It’s no secret that 2018 will be a big year – starting with the Knights’ spectacular Peach Bowl victory against Auburn. This spring, we will select our next president.

UCF is in a transformative time, and we each have an opportunity to shape our collective future.

As faculty representatives on the search committee to find UCF’s next visionary leader, we are privileged to carry the faculty voice throughout this process.

As longtime faculty, we remember when UCF was one of higher education’s best kept secrets. Not anymore. We expect this national search to attract leaders from institutions across the country, just as UCF has attracted recent attention from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and U.S. News & World Report.

So much of our success is because of remarkable leadership. After a 26-year tenure, President Hitt has led UCF to become one of the biggest and best universities in the country and fueled increases in enrollment, diversity, degree programs and more.

As UCF Board of Trustees Chairman Marcos Marchena said, we are “looking for someone that can stand on the shoulders of a giant and not only reach for the stars but also grab one.”

Our next president must believe in access and opportunity. They must know that our strength comes from our size and diversity, and that we’re big because we believe lifting the lives and livelihoods of more people results in a stronger society. They must be committed to student and faculty success and in cultivating a 21st-century metropolitan research university that drives positive change across its community.

And, they must help us keep the momentum we’ve built and bring the next big ideas to light.

Our search process is moving quickly. We’ve hired an outside firm, Parker Executive Search, to aggressively recruit candidates, facilitate the process and advise the search committee. To be clear, they do not vote in this process.

Since December, Parker has been speaking with the search committee and individuals at UCF to better understand our culture and the characteristics we’re looking for in the university’s next leader.

The UCF Board of Trustees expects to select our next president for confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors before President Hitt’s last day in office on June 30.

Our first two search committee meetings are available online, and our next committee meeting on Jan. 10 will serve as the first of four listening sessions scheduled either on the main campus, downtown or at the UCF College of Medicine:

  • 10 a.m. Jan. 10: Search Committee Meeting and Listening Session (FAIRWINDS Alumni Center)
  • 2 p.m. Jan. 10: Presidential Search Listening Session (Student Union)
  • 10 a.m. Jan. 11: Presidential Search Listening Session (Center for Emerging Media)
  • 4 p.m. Jan. 11: Presidential Search Listening Session (College of Medicine)
  • We invite you to join us at these listening sessions and share your thoughts on what challenges UCF needs to address in the future, what qualities the next president should have and why someone should want to be UCF’s next president.

    If you cannot attend these sessions, you can share your thoughts with us through an online survey, which will close at the end of Jan. 11.

    We also encourage you to reach out to us directly to discuss either the search process or talk with us about what is important to faculty in our next president.

    We have a big job and big shoes to fill. But, together, we are ready to grab our next star.

    Manoj Chopra and Linda Walters serve as faculty representatives on the search committee to select UCF’s fifth president. Chopra is a Professor of Engineering and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative. He has been with UCF for 24 years and has served on the university’s Board of Trustees and Florida Board of Governors as a faculty representative. Walters is a Pegasus Professor of Biology who has been at UCF for 21 years. She also serves on the UCF Faculty Senate and is the Director of the Faculty Excellence Center for Success of Women Faculty.