State Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) fielded questions Monday from students and staff during an on campus interview for Florida State University’s top job. Thrasher is one of four finalists vying to be FSU's next president.
During Monday’s forum questions centered around how Thrasher would push FSU into the nation’s top 25 public universities. The senator's answer? Fundraising.
“We need another half-billion dollars that will go toward acquiring great faculty, acquiring the opportunity for research and certainly putting us in a position to getting to the top 25,” Thrasher says.
Some, like FSU professor Laura Osteen, want to know how Thrasher’s political experience ties into the position of university president.
“My question is a comparison and a contrast of your roles," Osteen says. "So I wonder as you think about being a senator, and you think about being president, as you think about strategy, decision-making, voice; how might you think those roles are similar, how you think they are going to be very different.”
Thrasher says though he may not have an academic background like the other presidential candidates, he feels his experience as a senator will translate to governing a school. Political fundraising in particular, he says, is experience that will help him get funding for FSU.
Spokesman for FSU’s Center for Leadership and Social Change Miguel Hernandez, focused his questions on the relationship between Thrasher’s personal values and the values and goals of the school.
“I wanted to see if you could share with us what your perception of our core values are today and also if you can mention what your core values are that guide you professionally and personally – where those align and where those conflict," Hernandez says. "And how might you be able to resolve those?”
Thrasher says his central value is being “an advocate for Florida State.” He said he thinks his roles as a senator, and a former head of FSU’s Board of Trustees will help him as president.
Some faculty, like music professor Michael Buchler, remain critical of Thrasher after the forum. Buchler said he didn’t hear enough specifics on key issues from Thrasher in his interview.
West Virginia University's former provost, Michele Wheatly is next in line to be interviewed. She'll be on campus Tuesday.