After 17 years of serving as the president of Santa Fe College, Jackson Sasser declared his upcoming retirement in February 2020.
He said he expects one thing from the new president: “everything.”
Since the announcement in January, over 60 applicants from all over the country have rushed to bid for his position — and only seven are left standing. These semifinalists were chosen by Santa Fe College’s 18-member Presidential Search Committee, which was formed this January in anticipation of Sasser’s leave.
The seven will undergo further interviews in front of the entire committee on Sep. 4 and Sep. 6, after which an undetermined number of finalists will be chosen, Search Committee Chair Tom Mallini said. Then, it’s up to Santa Fe’s Board of Trustees to choose who will become the college’s next president in October or November.
Sasser has worked with the board for several years, and he isn’t worried about the school’s future with the choice being in their hands, he said.
“My confidence is at 100 percent that the board will select a president that will not just continue the good things, but that will take this college to a whole new level,” he said.
The semifinalists were chosen based on a profile set up by Santa Fe stakeholders: the college’s faculty, administration and board members, Mallini said.
They want someone who prioritizes diversity and equality, but they also want someone with the ability to advocate for the college in Florida legislative meetings and represent the college on a national level like Jackson Sasser has, he said.
Although Sasser isn’t involved in the selection process, he has his own presidential wish list: a commitment to establishing equity, promoting international perspectives and building facilities that meet the students’ needs.
These acts would be a continuation of what Sasser has spent his career establishing. Under his leadership, Santa Fe College created a support program for African American males called ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ implemented an ‘Internationalizing the College’ initiative that makes sure global perspectives are included in every course and built four new campuses, according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
“The person that is selected by this board will be someone that will recognize and appreciate the culture of excellence and the culture of respect that exists at this college,” Sassner said. “This is an exciting time for a new person to come in with new commitments, new ideas, to serve students and serve communities better.”
The Alligator will be publishing profiles of all seven semifinalist presidential candidates on Thursday.
Edward T. Bonahue
Provost and vice president for academic affairs at Santa Fe College
Andrew W. Bowne
Senior vice president and chief operating officer at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana
Paul Broadie II
President of Housatonic Community College and Gateway Community College in Connecticut
Former president of the Kendall and West campuses of Miami Dade College
Kevin Alexander Pollock
Former president of Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania
Former president of Norco College in California
Carmen M. Simone
Vice president and dean at the University of South Dakota Community College
Information from Santa Fe College Communications Manager Jay Anderson
Jackson Sasser, the president of Santa Fe College, addresses a crowd of about 60 protesters Tuesday afternoon on campus. The crowd, made up of faculty, students and other activists, gathered during a Board of Trustees meeting to pressure administrators into giving adjunct faculty a vote on whether or not to join a union. Protesting faculty members believe the administration has taken steps to avoid the formation of a union.