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<p>Three members of the search committee for the Director of the Honors Program review interview questions in the Dr. C. Author Sandeen conference room Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.</p>

Three members of the search committee for the Director of the Honors Program review interview questions in the Dr. C. Author Sandeen conference room Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.

The committee responsible for finding a new UF Honors Program director met Feb. 17 to discuss plans for the final stages of their search process.

During its meeting in Tigert Hall, the search committee finalized its list of semifinalists and narrowed down Zoom interview questions — deciding whether to send interview questions in advance to director hopefuls. 

A group of 10 applicants was selected from the committee’s initial talent pool to become semifinalists. Of this group, four individuals were chosen from the first batch of applicants, and six were chosen from the second batch during the meeting Feb. 17. 

Identifiable information about potential candidates will remain confidential until their formal acceptance as finalists in the campus interview stage, said Devan Brown, the committee’s search consultant. 

“This will help us to ensure an equitable process the entire way through,” she said. 

Keeping semifinalists’ personal information hidden until later interview stages will also allow the entire search process to remain competitive, Brown said. 

A parallel can be seen between the confidentiality of this search and that of UF’s most recent presidential search — in which finalists’ personal information remained hidden largely due to Florida’s Senate Bill 520, which became law last year. 

Before narrowing down their potential list of questions for the Zoom interview portion of the selection process, committee members discussed whether they will send semifinalists the questions in advance. 

Committee chair Kevin Knudson previously advocated for applicants to receive their online interview questions beforehand. Although he supported this position further Feb. 17, he was willing to compromise with opposing committee members by providing interviewees with the general topics of their interview questions beforehand, he said.

“I don’t see any sense in having that ‘gotcha’ sort of moment,” Knudson said. 

The committee agreed to provide semifinalists with the central topics of the Zoom interview questions two days before the interviews take place. Doing so will add a level of fairness to the entire process, Knudson said.

“I want to make sure everyone has the same amount of time,” he said. 

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Finalized edits to the Zoom interview questions will be submitted by committee members on Feb. 20. All semifinalists will be interviewed by March 10. Committee members will submit their recommendations for which semifinalists will be moved to the final interview stage by March 20. 

A little over half of the applications received came from the southern U.S. as of Feb.17. A significantly smaller 2% of applications were of international origin, according to the presentation shown at the committee meeting. 

The committee is in the process of scheduling its final meeting as of Feb. 19. 

Contact Halima at Follow her on Twitter @HalimaAttah.

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Halima Attah

Halima Attah is a first-year journalism student and university reporter for The Alligator. When she’s not writing, you can probably find her thrifting on Depop or listening to her carefully curated Spotify playlists.

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