University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides says he has no plans to leave Columbia after five years leading the states flagship college.
The work is not done, he said. I dont covet being the president of another university.
Pastides, 59, acknowledged he began thinking about what he would do after leaving USC with the recent decisions by presidents James Barker, 65, to retire from Clemson University and Ray Greenberg, 57, to leave the Medical University of South Carolina for a post at the University of Texas. (This month, George Benson, 67, also announced he would step down as president at the College of Charleston.)
But Pastides said he does not have an age in mind when he can see himself stepping away from the presidents desk. He said he will know it is time to step down when his energy runs out.
I dont want to be a tired, bedraggled president, Pastides said. I dont want to be at 70 percent of my game and say, I love my job, and Ill do this forever, and have people say, I knew him when he was at the top of his game. Im going to leave before that.
Pastides wife, Patricia Moore-Pastides, said she cannot see her husband taking another presidents job.
These people who move to become president again: How do they have the same feeling about the second place? she asked. When you move, its for another reason. You want to be at another kind of university or for your own advancement. Id like him to not have another presidency because its so all-consuming.
Id like for his last job to be something like part-time consulting that would give us time to travel around and see our grandkids.
Pastides sees his next job as being at a foundation, with a mission such as promoting public health or greater access to higher education.
It would be awfully nice to be giving away money rather than begging for it, he said.
Some issues that Harris Pastides and his leadership team said they would tackle over the next few years at the University of South Carolina:
Finishing new buildings and expanding new programs: USC will open a new, $106.5 million business school building next year and a new, $80 million law school building in 2016. The university will continue expanding its online college and courses offered in an expanded summer semester.
Performance-based funding: Pastides is pushing for a new funding formula for state colleges that would eliminate reliance on historical funding levels. Instead, colleges would get state money based on their financial health, the number of South Carolinians they educate, their graduation rate and success in preparing students for the workforce. The funding of public higher education has to get wiser for the taxpayers and for us, Pastides said. Gov. Nikki Haley said Pastides is not scared to prove the funding he deserves.
Tuition: Pastides wants to meet with state leaders to find a way to tackle South Carolinas high public college tuitions seventh-highest in the nation, on average and low state funding. S.C. schools get the third-lowest percentage of their revenue from state budgets.
From governments perspective, were to blame (for high tuition), and we believe theyre to blame. Lets get together and say its not one or the other. Whats the right price of higher education in South Carolina? You cant scale back quality. Theres not enough extra to trim back, so its either going to come out of families or from state tax revenue.
Online education: Build USCs presence around the world with online education courses in engineering, science and business.
K-12 : Pastides also mentioned the possibility of using USCs growing online presence, expanding with its new Palmetto College, to help improve K-12 education in the state.
New research areas: USC will consider defining new research initiatives in terms of specific problems that people can understand, such as the causes of obesity, provost Michael Amiridis said. The last research initiatives, which came a decade ago under then-President Andrew Sorensen, were under the broad headings of energy, nanotechnology, the environment and medical sciences.
Public safety: USC will continue working with Columbia officials for a more secure city and campus, including the Five Points entertainment district that is popular with students. We want to be ahead of this issue, Pastides said. There are going to be problems. You dont ever want to look back and say, We knew that was going to happen.
The University of South Carolina has undertaken nearly $600 million in construction and renovation projects since Aug. 1, 2008, when Harris Pastides started as president. A look at the projects, their cost and status:
Academic and research
|Darla Moore School of Business building||$106.5 million||Under construction|
|Law school building||$80 million||In design|
|Close-Hipp Building renovations||$30 million||In design|
|School of Journalism and Mass Communications building||$18 million||Construction starts in January|
|Horizon building||$58 million||Under construction|
|Discovery building||$45.1 million||Under construction|
|Hamilton College renovation||$15 million||In design|
|ETV property acquisition||$5.3 million||Complete|
|Booker T. Washington building renovations||$2.45 million||Complete|
|Sumwalt Laboratory renovations||$1.9 million||Complete|
|Broadcast studio construction||$1.5 million||In design|
|Coker Life Sciences laboratory renovation||$1.15 million||Complete|
Housing and student services
|Patterson Hall renovations||$32.6 million||Complete|
|Womens Quad renovations||$27.2 million||Under construction|
|Student health center||$27 million||In design|
|Rutledge College and Legare-Pinckney renovation||$11.1 million||Complete|
|Harper-Elliott renovations||$4.2 million||Complete|
|Maxcy College renovations||$4.1 million||Complete|
|Rice Athletics Center||$11.7 million||Complete|
|Athletic Village infrastructure||$16.6 million||Under construction|
|Gamecock Park tailgating lot||$15.5 million||Complete|
|Indoor football practice facility||$14.5 million||In design|
|Softball stadium||$8 million||Complete|
|Williams-Brice Stadium video board||$6.5 million||Complete|
|Tennis center||$5.3 million||Complete|
|Outdoor football practice fields||$3 million||Construction starts later this year|
|Discovery parking garage||$19 million||Complete|
|Horizon parking garage||$15.5 million||Complete|
|Athletic village garage and maintenance facility||$8.8 million||Complete|
|Spigner House renovation||$1.1 million||Complete|