What does a college president actually do?

Duties include leadership role on and off campus

Presidents at major universities can pull in big salaries. Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the University of Florida, earns $507,808 a year ($200,000 from public funds).

But what does a university president actually do to earn that kind of salary? We asked officials at the University of Florida for a job description.

"President Machen's overarching mission is to provide the university with long-range strategic vision," said Steve Orlando, senior director of media relations at the Univ. of Florida.

Machen oversees 50,000 students, 4,000 faculty, and 28,000 employees.  His job, essentially, is to be a leader for the school- both on campus and off.

Internally, presidents are expected to meet with students and faculty and address their concerns. They provide a leadership role, and are influential in how many is spent at the school. It's a 24/7 job.

"He may receive a call in the middle of the night about an emergency on campus," Orlando said.

Machen also uses his office to push forward initiatives for the university, such as expanding online courses, hiring more faculty, and increasing the energy efficiency of the university. He's been credited with reorganizing the UF Health Science Center and creating the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. The president is also responsible for the school's athletic program, which is a major source of revenue.

Outside the university, fundraising is a big part of the president's job. Facing deep cuts from the state, it's more important than ever for the University of Florida to find private sources of money. Presidents also meet with lawmakers, businesses, and other leaders who can make a positive impact on the school. They are also expected to raise the profile of the school at home and abroad.

"Evenings and weekends are frequently filled with functions such as fundraisers, out-of-town meetings or receptions with international visitors," Orlando said.

Tonight at 11: The I-Team is investigating why many Florida universities haven't cut back on their administration staff at a time when budgets are being slashed and tuition is on the rise.

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