Nationwide Hunt To Help Find Maidiques Successor At Florida International University
Written by Miami Today on November 20, 2008
By Zachary S. Fagenson
The groundwork for a nationwide search of Modesto "Mitch" Maidique’s successor has been laid at Florida International University.
Despite rumors of potential candidates, Chairman of FIU’s Board of Trustees David Parker said nothing is certain until the university undergoes the detailed search process.
"We’ll establish a subcommittee that will suggest a candidate to the full board," he said.
Contributing to that selection will be a presidential advisory committee, comprised of about 15 members from the university community and Miami at large, as well as an executive search firm.
Mr. Parker was unable to estimate the process’ cost but said he will chair the search committee as the board takes bids from headhunters.
While he alluded to several qualities the board will look for in potential candidates, he said they’re seeking someone who can continue Mr. Maidique’s "footprint."
In a previous interview with Miami Today, the outgoing president emphasized the importance of improving the overall quality of FIU’s programs, a task that will be left to whoever takes his place.
"We now [have] the backbone or the structure and the offerings that we need to become a truly great university," Mr. Maidique said. "You’re going to see a dramatic slowdown in the growth of programs and a dramatic increase in the quality of those programs."
Improving programs could be a daunting task during times when the State University System has slashed millions from its budget, limiting student enrollment and capital expansion.
Stephen Trachtenberg, chairman of the education practice at executive search firm Korn/Ferry International, emphasized the importance of having a practical leader regardless of the university’s status.
"A university president has to be able to carry water on both shoulders," he said. "You need somebody who understands the mission and purpose of the university as well as someone who can work with the Legislature and trustees to move the community in a common direction."
One frequently mentioned candidate is former FIU provost Mark Rosenberg, who is slated to return to the university in February as a political science professor after finishing a three-year term as Board of Governors chancellor. Mr. Rosenberg said he’d take FIU’s reins if the board passed them but wasn’t lobbying for the position.
"It’s premature to say anything," he said, though he noted he feels he is qualified for the job.
"That decision is going to be made by the university and the board of trustees."
Mr. Parker, like Mr. Trachtenberg, asserted that the university needs the most qualified president, regardless of where he may come from.
"[An executive search firm] will be able to identify which people in the US are best qualified to be a candidate to become president of a university like FIU," he said. "We know a lot of people in the academic community but there may be ones we don’t know of."