCSA Town Hall to seek student input on the Presidential Search Thursday, November 19, 2020. Several Trustees and Search Committee members attended.
  • New College selected the search firm WittKieffer to assist us in recruiting and vetting a pool of qualified candidates for president. One of the top firms in the country, WittKieffer has conducted over 100 successful presidential searches in higher education in the last five years alone.
  • Board of Trustees meets Monday, December 7, 2020, at 3 pm to discuss compensation study results compiled by our search firm. The study will help frame the Board’s decision on the salary and benefits we can offer a prospective president. All are welcome to attend. The Zoom link is: https://ncf.zoom.us/j/91939156564

The Search Committee will meet Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 4 pm to plan methods and timeframes for each step in the search including a process for collecting input from the campus community. All are welcome to attend. The Zoom link is: https://ncf.zoom.us/j/95173844705 Meeting ID: 951 7384 4705

To send questions or suggestions, email PresidentialSearch@ncf.edu. Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of this presidential search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida

We have taken the first step in the important process of finding the next president of New College following Dr. O’Shea’s retirement next year. As the chair of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees, I have appointed a search committee with representation from students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, Foundation directors and the community.  The search committee also includes a liaison from the Board of Governors State University System.  In addition to myself as chair, the committee includes:

  • Ron Christaldi, Attorney and Vice Chair of the New College Board of Trustees
  • John Cranor, Past Chair of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen
  • William C. Dudley, Former President/CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY
  • David Harvey, Chair of the Faculty Senate and Professor of History at New College
  • Emily Heffernan, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at New College
  • Sarah Hernandez, Associate Professor of Sociology & Latin America and Caribbean Studies at New College
  • Alan Levine, Member of the Board of Governors State University System of Florida
  • Sofia Lombardi, President of New College Student Association
  • Michael McPherson, Former President of the Spencer Foundation and Macalester College
  • Dwayne Peterson, Director of the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity at New College
  • Sharon Landesman Ramey, Member of New College Foundation Board of Directors
  • Mona Rankin, Past Chief of Staff at SUNY-Old Westbury
  • Felice Schulaner, Former Chair of the New College Foundation and Board of Trustees
  • James B. Stewart, Professor Emeritus and Former Vice Provost for Educational Equity at Penn State University

As the search committee, we are charged with engaging worthy applicants and bringing three final candidates to campus for visits and interviews. This process includes the development of a leadership statement with input from the New College community.  To assist our efforts, we will procure a search firm to recruit outstanding applicants from across the country.

Every search committee meeting will be publicly noticed. The Board of Trustees has set up a Presidential Search webpage where you can find updates, schedules, meeting materials, and documents. You can also email questions and suggestions to PresidentialSearch@ncf.edu. Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of our upcoming search.

Mary Ruiz
Chair, Board of Trustees
New College of Florida.

The announcement by Dr. Don O’Shea of his intention to retire as our President by the end of this academic year is a fitting time to express gratitude for his vision of an expansive future for New College. In choosing his successor, our task is to bring the future to realization. We each have a role in this process—students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, and community. The search for our next President is a collaborative one with many opportunities for direct involvement.

Searching for Applicants: This is an opportunity for everyone to participate in the search. It is not too early to alert those you feel suited to the position of the coming search. In the weeks ahead, we will secure a search firm to launch a national campaign for recruiting and guiding interested applicants in the process.

Screening of Applicants: Representatives from students, faculty, alumni, Foundation Directors, Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, and community will serve on a search committee assisted by a search firm. The Board of Governors will appoint a liaison to serve on the Search Committee. The role of the search committee is to engage worthy applicants leading to campus visits, interviews and discussions by top candidates. As Chair of the Board of Trustees, I will chair the Search Committee and will soon announce the appointees who accept this responsibility. Direct reports of the President may not serve on the Search Committee.

Campus Visits: Finalists will be invited to campus to interact with students, faculty, staff, alumni, foundation directors, trustees and community. These visits have two purposes. One is to convey to candidates why New College is an attractive opportunity for a visionary leader. The other is to receive input from campus and community on the suitability of candidates.

Appointment of President: The Board of Trustees will review input from the campus and the Search Committee to negotiate with a top candidate for acceptance of the position. Once negotiations are completed, the Board of Trustees and the successful candidate will present to the Board of Governors for confirmation of appointment.

We have some demanding preparation to do before we begin. We must secure a search firm through a formal procurement process. The search firm will then assist us in identifying the qualities we seek in a leader. This will be another opportunity for all members of our campus to engage in the process. From this input, the search firm will propose a national campaign strategy.

To keep everyone informed, the Board of Trustees has set up this webpage to post updates, schedules, meeting materials, and documents. Meetings will be publicly noticed. You can also email PresidentialSearch@ncf.edu to submit questions and suggestions. Your active engagement is a welcome and essential part of our upcoming search.

Mary Ruiz

Chair, Board of Trustees New College of Florida

Presidential Search Committee Members

To contact the Presidential Search Committee, email: presidentialsearch@ncf.edu

To contact the Search Consultant WittKieffer, email: NCFPresident@wittkieffer.com

 

MARY RUIZ – Chair

Mary Ruiz is Chair of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees.  She is CEO of Ruiz Strategic Advisors and an experienced healthcare Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer with a specialization in strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, business development, government relations and joint ventures.  Ms. Ruiz is a founding President of the New College Alumni Association.

M.B.A. University of South Florida
B.A. New College of Florida

 

RON CHRISTALDI – Vice Chair

Ron Christaldi is Vice Chair of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees.  He is a business lawyer representing clients in complex transactions and litigation, and the President and CEO of the public affairs firm Shumaker Advisors Florida. Mr. Christaldi is a past-chair of the Tampa Bay Chamber.

J.D. & M.A. Florida State University
B.A. New College of Florida

 

JOHN CRANOR

John Cranor is a US Army veteran who has held senior executive positions with General Mills, Wilson Sporting Goods, Pepsi Cola North America, Taco Bell, KFC Worldwide and Long John Silvers.  Most recently he was Chairman of the Board of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.  Mr. Cranor currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Plymouth Harbor and the Financial Advisory Board of the Sarasota School Board.

MBA Harvard University
B.A. New College of Florida (charter class)

 

WILLIAM C. DUDLEY

Dr. William C. Dudley is a Senior Research Scholar at the Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies at Princeton University and a member of the Group of Thirty and the Council on Foreign Relations.  From 2009 to 2018, Dr. Dudley was the 10th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  Earlier, he had a long career in the financial services industry, including ten years as the chief US economist at Goldman Sachs where he was a partner and managing director.

Ph.D. University of California Berkeley
B.A. New College of Florida. 

 

DAVID HARVEY

Dr. David Harvery is Professor of History and Chair of the Faculty at New College of Florida, where he has taught since 2000.  He is a statutory member of the New College of Florida Board of Trustees. Dr. Harvey is the former chair of the Division of Social Sciences and teaches a range of courses in modern European history and has sponsored dozens of theses, tutorials, and independent study projects in related fields.  A specialist in French cultural history, he is the author of three books, about a dozen articles, and over a hundred book reviews. 

Ph.D. and M.A. Princeton University
B.A. Rice University 

 

MIRIAM L. WALLACE

Dr. Miriam L. Wallace is Professor of English and Gender Studies at New College of Florida; she has been on the faculty since 1995. Currently Chair of the Division of Humanities, she is founding faculty in the Gender Studies Program and has been its Director multiple times. She was awarded an NEH College Teacher Fellowship for her book on 1790s political fiction and is editor for Bucknell University Press’s Transits: Literature, Thought and Culture 1650-1850 series. She served on fellowship selection committees with the NEH and ASECS (American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies), and as co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus for ASECS. Dr. Wallace has been an external reviewer for multiple tenure and promotion cases and for the English department at another COPLAC (Council of Public Liberal Arts) university.

Ph.D. and M.A. University of California, Santa Cruz
B.A. with Distinction, Swarthmore College

 

SARAH HERNANDEZ

Dr. Sarah Hernandez is an Associate Professor of Sociology & Latin America and Caribbean Studies at New College.  Since her faculty appointment in 1996, she has served on the Provost Advisory Committee, Faculty Appointments and Status Committee, Provost Search Committee and Student Academic Status Committee. She currently serves as Co-Director of the Initiative for Diversity and Equity in Academics and as representative of the New College faculty to the Advisory Council of Faculty Senates. 

Ph.D. and M.A. University of Michigan
B.A. Earlham College

 

ALAN LEVINE

Alan Levine is Chairman, President & CEO of Ballad Health. He is a Member of the Board of Governors for the State University System of Florida. Prior to his role at Ballad Health, Mr. Levine was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mountain States Health Alliance. His public service career includes serving as Senior Health Policy Advisor and Secretary for Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal and as the Senior Health Policy Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Jeb Bush prior to being appointed by Governor Bush to be Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration.

M.A. and B.A. University of Florida

 

SOFIA LOMBARDI

Sofia Lombardi is the New College Student Association President and a statutory member of the Board of Trustees. Last February, she organized a group of students to travel to Tallahassee to oppose a House bill that proposed to merge New College with the University of Florida. Sofia is a second-year student pursuing a double Area of Concentration in History and Spanish.  After New College, she plans to attend law school with the goal of becoming a public interest lawyer.

 

MICHAEL MCPHERSON

Dr. Michael McPherson has served as president of the Spencer Foundation and Macalester College. A nationally known economist whose expertise focuses on education and economics, McPherson spent the 22 years before his Macalester presidency as professor of economics, chairman of the economics department, and dean of faculty at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  He was a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the president of the board of overseers of TIAA-CREF.

Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. University of Chicago

 

DWAYNE PETERSON

Dwayne Peterson is the Director of the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO) at New College of Florida. He and his team lead the College’s efforts to integrate career planning and preparation into the academic experience for all students. Mr. Peterson has held professional roles at Georgia College and State University, the University of Florida, the University of North Florida, and the University of South Florida. He is a certified career development facilitator and represents New College as a member of the Florida Career Centers consortium.

M.S. Miami University
M.B.A. University of North Florida
B.A. University of South Florida

 

SHARON LANDESMAN RAMEY

Dr. Sharon Landesman Ramey is a member of the Board of Directors of the New College Foundation. A Research Professor and Distinguished Research Scholar at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech, she is recognized for her contributions in the field of human development and the role of early experience and interventions on later developmental outcomes.

Ph.D. The University of Washington Seattle
B.A. New College of Florida

 

MONA RANKIN

Mona Rankin recently retired as Chief of Staff at State University of New York, College at Old Westbury. She served in other higher education leadership positions at City University of New York and Florida International University. She is among the founders of the Harlem Renaissance Education Pipeline, a Cradle to Career Collective Impact Initiative in Harlem, NY. She is a past participant and presenter in Florida International University’s Executive Leadership Enhancement Program. She serves on the board of the West Coast Black Theater Troupe.

M.A. and B.A. University of Illinois Chicago

 

FELICE SCHULANER

Felice Schulaner is the former Chair of the New College Foundation and the New College Board of Trustees.  Previously she was senior vice president of human resources for Coach Inc., a multibillion-dollar global accessories company.  She is currently a Board member for the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and has also served on the boards of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida and the Visible Men Academy.

B.A.  New College of Florida

 

JAMES B. STEWART

Dr. James B. Stewart is Professor Emeritus at Penn State University who also served as inaugural Vice Provost for Educational Equity and Director of the Black Studies Program. He has authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited eleven monographs and has published over seventy-five articles in Economics and Black Studies professional journals. He has served as President of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and the National Economic Association.

Ph.D. Notre Dame
M.A. Cleveland State University
B.A. Rose Hulman Institute of Technology