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More turnover at New College of Florida as Provost Suzanne Sherman steps down

A picture of the front of New College, with sign and trees
New College of Florida
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New College of Florida is a small liberal arts school in Sarasota. The school's Provost Suzanne Sherman is stepping down.

Suzanne Sherman is stepping down as Provost at New College of Florida in Sarasota. She was a faculty member at the small liberal arts school for over 30 years.

More administrative changes are happening at New College of Florida in Sarasota. Suzanne Sherman, a faculty member for more than 30 years, is stepping down from her role as Provost.

Sherman held the position since October 2020. Prior to that, she became associate Provost at the small liberal arts school in 2018.

Head shot of smiling woman in royal blue top with a gray background.
New College of Florida
/
Suzanne Sherman, the Provost of New College of Florida since 2020, is stepping down. This follows months of restructuring at the small liberal arts school in Sarasota.

Taking her place is Brad Thiessen, who briefly held the title of Interim President earlier this year following the firing of former President Patricia Okker.

Thiessen will serve as the Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the college, according to a press release.

READ MORE about the restructuring and events that have happened at New College of Florida this year.

Okker’s firing came after Gov. Ron DeSantis named six conservative allies to the New College Board of Trustees.

The board named former state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran interim president in January. He'll be paid $699,000 annually and will hold the job until Sept. 1, 2024 or until a permanent president is chosen.

“New College is once again appreciative of Dr. Thiessen’s willingness to serve the college in this new capacity,” said Corcoran in a press release. “(His) background and experience are unparalleled and his commitment to New College and its future is second to none.”

In January, new Trustee Christopher Rufo posted a video to Twitter of a heated exchange between him and Suzanne Sherman over the response to a death threat related to a town hall event.

On Monday, Rufo retweeted the exchange, saying Sherman had "stepped down," adding, “We are setting a new standard – and we will not cave to the mob.”

It's the latest personnel move in a series of restructuring changes at New College.

Corcoran fired Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez, the school’s dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, last week.

In an email to WUSF, college administrators said Rosario-Hernandez's position was no longer necessary because the Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence was abolished.

Last month, the board voted to abolish the DEI office and offer the four full-time employees other positions at the school.

The move is in line with legislation (HB 999) backed by Gov. DeSantis that would bar state colleges and universities from promoting, supporting or maintaining programs related to diversity, equity and inclusion or “critical race theory rhetoric.”

That bill is currently in the Florida House Education & Employment Committee.

Meghan Bowman is the WUSF Rush Family Radio News intern for spring of 2023.