FSCJ president announces she will retire at semester's end

Dr. Cynthia A. Bioteau tells college's trustees it's time for her to move on

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The president of Florida State College at Jacksonville will retire at the end of the spring semester, according to a letter she sent Monday to the college's trustees.

Dr. Cynthia A. Bioteau took the reigns of FSCJ four years ago and said she is proud of what the college has accomplished under her watch.

One of those accomplishments was navigating FSCJ out of the probation the U.S. Department of Education imposed over a financial aid crisis that forced the college to pay the federal government $3.4 million.

Bioteau and her team decided to eliminate positions and outsource some work in the financial aid department to repay the debt and get things back on track.

"It wasn't just financial aid," Bioteau told News4Jax. "There were some broken processes here that didn't lead to transparency, that didn't lead to a one college approach."

READ: President of FSCJ announces intent to retire

Bioteau also pointed to $38.8 million in federal and state grants the college has secured in her four years and an improvement in student retention from 68 percent to 77 percent.

“My integrity, purpose, passion and vision have been the cornerstones with which I have walked hand in hand with our students, employees and community,” Bioteau wrote.

With nearly 50,000 students attending the college each year, Bioteau said each campus was not held to the same standard. Campuses were offering different resources and learning experience depending on the part of town it was in. She said in her four years her team has changed that and now she's ready to retire.

She said she was announcing her intent to retire now to give the board reasonable notice before she leaves the position.

The board of trustees will come together and hold a special meeting to begin the process of finding a new president. Bioteau told News4Jax that she already has a good idea of the characteristics that would make a good successor: someone who understands higher education, budget and finance. 

"A person with a remarkable sense of humor," Bioteau said. "There are some days that if you don't have your sense of humor, you'll not come back."

Bioteau said there is still work to be done. For example, the college is still transitioning to a new digital business management system that will create more transparency for students and staff. 

Bioteau said that after retirement, she plans to work part-time as an education consultant. She said if the board asks, she will assist in the hiring process for a new president.