After working as interim vice president and campus executive officer of USF St. Petersburg for one year, Ralph Wilcox has been promoted to vice provost for campus relations and academic initiatives at the Tampa campus.
Wilcox replaces Catherine Batsche, who vacated in July.
Wilcox provided guidance to the St. Pete campus, which consists of about 4,000 students and more than 400 staff members.
In an effort to increase the independence of the St. Pete campus, Wilcox lead the establishment of three distinct colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the College of Education.
“These colleges would pursue their own separate accreditation,” Wilcox said. “These colleges are separate from the Tampa campus and they now have their own deans.”
Renu Khator, interim provost, said she was impressed with Wilcox’s record as a resourceful administrator at St. Pete.
“(Wilcox) has very good interpersonal skills. He is very good with process,” Khator said. “He knows the issues and he has worked very well with the faculty.”
Batsche took a one-year professional development leave and will be working on a variety of projects this year.
In an interview via e-mail, Batsche said she would be working with the Kellogg Foundation’s ENLACE grant, which aims to raise Latino student participation in higher education. Another project Batsche said she would be involved in is the USF Honors College.
“Most of my time at the Honors College this year will be spent learning more about the current program,” Batsche said. “(These) projects will overlap in that we will be able to increase the number of Latino students in the Honors College.”
Khator also said she had worked with Batsche quite a bit while Khator was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“I worked with her on movie theater projects, on regional campus issues, and on enrollment management, among other things,” Khator said.
According to Khator, Batsche left the position because she wanted to do something different, such as get involved in more scholarly projects.
“(Batsche) just said this was time … so it was a mutually agreed decision,” Khator said.
Batsche did not respond to e-mails requesting specifics about her departure from the vice provost position.
However, Stuart Silverman, dean of the Honors College, has said before that Batsche’s move to the vice provost’s office came after working with the Honors College for several years.
“I told her that if she ever left the provost office, we would love to have (her) back in Honors,” Silverman said.
Looking toward the future, Wilcox said there are various projects he wants to take on as vice provost.
Wilcox said he wants to make sure that the university’s research adheres to the USF strategic plan.
“We’re investing our resources in a strategic manner that ensures that we get the return on our investment dollars that we would want,” Wilcox said.
Gary Olson, interim associate vice president of academic affairs for the St. Pete campus, said he admires Wilcox’s innovative strategies for an improved USF.
“Dr. Wilcox is one of the most talented academic leaders that I’ve met. In many ways, he has a real vision,” Olson said. “(Wilcox) knows how to look into the future. He looks at what (USF) should have.”
Regarding his colleague’s new endeavor as vice provost, Olson said Wilcox will be a great addition to the main campus.
“I think (Wilcox) will be very good for USF Tampa and academic affairs,” Olson said. “He will bring a great deal of integrity and vision to that job.”
Khator said one of Wilcox’s immediate projects is to create new USF intercampus guidelines.
Now USF has campuses that are autonomous in many ways, she said.
“For example, the St. Petersburg campus is autonomous administrative and academically,” Khator said. “However, the other two campuses (Sarasota and Lakeland) are autonomous administratively, but academically they are still tied to the Tampa campus.”
The current intercampus guidelines were created in 1991, and according to Khator, do not represent the reality of today’s independence model.
This creates a complicated system of governance. However, Khator said, that’s where Wilcox should be able to help. He will create new guidelines to facilitate the dialogue between the main campus and the other USF campuses, she said.