UWF’s recent successes highlighted at Board of Trustees meeting

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Photo courtesy of uwf.edu

Cassie Rhame

Staff Writer

The University of West Florida Board of Trustees (BoT) met Wednesday morning and shared exciting university news, including an updated timeline of the search for the new university president.

The search for the new president was only briefly mentioned, but there were a few updates.

BoT Chairman Lewis Bear Jr. said, “We will start taking applications in May and conclude that by the end of August (2016).”

Bear said the search committee will be announced this December, and will immediately begin work finding a suitable candidate. The next president, according to Bear, will be chosen by October of 2016 so that he or she will have time to become familiar with the university. Bear said it is too early in the search for the BoT to say more at this premature stage.

For a look at the new timeline for the presidential search, click here and go to Pages 27-28.

Wednesday’s meeting was a relatively short one, but included a number of positive statistics about the university.

UWF President Dr. Judith Bense started with an official welcoming of UWF’s newest college — the College of Health. The original College of Science, Engineering and Health is now divided into two separate colleges.

“It is a good move … As we all know, healthcare is one of our signature aspects of the Pensacola area,” Bense said. “This is the final piece of UWF’s academic reorganization.”

Bense went on to discuss the increase in UWF’s numbers overall, such as enrollment, which is now up by 2.8 percent over last year. Undergraduate enrollment is up by 2.3 percent, while graduate enrollment is up by 3.6 percent over the 2014-15 school year.

UWF athletics was mentioned a few times at the meeting to recognize its recent successes, including the men’s golf team, which won the Patriot Intercollegiate tournament against all Division I teams on Monday. Bense also shared that the Andrews Institute has agreed to be a medical partner with UWF athletics, which “includes a team physician, medical support, and a gift of $44,000 to UWF’s sports medicine program,” she said.

Women’s golf coach Bryan Clarke presented women’s senior tennis champion Elin Olsson, who is top 10 in the country in Division II, and has been a two-time academic All-American to represent the university.

Olsson, who is from Sweden, said, “I have imagined playing golf for an American university, but playing for the UWF women’s golf program, this has exceeded those dreams. I will say that UWF’s women’s golf is in a great place right now, and the program is only going to get better.”

Olsson then assisted Clarke in presenting the all-sports trophy for women and the all-sports trophy overall for the Gulf South Conference to Bense and chairman Bear.

Bense did mention one recent challenge that UWF has faced. “We have a challenge in the metrics this year… we are going to have a dip,” Bense said. “We don’t know how far we will dip, but we are working very hard and I am optimistic.

“We almost improved too much last year, and I thought I would never say that.”

Board of Trustees meetings are streamed live online. Archived webcasts, as well as minutes and agendas for meetings, can be found here.