Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Frank Biafora has been declared one of five finalists to become president of St. Petersburg College. He recently announced that he would not seek a contract extension at USF St. Petersburg.
Before coming to USF St. Petersburg as a dean and tenured professor, Biafora was an associate dean at St. Johns University. His doctorate in sociology comes from the University of Miami, where he also served as a postdoctoral fellow.
Biafora attributes stepping down to the natural progression of his career and USF St. Petersburg’s prospective expansion.
“I felt it was time to let someone else step into the dean’s role to bring fresh new ideas to the position,” said Biafora. “The timing is right, and the college is positioned very well for the future.”
William D. Law, Jr., current president of SPC, announced his retirement last November after serving since 2010. Law mentored Biafora during his presidency through academic leadership programs.
“I love the relationship we have had with SPC, and when the opportunity came up, I couldn’t pass on it,” Biafora said. “I learned so much thanks to their senior level administrators and faculty, and did a lot of work to bring our two institutions more closely in line.”
Biafora had a hand in creating FUSE, an academic program intended to streamline the transition for students transferring to USF from SPC and as other local community colleges.
Given the large number of transfer students at USF St. Petersburg, FUSE was created to increase accessibility to the campus and student diversity.
“Students who want to attend USF will not be mistaken on taking courses they do not need, and their path to graduation will be seamless from one institution to the other.” said Biafora
If Biafora lands the position, he hopes to expand both the interaction between SPC and USF St. Petersburg as well as the inclusion of international students in the FUSE program.
“Our campus and SPC is always looking for more international students, and I believe FUSE is an opportunity there.”
Before implementing his plans, Biafora must outlast the other applicants looking to fill the presidential position.
Competition includes the president of the College of Central Florida, provost of Santa Fe College, and the current provost and senior vice president of St. Petersburg College.
The presidential search committee determined the five finalists April 10 after viewing an eight minute video application from each semi-finalist.
In addition to the video, candidates were required to submit a curriculum vitae, resume and cover letter, all of which are publicly available on SPC’s presidential search blog.
“Everything in the search is done in the sunshine,” said Biafora.
Now that the finalists are determined, all five will attend a two day interview process with faculty, staff and students across SPC’s multiple campuses before meeting with the board of trustees for questioning.
President Law said his last day will be June 30, but “would be willing to stay on a bit longer if the process takes a bit longer than expected,” according to Biafora.
“Somewhere between now and mid-June, I would say, is when my final decision will be made.” He continued.
Irrelevant of the committee’s decision, the Arts and Sciences dean is proud of his accomplishments and hopes to remain in the community for the foreseeable future.
“I have been blessed over the years with terrific leaders to work with,” said Biafora. “And I’ve got a couple more years I want to give.”
Edits have been made fromt he printed version for correction and clarity.