Judy Genshaft - University of South Florida
Judy Genshaft was President of the University of South Florida for nearly two decades, from 2000 to 2019, overseeing the most transformative change in the university’s history. Enrollment grew by 40 percent; the four-year graduation rate tripled. USF’s endowment jumped from $254 million to $480 million. And most significantly, USF's research activity has tripled to more than $568 million in expenditures, it’s now one of the top 25 public universities for research. Today, USF ranks as the country's fifth leading public university in generating new U.S. utility patents. It is also the state's third preeminent university. Recently, the Board of Trustees voted to re-name the Student Life Building, on the campus of USF St. Petersburg, in honor of the former president. “There’s going to be a big celebration,” she says in this interview, as soon as current renovations to the site are complete. Genshaft, who retired because “it’s time to leave when you’re on the top,” discusses her tenure, and what her accomplishments meant to the college, and to the community, and to her, personally. “Having a passion for what you do really allows you to go through the ups and downs of careers and life. Not everything’s going to be joyous all the time … but having a passion, it’s not a job, it becomes your career, and your love. And afterwards, you can continue on making life better for everybody.”
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Joe Hamilton 00:07
You’re listening to St. Pete X. Today’s episode is brought to you by Cityverse, Cityverse brings the community together on a new Civic Platform powered by Catalyst news. St. Pete Cityverse is launching soon. You can learn more and reserve your Homespace at Cityverse.life. Now enjoy the conversation Joining me on SPX is the former president of USF, Jude again, chuffed welcome.
Judy Genshaft 00:53
Thank you very, very happy to be here.
Joe Hamilton 00:56
You know, your list of accolades is so long, we’d be here probably an hour going through them all. And you know, typically don’t do the whole, you know, bio 101 thing. But I do want to celebrate a fresh one, which is a new building being named in your honor, which is near and dear to your heart. It’s the student life building. Congratulations on that.
Judy Genshaft 01:14
Thank you on the USF St. Petersburg campus. That’s very exciting to me. And I’m thrilled.
Joe Hamilton 01:21
That’ll be officially called the Judi Genshaft Student Life Center or something like that?
Judy Genshaft 01:25
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yeah, there’s a big sign in front of it. And as soon as they’ve finished all of the roofing, and landscaping, we’re going to have a celebration.
Joe Hamilton 01:41
That’s great. And, you know, it’s funny, because I know students, obviously, in doing the role you did with the passion you did for so long, are near and dear to your heart. But what I found kind of neat and funny was, as I was researching you, everywhere you turn, it’d be the person saying, President Genshaft made research a real priority. And that’s why we had this great success. And then you know, flipped in next person. President Genshaft made women’s empowerment and success a real priority. And that’s why we had the success. And everyone returned, every department said, they felt like you made their, what they cared about, “our priority and a real success.” And as you stack them all together was pretty amazing that everything was a priority as far as they felt, even though, you had you had to see it all. That’s a pretty cool accomplishment.
Judy Genshaft 02:31
It, it’s been phenomenal to be at University of South Florida. And like I told you earlier, when we’re walking into the studio, we don’t see any boundaries, education goes everywhere. And it’s just a privilege to be able to serve the Tampa Bay, and all of the counties that make this up to be the research university for Tampa Bay.
Joe Hamilton 03:05
That was actually the first one research as a priority.
Judy Genshaft 03:07
There are different types of universities and there are about 4000 in the United States. Some are community colleges, some are technical schools, some are masters only in teaching institutions. And then there’s a section called the research university. And they’re all different. It’s not one is better than the other. It’s like ice cream. I like this flavor. You like that flavor. It’s all this, but it’s a different flavor. And so when you’re looking for your peers, and your aspirational peers, if you’re a community college, you look at this category, but if you’re a research university, look at this category, and then we divide it down just a little bit more. Because when we’re looking at USF at our peers, we’re also looking at a major metropolitan university not in the middle of a hayfield,
Joe Hamilton 04:11
I was gonna talk about somebody later. I think that’s, this is a good a good segue, when you look at USF as a research university. As the landscape for university changes, you know, firstly, I’d love to hear what you think about that, as far as the future of can 4000 universities exist in 10 and 20 years? Is the nature of how people are getting a lot of stuff for free on on online and a lot of stuff is more micro education around specific topics, a lot of short coding schools, and obviously, universities are adapting through their, their certification processes and things like that. So, you know, what do you think the future holds for that number of universities and if there is sort of a shrinkage in that number, which ones thrive the best in the new world?
Judy Genshaft 04:59
Well, These are all really important and tough questions. But let me just say that for universities, particularly those that are public universities, we’ve been around since the early, early, early 1800s, if not 1700s. And, and so it goes through cycles at different times. But the original public universities, were the land grant universities, that was the economy of the time. So many of the big big schools that, you know, across America, were were set up in the 1800s, to help the economy and to educate all people. And the economy at the time was agriculture, around the United States, well, as we move through the Industrial Revolution, and then the technology revolution, and all that’s happening, now, the action is no longer necessarily in agriculture, the, the actions in the cities. And so I feel really privileged to be in a location, which is now the hot spot it is in everybody’s trying to get over to the cities now. And we have a great opportunity University of South Florida, ahead of us
Joe Hamilton 06:32
With with the university, you know, in tandem with, you know, the region and the economic development, folks. How would you, folks if you, if you traveled over to Thailand to accept an award, which you have, or accepted award from from them? How would you say, describe the brand of Tampa Bay as it relates to the university?
Judy Genshaft 06:51
Well, again, we are one of the research university categories. So our peers abroad are going to be those that conduct research and, and teaching service in all a part of the public that can get in through help from the government. And that’s, that’s really a key. International in my world, and my thinking is absolutely critical. And I made international one of the big initiatives, because to me, the more you travel outside of Florida, and outside of the United States, you get a passion and a sense of learning about other cultures, you don’t have to believe what they believe, but respect what they do, and honor what they do. And so you don’t get a sense of that until you get yourself out and abroad to see and learn about other cultures to end to bring students here from other cultures. So that one learns about different ways of living, that are all valued. It’s just a different way of looking at good things.
Joe Hamilton 08:11
Sure. And, you know, with, as we mentioned, all of the different areas that you’ve pushed forward, there’s a lot of complexity. There’s a lot of largeness, obviously a lot of money to get you preeminence status is an amazing amount of money flowing through. A lot of young minds that you’re shaping. So how did you find that largeness? You know, obviously, there’s a mechanism, the university itself that handles a lot of that, but it ultimately all rolls up, you know, to you. So over the years, what, what sort of mindset did you keep to to to handle all that complexity and pressure?
Judy Genshaft 08:52
Well go, if you look at my background, my undergraduate degrees at the University of Wisconsin Madison, again, a very large public institution in the capital of the state of Wisconsin, and then and that’s a land grant, as well. And you know, what a land grant is, as soon as you find out where’s the vet medicine? Where is the agriculture extension out of? For example, if you look at New York, what is the land grant of New York, Cornell, Cornell, it, but it’s really unique because if you go to Cornell in New York as a agriculture person majoring in ag, or you go in for engineering, which is mechanical, or you going for teaching, you pay in state SUNY State University of New York system, their rate if you go to arts and sciences So are you going through whether you pay private,
Joe Hamilton 10:04
or normal out of state? And private or private? Okay, private. Interesting. So it sounds like so somebody worked a contract well, at some point.
Judy Genshaft 10:15
Yes, but that’s unusual. Yeah. But if you think of Pennsylvania, Penn State is your Ag, and Land Grant. But so I was at University of Wisconsin. And then I worked in went to night school at Kent State. But I, my first job for 16 years was Ohio State University, again, a very large institution. So I kind of grew up in the largeness and understanding what that means and how how to try to shape the whole
Joe Hamilton 10:54
So all of that experience, reduce the weight of it for you, as you moved to USF and understood it, you understood it. Right? And then how about when you? You know, I always I think it’s, it’s such a position of power, even though you don’t think of it that way. And responsibility, so much information flowing to you. And then you retire. And that kind of falls off a cliff to some extent, right? A the, you know, the responsibility moves on to somebody else. I’m sure a lot of information still comes to you. But you know, having run that way, for 19 years, what was the journey like to have that change so drastically,
Judy Genshaft 11:33
It was very hard to make the decision to step a step away. But I always said to myself, leave when you still want it, leave when you’re all the lights are on and you see the brightness. And I had worked so hard with my team, because you never do anything alone, sure, with the team to make sure that everybody was lifted, and we had gathered the preeminence. We had a billion dollar campaign success
Joe Hamilton 12:08
You won the Superbowl and retired. That’s what you did. That’s right.
Judy Genshaft 12:11
And we had recognition internationally. And you just keep going on, on and on Phi Beta Kappa, which is the oldest honorary organization 1776, when it was established, and we you only get that five Beta Kappa once every three years, and then give it to three institutions. And that’s it. But that that alone, I mean, all the lights were on and they thought, this is the time. And I thought ‘no’ emotionally, no, you can’t do this. Because I love love, love USF. And intellectually, I said, this is the time. So it was not easy. Not easy at all. But I did promise the board, they asked for a year’s notice. And I gave them the year that I would be stepping down. But no lame duck, I was there every day making sure that it is great.
Joe Hamilton 13:11
I want to dig in a little bit more to that, you know, when you said, you know, intellectually, you said you set a plan and you stuck to it. And it makes the plan makes a lot of sense, emotionally. Emotions are a totally different story than the plan. Right. So which, which, which part of it of the whole machine that you ran? Did you did you miss them? Or what was the most emotionally challenging part of moving on from?
Judy Genshaft 13:34
Well that’s, that’s hard. I mean, I love the students. I really enjoyed the interaction all the way through. It was it was I knew it was intellectual. I just knew this is the time. There were so many changes that were going to occur. And believe me, I had no idea about a pandemic, right? Oh, my gosh, none. But it was I knew I had hit just a peak. And then there were a whole lot of questions in front going forward. There’s going to be a new political landscape. There’s going to be a new set of board members. And I thought, well, you know, you need to have at least a three to five year window of in front of you to keep going. And I thought, you know, this is the time I had watch some other presidents nationally, who were the boots were still on and they were being dragged out. And I thought I never want that. No, I never want that. So I’m very, very, very, very involved behind the scenes, but not not in anybody’s face.
Joe Hamilton 14:56
And that’s the that’s another interesting nuance to the process because you were beloved and had all that influence, you know, you have to be careful not to overshadow new people. And exactly. So that’s, that’s a good awareness obviously, that you have.
Judy Genshaft 15:11
I really appreciated my predecessors not getting in my way all the time. They were there if I needed to ask for help, which I did. But they weren’t always well, you shouldn’t have done it this way. Or you should have done it that way.
Joe Hamilton 15:31
You know, when I, I actually had a conversation with Christian Hardegree, a couple of weeks ago, a question I asked her that I, I always find fascinating is about bureaucracy, and huge organizations, and particularly universities can be weighed down by it. How, and then obviously, you have to report up into the state and other funders, which are in a whole nother layer of that. So you would get pretty much the if there were a most dense bureaucratic life, it would be, you know, at a large institution being funded by a state, you know, so, you know, how did that not drive you crazy? Did it drive you crazy as you feel like you could really, you know, make things lean, you know, what was your sort of relationship with bereaucracy?
Judy Genshaft 16:19
Well, it depends on the bureaucracy you’re working with. And again, you don’t do anything alone, you have to have a team around you. And I want the team to be smarter than myself, my way of, of leadership is hire really, really good professional leaders. And they know more about the subject matter that they’re running than I do, but make sure we’re all working together. And that the everybody that has an oar is rowing in the same direction, because this one’s going one way or the other is going the other year, you’re not going to get anywhere. So if you were reporting to me, I’d say to you, what are your goals that you want to accomplish, and we’d work on those together, and then your goals become mine. So if you don’t make your goals, I get short. So I’m there for you, I’m there, but I don’t run what you what your operations are, I leave it up to you, if you need help, I’m there. Or if I see something wrong, I’ll talk to you about it. We meet on a regular basis. But we’ve worked together and, and guided by the values and the and the measurements that the state of Florida Board of Governors put out, because they’re our funders. So those are very important. And you want to be a part of and be integral to your counterparts in your board.
Joe Hamilton 17:59
So it sounds like you just focused on what the goals were and what you needed to accomplish and less on the bureaucracy. Because if you did that and make people less happy and less effective,
Judy Genshaft 18:13
Well, the bureaucracy sets a lot of those expectations. And I always believe you have to inspect what you expect. So it’s with outcome measures. That says, not how many students did you enroll, but how many graduated. And then it’s not when they graduated, but within four years, and six years. And that starts to define your success. So this measurement is really important, because it was set up by the bureaucracy, and it actually helped fuel us moving forward.
Joe Hamilton 19:00
That makes a lot of sense and obviously bureaucracy has sometimes a negative connotation. It’s unnecessary. It’s just a matter of where do you draw the line between inefficient and optimized, efficient.
Judy Genshaft 19:10
And those that you report to, which are many in a public university, you have to have a good relationship with them. And if you don’t, then somebody that does has to be your representative. Everybody who doesn’t love everybody. So you need to work with those that are going to make… it’s for the institution. It’s not for you personally.
Joe Hamilton 19:39
That makes sense. Another area I’m always curious about one of the big changes that you had in your 19 years in the world at large was the rise of social media. And that put the power to amplify any mis utterance of a sentence, you know, and take things, things can be taken out of context as they always have. But now they can be, you know, amplified and distributed at a amazingly large to a wide, wide audience. And, you know, that even affects students, if students make poor decisions on social media that can reflect the university as well. So, you know, how much did your awareness, you know, obviously, you’re a public figure from day one, it was just more the, you know, the, the camera everywhere aspect that kind of kind of came into play during your tenure. So how much was that on your, your radar? How much did you sort of have to adjust your life to because of social media?
Judy Genshaft 20:37
Well, it’s not just social media, it’s a state of Florida has the Sunshine Law. And that was really one of the big adjustments I had to make when I first came. And I actually worked on public relations training, to learn about the openness that the state of Florida has. And once you learn about it, then you have to behave, you’re always the role model, no matter whether you’re at home or not, you’re always a role model. And it’s really important to understand the dynamics of media. But beyond that, I remember my first experience, I was just interviewing for USF presidency. And the newspaper reporter at the time, was a female and followed me into the restroom, to ask me, not just my age, but my weight. And that I, I was shocked. But it tells you how invasive the media can be, that was inappropriate, or it it was, it really enlightened me a lot about, okay, you have to be careful wherever you are. And the other part now that, along with social media is how quickly things are reported. So you don’t have a chance to think it through, you have to be ready to go in every second. That also is a big change. But your public relations area in the university, it’s really, really, really, really important.
Joe Hamilton 22:30
I mean, there’s, there’s a sort of saying that anybody who does anything noteworthy is going to have someone on the other side of that, who isn’t happy about it, whether it be jealousy, or just disagreeing with it. That negativity has always been there, but never has it been more able to be put right in your face than that as well. So did you find that’s that growth of the ability to criticize so incessantly a problem? Did that lead you to disengage from those types of social media comment environments? Or did you engage because of the data it provided and just have a, you know, steel mindset tools or your strategy for that?
Judy Genshaft 23:14
Usually, people that are very adept with the media will tell you what it is that they’re trying to accomplish? And answer in a way that is not maybe as direct as a question, but answer in a way that makes some sense. So you kind of figure out how to express it in a way that is very reportable.
Joe Hamilton 23:45
Does that drive you crazy? Are you okay with it, just part of the nature of the beast?
Judy Genshaft 23:49
It just is what it is, and you can’t fight it, you have to work with it. Because it’s as though you’re entering a new culture, and you have to learn about the culture, wherever if it’s in a foreign country, or it’s a new area, you have to learn about the culture. Don’t fight the culture. You want to change it over time you work with it, but you can’t fight it so you have to learn about it. And I mean, easier said than done, but your culture will kill you.
Joe Hamilton 24:27
And so you know, when you you’re still connected in an official capacity in emeritus status is that you know, capacity so you’re still officially connected, but there wasn’t that sense of I can relax when I go to the store now a little bit more you still probably equally as as, as observed as ever.
Judy Genshaft 24:42
That’s right. You are observed and you have a certain persona that you want to maintain and it wasn’t fake. Yeah. It was. And remember who your your clients or your pay Asians are your… who’s your audience? My audience was always the students and their welfare. If you want to answer a question, what’s in the best interest of the student? What’s in the best interests of the patient, right? What’s in the best interests of my customer? That’s why we’re here.
Joe Hamilton 25:21
Sure. So when asked the question about performative living, right, which is or just awareness of observed living, right, and you say, consider your audience, you know, the audience’s who you want to influence. But what makes that palatable is if the influence truly connected to who you are, and you’re actually, you know, you’re, you’re actually getting real authentic benefit out of being that way, versus just being, you know, safe or performative, for the sake of appearances, and to do the roll. And so it sounds like, you know, maybe it was easier for you, because you, you so truly wanted to put forth this, you wanted to keep your influence clean, because you really, your meaning came from that influence, right? Is that fair?
Judy Genshaft 26:09
That’s fair, okay. It’s very fair. I just, again, I’m a people person, and I really enjoy being out and about with people and with my students and with, you know, those that are, that we serve, mentoring others helping others. If we don’t help one another, who’s going to help us, you have to give back i And again, we talked about Frank Morsani, and his influence in this area. And you always say, first, you have your learning. And then you have the earning time. And then you must return. It’s not just financial, you must return by volunteering, giving them yourself and learn earn and return.
Joe Hamilton 27:01
So funny, I just said that to someone last week, and I could not remember for life, me who told me that and it was Frank Frank. Yes, that’s his thing. Right. That’s great. You know, and that again, I will say that that makes a lot of sense intellectually, but to live it with the, you know, the fervency that you have is another step above that, right? So that that’s a separate thing.
Judy Genshaft 27:22
I grew up with that. And I try to, I have two boys and with the boys what we would do my husband and I would say, All right, here’s your allowance. And if they were 10 years old, we’d give them $9, not 10, right. And that extra dollar goes for some charity or designed to help somebody else. Help somebody else, not just yourself,
Joe Hamilton 27:48
When the arc of so you have this, this intense drive to serve, and you’ve had a profession where you’re able to do that at 110% in overdrive for a long time. Now you’ve moved into the private sector, we’ll say, you know, you’re still very connected to the university. You’re also moving on into the second half of your life. So how is the arc of that service drive evolved as you’ve as you’ve kind of moved out of the professional vehicle for it to the personal vehicle for it?
Judy Genshaft 28:19
It’s really exciting in the sense that I work a lot. Volunteer, volunteer and giving to the University of South Florida, whether it’s USF St. Pete, USF Sarasota, whether it’s Tampa, it doesn’t matter where they are, where people are. The Judy Genshaft Honors College goes on all the different campuses. It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart, since it was my passion, both professionally and as a psychologist. There are students that throughout the continuum, and you want to help all but you need to focus, and I’m very goal oriented. I’m a very focused person. So those that are particularly talented and gifted, and they, they’re kind of off the charts in some of the quirks that they have. And so working with them, is just illuminating behind the scenes, but, you know, I’m always there for athletics and health, whether it’s black, white, blue, purple, I fund students mentoring, travel abroad is really important. I’d love to see every student at USF have an internship somewhere. I don’t care what your major is, because we know that people that have an internship 86% are hired. Maybe not by where you did your internship, but by a related institution or a related company. You can do your internship internationally, you can do it locally, it doesn’t matter. So I give to about everything I can think of at USF. But beyond that, among a lot of committees, national boards, and throughout Tampa Bay, I have a passion. My husband and I have a passion to see Tampa Bay, and I mean, every part of it grow and be fantastic. So I’m on a lot of different boards here in this area,
Joe Hamilton 28:32
You put the emphasis on Tampa Bay, which does..I would like to spend a couple minutes on consolidation and you know, living as you’re living on the St. Pete, there was some some tears shed. I think it’s been talked about ad infinitum. So I don’t know that we need to go too deep into it. But I would love to just hear you know, as as the dust has settled now, anything that was largely misunderstood anything that went better than he expected worse than expected or just sort of, you know, now that we’re a little ways down the path on it, anything noteworthy that, you know, puts a perspective on the process.
Judy Genshaft 31:17
As you may not know, when I started in 2000. And I started July 5, after that session was over. And I wasn’t even I hadn’t started as the president, there was a lot of banter, around taking regional campuses away from universities across the state, and they narrowed it down to USF. New college would be taken away, and St Pete and Sarasota and Lakeland and all the rest. So that’s when I came in. When I was at Ohio State University, I got my promotion from assistant to associate and associate to full early. I didn’t wait the six years up and out, I went up in my fifth year, because again, my credentials held strong, and I got promoted. And then after I was a full professor, I knew that I wanted to go into the administrative line. And there’s a program that’s run nationally by American Council on Education. And they place people that want to go into Provost or presidencies at a school similar to where they’re at somewhere else where you have an opportunity to be a presidential intern. But you must return to the your main campus that you came from for at least one year. So it’s a combination. And I went to the president of Ohio State after I got my full professor. I never met him. And I said, I’d like to be considered for an A C E American Council on Education, internship, but I need your approval to be away for one year. And he said no. I said, I’d never met him, I was kind of shocked. And he said, If you want an internship, I’ll set one up for you in my office. And three months later, I was intern to the president. And he gave me also a job title that was Acting Associate Provost of our four regional campuses at Ohio State University. So my role working with him as an intern and working with the provost office was so enlightening and so helpful, because I had responsibility, as well as a supervision from both the president and the provost. And it was a great year. So I know how to deal with regional campuses. And when I came to USF, the first thing I heard was, whoa, we almost got totally split off. I know that New College was a part of the University of South Florida, don’t forget New college was a private school that went bankrupt. And after went bankrupt, the state picked it up and gave it to the University of South Florida. And during that time, it was President Betty Castor, and she brought it back to life. So fine, that’s all fine. And then they split it off. And I was on the job for one week and the President of the Senate at the time said, don’t even think about it. I’m taking it away from you. And he was from Sarasota. Yeah. And so I said, I hope that you won’t do that. Because I really know how to treat students from all over and regional campuses. But if you do, we’ll be if you do you do and will be good neighbors. And if you don’t, I will show you that we can accomplish so much. And as a result, New college went on its own as a separate University in Florida system. And I was able to work with the bureaucracy at the time, and I promised that we would have separate accreditation for the regional campuses of the University of South Florida. And that worked, that worked, they got fully accredited, but as a Master’s institution, not as a doctoral institution, and everybody seemed happy at the time. And but then, when we became preeminent USF, it was only the Tampa campus, because you have to have doctoral level in order for this level of preeminence. And that’s when the initiative to make University of South Florida into one unit again, took hold. And I said, Whatever you say, I, I will work to achieve that. That was the bureaucracy that was the legislature. And I was happy to do that. But people wanted to stay as a separately accredited.
Joe Hamilton 37:07
And as any, you know, and obviously, with any big change, somebody’s gonna want to do one thing, and somebody’s gonna do the one to do the opposite. When you say, you’ll do whatever you say, what was, as you remember, the genesis of the movement, you know, who who put the mean, I know some of the names of all but you know, so how do you? How did you see that? planted the first seed, and then you know, who fertilize the seed? And how did that process go to?
Judy Genshaft 37:34
Well, there was a lobbyist that whenever we go to Tallahassee, we always go with people that represent the university that our lobbyists, and we were going up for a visit early fall to get ready for that session. And the lobbyist, and I went into who Helen Levine was the lobbyist at the time. And she and I went into one of the leaders of the House and the Senate, and they said, we’re going to put USF is one. And we are we want all of the students at University of South Florida to be preeminent. So I said, I understand and we’ll work for that.
Joe Hamilton 38:25
And that was a happy moment. I think you I mean, it’s your it’s fair to say that you
Judy Genshaft 38:28
I did not initiate it. But, I just that was fine. That whatever they I mean, you you don’t want to fight the culture.
Joe Hamilton 38:42
But in this case, it’s it was it was it can be traced back to a few individuals, though, right?
Judy Genshaft 38:48
It was positive, but it just meant a whole different organization.
Joe Hamilton 38:55
So then coming out of that, I mean, it was interesting car ride back with Helen. Or however you got there..flight
Judy Genshaft 39:03
I really was shocked. And Helen, Helen was in she she agreed. I mean, we both didn’t know that was coming. But we understood. We understood it.
Joe Hamilton 39:15
And so then, you know, as you took that directive out of out of from, from the, from the powers that be there, what were next steps, then as far as you know, keeping the path or starting to walk that path?
Judy Genshaft 39:29
Well, you know, it’s very, very, very to keep very important in what you’re doing as a leader. Keep your board really knowledgeable about the different ins and outs and what’s going on as a President and as a person. I do not like surprises. I don’t like positive surprises. I don’t like negative surprises. I want to be informed. And I don’t want any of my board members to read anything in the news media or anything that I haven’t had a chance to tell them about. And so the next steps, from my point of view is to inform those that I report to what I just heard and what we’re going to be doing in and that’s, that’s what, to me, I want to keep those to whom I report very close, I don’t want them to be surprised by anything. And that’s what I did. I mean, I said, this is an initiative. I do know, the head of the Accreditation Association that we report to, and I telephoned her as well. And I said, I want you to notice what we’re going to be initiating. And it’s something that you need to be aware of. And people are grateful when they know ahead of time.
Joe Hamilton 41:08
And what was the sentiment on the upon informing the board was generally like sounds like ready, let’s roll or was there. I mean, obviously, a little bit of a wow
Judy Genshaft 41:20
You know, people were generally surprised. But I said, I just want you to know, we’ll be devising a plan, we’ll be working this through, you will know about each step that we’re going to be taking, you won’t be surprised about anything, but I just want you to know what I’ve learned. And I try to do that with all of with all of the people to whom I report, and I still do. And that holds true for the the people that report to me don’t surprise, you’re sure do not surprise, you will not like my reaction, when you surprise me.
Joe Hamilton 41:59
And digging into that initial conversation in Tallahassee was it was was the energy we’re going to explore this, or we’re going to do this go make it happen.
Judy Genshaft 42:10
We’re going to do this go make it happen. We’re going to do this with or without you. Make it happen. And you know what? Okay. I will.
Joe Hamilton 42:25
And, you know, and then, you know, I’m coming out from living here in St. Pete and being an alum of the St. Pete campus and, you know, interacting on a daily basis with the people that were, not happy about it for them, I guess, what do you understand and empathize with most about their, resistance,
Judy Genshaft 42:45
People don’t like change, people like predictability. And they’ve been through a lot, getting the accreditation, and getting following different roadmaps that they weren’t necessarily a part of in the very beginning. So there’s resistance to change, it’s tough, it’s tough, it’s a whole different light. And it means it means that you’re going to be measured in ways that you never were measured before. So it means a little bit of a change in your behavior and how you do things. And there are pluses and minuses as you, you know, the fight for your own identity is very, very important. So you want to keep that, but you want to blend together with the larger format, all the benefits. And so there are benefits and their disadvantages, and keeping the identity is a very important process. But in accreditation, you have to blend this one. And so there’s this yin yang, for and zig zag. And it’s not comfortable to change, especially if you’re you’re on your way, and you’re moving forward. But it’s just something that you have to go through. And it’s not easy to do so.
Joe Hamilton 44:18
It makes sense. Thank you, as you know what, I want to get into too much, but I think that was nice, just to hear the origin and some of the, you know, your perspectives on it. Kind of tying back I asked you the bureaucracy question earlier and thinking about St. Pete and the regional campuses, and their identity and their structures and their hierarchies and all of that. You know, it I think where I was kind of going with the bureaucracy question maybe asking a little better is even within the main campus, there are those right there are worlds unto themselves in different departments, athletics, medicine, in a lot of the same challenges. I mean, that’s essentially a consolidated environment. So can you can you talk about the landscape landscape Have these kingdoms inside of the campus,
Judy Genshaft 45:03
It’s an every organization, it’s really an every organ is a large organization. And you need to learn about the the ways in which they run. For example, if you go into a new, you look at some of the cooking shows that are around, the chef is always the big deal. And the chef’s hat, the taller the white hat, the more influence you have. And in order to make the meal come out, right and look properly set up and everything, somebody’s got to have control over it and the chef is, is the ultimate, but the people and the team around, you have one that does this job, you have one that does that job pastry typically doesn’t go with the cooking part. And so it’s in every organization and understanding the dynamics of each organization or learning about them, doesn’t mean you have to do them all, but you have to know how they operate. Do they have a sense of direction, are they moving forward? Do they have a goal? Or are they just wandering? And so I like to see organization, where they have a sense of direction, you know, where they’re going, and how it complements and brings everything together? So you get a beautiful meal in front of you.
Joe Hamilton 46:41
But you have to you have to also I mean that I think that makes sense logically, but those people are kings of the pastry Kingdom or queens to the pastry kingdom, right? And so you have to somehow, you know, consider that that’s their identity and, and serving that identity is how you get, you know, get the best results for everybody. So it’s a lot of kingdoms to manage.
Judy Genshaft 47:03
It’s a lot of kingdoms to manage, but that’s what your vice president or head of that area is supposed to understand. And work with them so that each supervisor makes a difference. The people that are Dean or whomever is in charge makes a difference. And if something’s wrong there, then we have to make some changes. But it’s a people dynamic group. I mean, it’s just how people like to organize and respect the natural and respect that and understand the pecking orders.
Joe Hamilton 47:47
Do you think the pecking order hierarchies are more intense in the academic environment or just on par with the rest of of the world?
Judy Genshaft 47:54
Good question. I don’t know for sure. But I would say it’s not as you get larger and larger. Each area has its own uniqueness. And
Joe Hamilton 48:09
The doctors have gotta be just, you know, a nightmare of …I’m kidding.
Judy Genshaft 48:13
But there’s a hierarchy there. And once you understand that hierarchy, you’ll find the respect is different for each of the areas of specialty. Your neurosurgeon is way at the top.
Joe Hamilton 48:31
They have the biggest chef’s hat, and funny transition but speaking of the biggest chef’s hat, you know, the you mentioned President Castor, yourself, President law now, our Christian Hardegree at USF St. Pete You know, clearly at the top women are thriving
Judy Genshaft 48:51
Karen Holbrook at USF Sarasota.
Joe Hamilton 48:53
Right. How would you in your, you know, 19 now 20 years interacting with with USFwhere do you think … what’s your observation of the evolution of gender equality power, both in the executive ranks in the academic ranks, our things going there.
Judy Genshaft 49:16
Coming from out of state. I am so impressed with it. The whole Tampa Bay, Sarasota, St. Pete and Tampa community. I’ve felt very welcomed from the moment we arrived. And it’s not fake. It really is real people here are phenomenally friendly and wonderful. It’s my home here. I don’t want homes anywhere else. I mean, this is the best community ever. I love it. I think it’s great.
Joe Hamilton 49:58
But so then you know And then looking at the, you know, the gender mix in, in the professors and all of that. You feel like it’s just in a decent natural state, you know nothing…
Judy Genshaft 50:10
Well, to me, it’s really important for faculty to have the full professor status, not associate, ful. It’s about credentials. I want my credentials to stand every bit as tall as anybody else’s. And then you look at whether I should be the leader is somebody else? Tell me why. Because my credentials are just as good as yours. And then it could be a specialty, or this or that. I can understand some specialties. But you can’t say, well, she, she doesn’t rank. that doesn’t sit well. I find fairness here.
Joe Hamilton 51:02
Yeah. Okay. But so having those credentials is a defense against potential unfairness is that way you? (Yes) Which implies there may be potential unfairness, right?
Judy Genshaft 51:16
Yes, of course, there’s going to be there might be potential unfairness, but it’s harder to defend Sure. If you don’t have the credentials, it to say, I, I’m not going anywhere until I understand what’s going on.
Joe Hamilton 51:33
And do the arcs. Is that? Do you feel like the arcs of either women’s lives or some other reason, make them less inclined to get the full credentials versus a male? Or is it? You know, is there a specific specific observation that led you to mention that?
Judy Genshaft 51:53
I mentioned that because the responsibility that women have mainly put on them is the family, and they have to take time off. And now to become a more equally we, you know, men can take time off along with women. But for child issues. Women, I think are just more service oriented, in many ways. Well, that may be great for many places, but if you’re going to move forward at a research university, you have to have your publications, you have to have your grants. And those are more solitary endeavors. And it’s hard. It’s hard. It’s more isolating to do some of those. And I’m not sure I can give you a reason why, but the time off is tough.
Joe Hamilton 53:01
I mean, it’s time that other people don’t have to take off and they get to push forward with, right, that’s just an advantage.
Judy Genshaft 53:07
And, you know, I’ve been very fortunate because my husband of 33 plus years, has been very supportive of the work that I’ve done. And you have to have your family be a part of the enterprise. Because you’re not home as leader. I was out at least five nights a week as well as all day. I mean, it was 24/7 job. And if you don’t have somebody that understands that and supports that, it’s it’s a problem.
Joe Hamilton 53:42
I mean, obviously, we were incredibly lucky to have you and to have you do that, and give those five nights a week for so many years. And to be sitting here as filled with joy as day one, it really speaks to the unique person that you are, and it’s much appreciated.
Judy Genshaft 53:56
I may have stepped down, but I have not stepped out. And it’s one of those where you do things that are “been there done that do I want to do it again”, been there done that, hey, I’m gonna try this now. And so it’s a little bit of a journey to find what your passions are, and you don’t want to say yes to everything right at once. But then you find yourself going, ooh, this is good. This is different. And it’s a little, because I believe we go through developmental stages as people Sure. And from birth to the end of life. And you think, Oh, I’m going to try this. So I, I have the same amount of energy and I’m here to help others and I can just do it in a different way and make sure I build as much as I possibly can around USF around the organizations that help innovate and get the economy moving in, in this whole multi County area, because to me, like I said, when I first opened the conversation, education doesn’t know any boundaries. And businesses don’t know boundaries, they just move across as they grow. But it’s quality. Keep that quality, keep that standard, nothing’s more important than your name. Don’t do anything you can’t live with afterwards. It’s really, really important. And know who your audiences like you’re, like the people you work with, or take a different, more solitary route.
Joe Hamilton 55:47
That’s very good advice. And I was gonna ask you a couple life lessons to finish up. I think those are good ones. So then I’ll I’ll say, for kind of the last question, What is something you would like our listeners to know about you that person, you know, and all the journey that’s brought you here today that that is sort of the dominant self identity, element of yourself that you’re most proud of that or that you most feel not proud is the right word, but the the most intense one in you?
Judy Genshaft 56:19
Well, there are a lot of different aspects to it. But I think having a passion for what you do, really allows you to go through the ups and downs of careers and life. And it’s not everything’s going to be joyous all the time. You go through many happy moments, and very, very serious, sad moments. But having a passion, it’s not a job, it becomes your career, and your love. And then afterward, you can continue on to making life better for everybody. So I just hope you pursue and follow your goals, pursue what it is it you enjoy, and go Bulls. Always have to say go Bulls,
Joe Hamilton 57:14
I have one more. So when you’re talking about that passion, you know what I think an interesting perspective that it felt like you had is that what passion does is unlock depth of experience. And when you have depth of experience, even though by definition, some of it is good or happy. And some of it is bad or sad. Both sides of that, that coin, there’s depth, and it’s almost like there’s a relativity between the two. So the passions, the key to getting meaning out of both sides of it versus suffering one to wait for the other is that, is that fair?
Judy Genshaft 57:44
That’s fair. But the other is I care. I deeply, deeply care. And I always think that those that you associate with, reflect on who you are. And I really enjoy and care so much about my family. And I deeply, deeply cared so much and still do about the University of South Florida. It’s my family, and the Tampa Bay area with all the counties. It’s my area, and it’s part of who I am. And again, nothing’s more important than your name and how you conduct yourself. So it’s it it doesn’t make it a job. It makes it more of your your soul and your life
Joe Hamilton 58:37
That’s beautiful. Judy Genshaft, thank you so much.
Judy Genshaft 58:40
Thank you. Thank you. It’s been my pleasure for you to listen to all of it. But it’s wonderful.
Joe Hamilton 58:47
We need one more go Bulls to end with.
Judy Genshaft 58:49
Go Bulls, go Bulls.