Two years ago, USF held a reception for Provost S. David Stamps to introduce him as the university’s new chief academic officer. Thursday, one day before that exact date, Stamps notified the university he would step down as provost.
Due to health concerns, Stamps said, he will leave the position in July and later return as a faculty member. USF President Judy Genshaft named Stamps as the provost and vice president for academic affairs April 9, 2001.
Stamps said he planned to serve as the provost for many years, but the demands of the job had a greater impact on his health than he expected.
“It’s not like I have terminal cancer. I have some continuing problems, and stress exacerbates those problems to a certain degree,” Stamps said Thursday night. “Sometimes your body begins to tell you what you need to do. But psychologically, I’m not ready to leave.”
Stamps will take a 12-month professional development leave with compensation before he returns as a faculty member in the sociology department. Stamps’ annual pay is $213,000.
Stamps, who began as a social sciences professor at USF in 1982, said the 12-month leave will prepare him to instruct students again.
“No. 1, I haven’t taught any classes in about nine years,” Stamps said. “I need to learn about Blackboard and all these new technologies.”
On July 1, Renu Khator, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will take over as interim provost until the university finds a successor.
Michael Reich, director of media relations, said Khator has the authority to appoint an interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. Reich said he is not sure when a new dean would be selected, but there is no deadline for Khator to meet in selecting an interim dean.
“There’s associate deans and other deans who will assist (in operating the college),” Reich said.
Reich added that the interim dean’s contract in Arts and Sciences would only be valid while Khator serves as the interim provost. Khator could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
In a letter Genshaft addressed to the university, she wrote, “Renu has exceptional leadership skills, and I know she will serve USF well in this time of transition.”
The provost position is the second most powerful in the university, oversees academics and acts as a liaison between students, faculty and staff.
While USF is staring at a possible $32-million budget cut, Stamps said a transition will not affect the financial operations of the university.
“We’ve developed a positive relationship with our board of trustees,” Stamps said. “I’m sure the interim provost will be extremely good in terms of getting finances for the university.”
Stamps served nine months as interim provost before a search committee appointed him out of 70 applicants. Before taking on the position, Stamps said teaching and research should be equally funded. In addition, Stamps wanted to have balance between colleges and disciplines.
Stamps said he has faced budget difficulties and shared governance issues between faculty and administration during his term. However, he said by following USF’s strategic plan, the university has advanced as a result.
“Yes, we’ve had some difficult times, but being able to work through those is a sense of accomplishment,” Stamps said. “We have made a maximum use of the resources that we’ve had.”
Stamps attributed the university’s advancement to the addition of multi-disciplinary Ph.D. programs, centers of excellence and new deans to the strategic plan.
“One thing about an institution is it can’t stand still. It either moves backward or forwards,” Stamps said. “Through the strategic plan, I know that we’ve been able to move the university forward.”
But Stamps said the provost alone cannot advance the university in standards of higher education. It is the provost’s relationship with administration and faculty that improves the university.
“We work as a team, it’s not only me,” Stamps said.