Glover aloof from UF dean seach


Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 11:27 p.m.

University of Florida faculty who protested budget slashing plans in 2006 are looking for a new leader to move them forward, and perhaps even heal some remaining wounds.

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Sealed in two thick notebooks in Weil Hall, 40 applications for the dean's post at UF's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are waiting to be reviewed. The dean's search, faculty say, offers a new opportunity for a college that has struggled to reduce years of accumulated debt and warred with administrators over scarce resources.

The current applicants - and there could still be more as the search unfolds - hail from all over the world, and several come from universities that UF officials view as peer institutions. Notably absent from the process thus far, however, is Joe Glover, the interim dean who was charged with the task of pulling the college out of debt.

Glover, who declined to be interviewed for this story, has never publicly ruled out pursuing the permanent post. Even so, some aren't too surprised that his résumé isn't anywhere inside those bulky binders.

"I had no expectation that he would be a candidate for the deanship to begin with," said Rick Yost, chairman of the Faculty Senate and a professor in the college. "He came in agreeing to help solve the problems and then wanting to move on."

The problems Glover encountered were plentiful. Glover, whose prior position was in Tigert Hall as UF's associate provost for academic affairs, came into the college at the height of turmoil. Neil Sullivan, who had presided over years of accumulated debts in the college, had recently tendered his resignation. Faculty were up in arms about a so-called "five-year plan" Sullivan introduced, which called for faculty positions to be slashed and two department chairs to be ousted.

Glover, who has been at UF for nearly three decades, is no stranger to controversial jobs. While in Tigert Hall, Glover was the administration's voice in sometimes contentious talks with the faculty union. As an interim provost in 2005, he also had to do what all provosts do: tell people no - sometimes a lot.

David Colburn, a history professor and former UF provost, said he thought Glover would have been a strong choice for the deanship in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Glover is both tough and fair in Colburn's view, but that isn't always the way he's viewed by faculty who don't get what they want.

"When your ox is gored, you don't always see (an administrator's decisions) as fair decisions, and I think that unfortunately colored people's opinions of Joe as a candidate," Colburn said.

Glover, who says he'll have the college back in the black by 2009, already has a job waiting for him in UF's Warrington College of Business, according to officials there. In the fall of 2006, Glover signed an agreement that would make him the business school dean's second-in-command once Andy McCollough, the current senior associate dean of the college, retires.

"We expect him to join us," said McCollough, who plans to step down in May. "(But) if another opportunity presents itself that is more consistent with his professional advancement, then that's what he ought to do and there are no hard feelings here."

There is a sense among some faculty in the college, and within Tigert Hall, that bringing a new dean from outside UF might be the best thing for the college, according to several university officials interviewed for this story. As of late last week, there were only two internal candidates who had applied.

Among the external candidates is Bonnie Yegidis, the former provost of Florida Gulf Coast University. Yegidis, who resigned in November and is now on a one-year sabbatical, stepped down shortly after Wilson Bradshaw was named FGCU president.

FGCU officials said Bradshaw simply wanted to build a new administrative team, but news reports published after Yegidis' resignation noted that she had publicly backed another candidate during the presidential search. Yegidis was a vocal supporter of Karen Holbrook, the former president of The Ohio State University, who also served as UF's provost. Holbrook, who worked with Yegidis when the two were at the University of Georgia, is listed as one of Yegidis' references for the UF job.

Yegidis did not return numerous calls for comment.

Ironically, the two internal candidates at UF were both tied to the five-year plan that caused such controversy, albeit in different ways. Allan Burns was credited as a co-author of the plan. Krishnaswami Alladi was targeted within the plan for removal from his position as chair of the math department, but Alladi retained that position with faculty support.

Both candidates say they're upbeat about the future and ready to put the college on a new path.

Jack Stripling can be reached at 352-374-5064 or Jack.Stripling@gvillesun.com.

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