Flashback: Orlando Sentinel: U. of Arkansas: Senator not enrolled; Mike Haridopolos plans to transfer his quest for a Ph.D. to FSU.
Key Point: “Haridopolos, R-Indialantic, said Wednesday that he intends to enroll at FSU as soon as the legislative session that begins Tuesday comes to an end. He said he thinks he can get his degree in a year because he completed the required course work in Arkansas and already has a jump on his dissertation about the rise of the Republican Party in Florida.”
1) After saying he could finish his Ph.D. in a year, why now three years later has he not completed that degree?
2) Since the dissertation topic described then is remarkably similar what he claims his book “Florida Legislative History and Processes” is about, did sell the book as his dissertation after also using it to bilk Florida’s taxpayers?
3) What role, if any, has FSU Professor Stephen MacNamara, now Haridopolos’ $175,000 a year Chief of Staff played in Haridopolos’ working towards his FSU degree?
February 28, 2008
U. of Arkansas: Senator not enrolled; Mike Haridopolos plans to transfer his quest for a Ph.D. to FSU.
Luis Zaragoza, Sentinel Staff Writer
State Sen. Mike Haridopolos, responding to his controversial hiring at the University of Florida, said last week that he was working toward a Ph.D. in history at the University of Arkansas.
UF said the same in a news release announcing his $75,000-a-year job as a lecturer.
But officials at the University of Arkansas said Wednesday that Haridopolos hasn’t been enrolled there since 2000.
Haridopolos now says he is giving up on Arkansas and planning to switch to Florida State University.
Continuing to pursue his doctoral dreams at Arkansas “is not feasible,” he said Wednesday after the Sentinel asked about his status there.
The academic status of Haridopolos, who is scheduled to become Senate president two years from now, came under scrutiny after faculty and watchdog groups questioned his hiring at UF amid budget cuts.
Haridopolos has a master’s degree from Arkansas, which meets the minimum job requirement for lecturers. But his salary is more in line with tenured professors who typically have doctorates, faculty members say.
UF officials say putting Haridopolos on the payroll gives students access to an experienced legislator working in the upper echelons of state government.
Haridopolos, R-Indialantic, said Wednesday that he intends to enroll at FSU as soon as the legislative session that begins Tuesday comes to an end. He said he thinks he can get his degree in a year because he completed the required course work in Arkansas and already has a jump on his dissertation about the rise of the Republican Party in Florida.
“I’m well versed in the subject,” he said.
One faculty member who is critical of Haridopolos’ hiring at UF says he should have been more upfront about his progress toward his doctorate in Arkansas.
“You’ve got to have a home institution and be enrolled in a graduate program to make that claim,” said Jack E. Davis, an associate professor in UF’s history department.
“What I see in all this is backpedaling.”
A UF spokesman disagreed.
“I don’t think he misrepresented himself,” said Steve Orlando. “You can be actively working on a doctorate without being enrolled.”
Davis added that Haridopolos’ hiring left some faculty upset because budget cuts are forcing UF to hire fewer adjunct, or temporary, instructors. That will lead to larger class sizes and make it more difficult for instructors to spend time with individual students, he said.
Whether Haridopolos had a doctorate or was close to earning one didn’t come up during the job-interview process because it wasn’t a job requirement, said Joe Glover, interim dean of UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“I had no idea he was working on a dissertation,” he said. “What we saw was someone with extensive real-life experience that would be very valuable for students.”
It’s not unusual for working people such as Haridopolos to take 10 or more years to complete a doctorate, he added.
Haridopolos left the Arkansas graduate program in history in 2000, the year he was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives.
Haridopolos said Wednesday that he has kept working on his dissertation intermittently through the years. He said he expects to be able to transfer his Arkansas course work to FSU.
He says he’s confident he can juggle his work at UF with his leadership role in the Legislature while also working on his degree at FSU. As Senate president, Haridopolos will be expected to maintain a high profile and raise money for Republican candidates and the state party.
“I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people,” he said.
He also will wield considerable influence over the state budget, including money given to state universities, as Senate president.
Haridopolos will split his time between UF’s political-science department and the university’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service. The center trains students to work in government.
Haridopolos isn’t teaching classes this semester because his leadership role in the Senate doesn’t leave him time. Instead, he might teach an undetermined number of classes in the fall. Meanwhile, he will dedicate any spare time he has to lining up internships in government for UF students, he said.
Haridopolos taught a course at UF in 1995 as an adjunct instructor in the political-science department.
“I’ve been a full-time professor since before I was elected to office,” he said last week. “This is just continuing my career.”
Haridopolos was on the Brevard Community College faculty from 1993 until 2003, when he won his Senate seat.
Before landing the UF job, Haridopolos had earned nearly $40,000 a year from 2005 to 2007 under a contract with Brevard Community College.
His duties centered on writing a book combining history with his experiences in government. The new book — his first as sole author, he said — is finished and ready for publication. His first book — 10 Big Issues Facing Our Generation — was written with former Brevard Community College colleague Amy E. Hendricks and published in 1998.