Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Faculty endorse Stacy Volnick as FAU’s next president

Faculty Senate President Kimberly Dunn proposed amending the presidential search process to extend Interim President Stacy Volnick’s contract.
Nicholas Windfelder
Stock photo of FAU Administration Building.

Over two months after Florida Atlantic University announced three finalists to become the ninth president, with the search suspended, a new candidate could emerge. 

During the Sept. 26 FAU Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, president of the Faculty Senate and BOT member Kimberly Dunn proposed amending the presidential search process, allowing Interim President Stacy Volnick to take over full-time potentially.

“I am asking this board to explore with the Board of Governors whether an adjustment could be made to the presidential selection process to allow us to consider extending a multi-year contract to Stacy Volnick to serve as our next president,” said Kimberly Dunn, the president of the Faculty Senate.

BOT Chair Brad Levine acknowledged Dunn’s sentiment by telling her that he hears her and thinks exploring her proposal is fair. Levine is one of the BOT members who is appointed directly by Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

“I hear what you’re asking and I think exploring is a reasonable thing,” said BOT Chair Brad Levine.

According to the Sun Sentinel, Volnick’s contract as Interim President prohibits her from applying for the permanent role. 

“We just got the news that FAU rose in the rankings across the board since last year,” said Nicole Morse, associate professor and faculty senator representing the College of Arts and Letters. “That’s in her time as our leader, and it shows her commitment to what FAU most values, which is our students.”

Amid rumors of foul play by DeSantis, the search was halted by Chancellor Ray Rodrigues of the State University System of Florida (SUS) on July 7, two days after the search committee announced three finalists. In March, Florida Today reported that DeSantis had recommended Rep. Randy Fine (R- Brevard County), his ally, for the job. 

“Right now FAU is being treated as a political football,” said Morse. “This culture-war fight is going on around us which is not beneficial to anyone’s education here at FAU, especially students, who are here the shortest amount of time.”

Dunn pointed to the university’s inability to fill the many interim vice presidents, provosts and other leadership positions without a president.

“The uncertainty and negative press associated with the prolonged search is detrimental to our university,” said Dunn. “It is hurting our image and our ability to advance our core mission.”

The worry shared by Morse and other faculty is that while the administration and the state go back and forth in a political catfight, students will face the brunt of the effects. 

“I think students think university administration can be opaque or it doesn’t have any bearing on your day-to-day lives,” said Morse, pointing towards the DeSantis-backed changes at the New College of Florida as an example. “A new administration coming and deciding to completely upend the operation of the university, that’s the kind of thing that’s causing students to have to transfer, lose their favorite professors, lose programs of study. That really impacts someone who’s halfway to their degree and that’s the kind of thing that we know Dr. Volnick will be able to lead us through smoothly.”

Volnick is a two-decade higher-education veteran who has previously served as chief operating officer and vice president for administrative affairs.

“Senators who are elected by their peers expressed support for [Volnick],” said Dunn. “This support came from a wide range of colleges, with these colleges often having very, very different perspectives.”

Dunn did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication. 

Cameron Priester is the Editor-at-Large for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron.

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About the Contributors
Cameron Priester
Cameron Priester, Editor-at-Large
Cameron Priester is an Editor-at-Large for the University Press. Having served as Sports Editor for the 2022-23 academic year, he is a multimedia journalism major and intends on pursuing a career in sports journalism. He can be found on Twitter @PriesterCameron and you can email him at [email protected].
Nicholas Windfelder
Nicholas Windfelder, Lead Photographer
Nicholas Windfelder is the lead photographer for University Press. He began his work in the spring of 2022 and became lead photographer in the following fall semester. While being a mechanical engineering major, his greatest hobby is photography and hopes to build himself as a photographer as well. You can contact him via Instagram or email. View Nick's work below, on Instagram, or his online portfolio. Disclaimer: Unauthorized reproduction, sale, or modifications of the images below, or within the associated articles, galleries, or links, are strictly prohibited. All images are copyright protected. For requested use of the images below, please contact Nicholas Windfelder via email or message @UPressOnline on Instagram.

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