ChiTownBull Posted July 15, 2008 Group: Member Topic Count: 0 Content Count: 5,691 Reputation: 1 Days Won: 0 Joined: 12/27/2001 Share Posted July 15, 2008 http://southshore2.tbo.com/content/2008/jul/15/usf-president-presides-over-growth-spurts/By JOE O'NEILL | South Shore NewsPublished: July 15, 2008Judy Genshaft, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Albany, knew what she wanted when she applied for the presidency of the University of South Florida in 1999.A major research university in an anti-ivory tower, urban environment. A place young enough Ã¢â‚¬â€ 40-something Ã¢â‚¬â€ to still be making its mark. A place where community synergy and economic partnership could be more than idealistic aspirations or trendy buzz words.Then throw in the unique, semi-tropical locale that is the Tampa Bay region.Nine years later, she's reflectively buoyant and no less optimistic. She has presided over unparalleled growth in one of the largest universities (45,000 students) in the country. The budget now approaches $2 billion annually. Sponsored research tops $300 million, second in Florida.USF used to look like an industrial park. Now, adorned in bougainvillea and dotted with recent and ongoing construction, it looks like the sort of place where Ã¢â‚¬â€ literally Ã¢â‚¬â€ a third of the students will reside within five years.USF, which had converted "commuter school" into a local pejorative, used to be dubiously dubbed "the biggest school in the country without a football team." Now it's a Big East Conference stalwart, and a football season that doesn't end with a bowl game is a major disappointment.As befitting one whose university has a $3 billion economic impact on the region, Genshaft, 60, has become an economic-development dynamo since her formal appointment in July 2000. She currently chairs the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and is the immediate past chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership. She's a member of the Florida High Tech Corridor and the Florida Council of 100 and was named Tampa Bay Businesswoman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2007.Along the way, the Canton, Ohio, native has weathered the Sami al-Arian firestorm and the Byrd Center flap and forges on fighting for regional-campus, best-case scenarios and adjusting on the fly to state budget roulette.She took some time recently to muse on the USF experience, one that began, ironically, with a misplaced welcome mat.That's because it was in front of the Lifsey House, the president's official, 9,000-square-foot, contemporary residence near the main entrance of the Tampa campus. Lifsey, with all of its glass, Pentagon-like corridors and Graphicstudio ambience, was well suited for receptions.But it was ill-suited for real-world living. Especially if that world were inhabited by family members. This one was: Genshaft and her husband, Steven Greenbaum, and their adopted sons, Bryan, then 3, and Joel, then 6. The immediate "neighborhood" included Fowler Avenue and the next-door Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center.She stayed a month Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and then moved the family into more traditional digs in nearby Tampa Palms."It was not a house for kids," diplomatically recalls Genshaft. "I wanted a regular house in a regular neighborhood with playmates for our children." While USF hosts some 70 events a year at Lifsey Ã¢â‚¬â€ and Genshaft loves playing the hostess card Ã¢â‚¬â€ the president doesn't so much as keep a wardrobe change there.Genshaft Outtakes"As a public university, our responsibility is to be part of the growth of the economy, now centered in cities.""We are a large, major research institution; being in the Tampa Bay area makes it extra special."The Tampa Bay region: "This is an area that you just have to see for yourself. Tampa is a city with character Ã¢â‚¬â€œ from Bayshore Boulevard to Ybor City. If you're re-locating with kids, take them to Busch Gardens right away. And then you have to see the city of St. Petersburg and visit the beaches."Regional role of USF: "Education doesn't know about bridges or bad roads."Role of USF's regional campuses: "Let them be all they can be. We want students to have an on-campus experience."Her favorite day is Wednesday; it's the day she maxes out on personal contact with on-campus constituencies. It begins with meetings with senior vice presidents and other administrators. It will include lunch with a dozen or more graduate and undergraduate students. Later, there's a drop-in session with the faculty senate.Leadership style: "I'm a collaborative leader. The key is being willing to listen. But I can make the tough decisions. If I believe in something, I'm a great fundraiser."Her psychology (doctorate in counseling psychology from Kent State University) background: "It's helpful. I like to work with Ã¢â‚¬â€ not against the system. A lot of leadership is the power of persuasion Ã¢â‚¬â€ getting people on board. A lot of group dynamics."On being the only female president in the 11-institution State University System of Florida: "I don't perceive it as a problem. I think people treat you the way you behave."On being a traditional president Ã¢â‚¬â€ rooted in academe Ã¢â‚¬â€ not a politician hired for influential contacts and fundraising acumen: "I'm still the majority model. I've worked my way up through the ranks. And I wouldn't trade that background for anything."Value of high-profile intercollegiate athletics: "It's very important to a major institution. It's a huge part of the school atmosphere. Sports is really the front porch to the university. It brings out spirit and pride. And what people sometimes forget or don't know is that no instructional money goes into athletics. It's self-generated."On balancing work and family: "You really don't balance it. Different times of the year are heavier or lighter and you adjust accordingly. It's prioritizing, not balancing. I'm fortunate to have a supportive family." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.