Recent literature suggested that while the discussion of presidential selection, evaluation, and compensation was common to both private and public institutions, special attention was paid to public university presidents. They and their presidencies were subject to intense public debate and scrutiny. Florida's public university presidents have contended with the same issues as their counterparts in other states. However, the 2001 changes in the state's higher education governance created distinct challenges and opportunities for the 11 presidents in the Florida State University System. The purpose of this study was to analyze the trends in the selection, evaluation, and compensation of the 11 university presidents in the Florida State University System (SUS) from 1996-2006, the period five years before and five years after the changes in governance. Interviews with university presidents, members of boards of trustees, and members of the Florida Board of Governors, members of the Florida Legislature, and salary histories from seven of the 11 Florida institutions were used to analyze the trends in light of the shift in perceptions of the presidents' roles and the changes in higher education governance. Since 2001, and the establishment of boards of trustees and by Florida statute, presidents were seen as the chief executive officer of their institutions, a change from an academic to a business model. Trustees, who primarily came from a business background, viewed them as CEOs and chose to compensate presidents at a higher level than they had previously been paid. The Board of Governors, a majority of whose members also had corporate backgrounds, implied the need for a CEO-type leadership style and more corporate-style accountability. In 2003, the Florida Legislature responded to the salary surge at the chief executive level and placed a $225,000 salary cap from appropriated funds on the university presidents' salaries. The legislation did not place any restrictions on university foundations or other sources for supplementing the compensation package.


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Graduation Date





Taylor, Rosemarye


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership









Release Date

October 2018

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)