Frank Brogan selected as State Chancellor

07/17/09 Seán Kinane
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The board that oversees the state university system chose its new chancellor this afternoon. Florida Atlantic University President Frank Brogan was selected by the Board of Governors after a search committee interviewed the two remaining finalists today at the Tampa Airport Marriott.

Several members of the search committee said that Frank Brogan’s experience in Florida’s education and political climate gave him the edge over former Ohio higher education leader, Rod Chu, the other finalist. Brogan served as Lt. Governor under Jeb Bush, and before that as the state’s Commissioner of Education. Brogan assured the committee that he would not give favoritism to his current school at the expense of the other ten universities.

During his 21-minute opening statement to the search committee, Brogan emphasized the need to work with the state Legislature to secure a multiple-year funding stream for universities and suggested that education funding be considered investments rather than expenditures.

Brogan’s brother died Friday morning. He had to catch a plane out of state, which cut his interview slightly short. Immediately afterward, the search committee unanimously recommended Brogan to the 17-member Board of Governors, who offered him the position later in the day. Brogan is expected to play a transition role as chancellor until assuming full duties. During the interview he assured the search committee he would not overstep his role if hired as chancellor.

In an editorial on Friday, the St. Petersburg Times said, “the fix appears to be in” for Brogan to become chancellor. The editorial continues, “it was [Jeb] Bush and Brogan who pushed the plan to abolish the Board of Regents that oversaw state universities and allow the governor to appoint boards of trustees for each of the universities. The result is that the university system is not really a system at all but 11 fiefdoms engaged in an arms race to add duplicative programs even as they compete for fewer tax dollars.” But during the interview, Brogan downplayed his role.

The other candidate interviewed by the search committee was Rod Chu, chancellor emeritus of the Ohio university system. Chu said that if he were hired, he could, quote, “strap that jet-pack on your backs.”

On Monday the search committee selected four finalists. But in the two days before Friday’s interviews two removed themselves from consideration. That did not surprise the consultant hired by the Board of Governors for the selection process, Bill Funk.

Before the interviews began, Board of Governors chair Sheila McDevitt expressed her frustration at conducting a position search under Florida’s Government in the Sunshine public record laws. She says that people might be leery of applying if they don’t want their current employer to know they are searching for a new position. But Board of Governors member Charlie Edwards defended the process.

If he accepts the position, Frank Brogan will replace John Delaney, President of the University of North Florida, who has served as interim chancellor for more than six months.

Florida Board of Governors

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