PSC presidential finalist fields questions, asks his own at forum – News – The Ledger

Edward Bonahue is a provost and vice president for academic affairs at Santa Fe College in Gainesville

LAKELAND — Polk State College presidential candidate Edward Bonahue took questions during a community forum Thursday morning at the Lakeland campus but also asked questions of his audience, participating in a bit of give and take.

Bonahure, a provost and vice president for academic affairs at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, is one of five finalists for the job of college president. On Thursday, he  addressed faculty, staff, students and community members in forums held on two campuses in Lakeland and Winter Haven, the Center for Public Safety.

Early in his career, Bonahue edited a literary magazine while also working as an English instructor at the University of North Carolina. He said, when he switched from teaching in the university system to teaching at a community college, he had to unlearn some university models.

Teaching is not about standing in front of a class performing but about student learning, he said.

During his 20-year career at Sante Fe College, he has worked as an instructor, an adviser and department chair before he went into senior management about nine years ago. He has served as co-chair of both the re-accreditation steering committee and the international education initiative.

He has a doctorate degree in English literature, specializing in Renaissance drama and 16th-century literature.  

Asked by Ryan Wallace, an aerospace instructor, how he would address performance-based funding, Bonahue said, although research suggests students would be more successful if they were full-time, “that does not make sense to a student who is working two jobs and taking care of a baby.”

“The Legislature is going to do what it will and we cannot ignore it,” Bonahue said. But, he said, “we must be pragmatic in meeting students where they are while being mindful of resources.”

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