When USF President Judy Genshaft took the stage at her University Address in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom on Wednesday, she delayed the speech to announce her appointment for USF’s second-in-command position.
Genshaft named Ralph Wilcox as the University’s executive vice president and senior vice provost after the Office of Research and Innovation conducted a five-month search to fill the position.
“(Wilcox is) one of the key people who will shape our strategic direction,” Genshaft said.
Wilcox served as the vice provost for Policy Analysis, Planning and Performance at USF from fall 2003 to fall 2007.
In January 2008, Wilcox was named interim provost when Renu Khator left USF to become the University of Houston’s president. Wilcox was appointed the remainder of Khator’s term.
“It’s very exciting. This is such a great University,” Wilcox said. “I’m just delighted and humbled to be able to provide the faculty, the staff and students the support they rightfully need.”
The president decides the length of a provost’s term. Genshaft said Wilcox will serve as provost for the next five years.
Wilcox was chosen from 50 applications that the search committee has reviewed since April.
“(He) is one of USF’s greatest advocates, the architect of our strategic plan,” Genshaft said.
In the last six years that Wilcox has been at USF, the University’s academic profile has advanced, Genshaft said.
She said incoming students’ test scores and grade point averages have increased, as well as the number of National Merit Scholars.
The Honors College has seen “huge success” and is the largest honors college in Florida, Genshaft said. Doctorate programs in government, history and sociology were added at USF.
“Wilcox shepherded these through our Board of Governors along with the doctorate in pharmacy,” Genshaft said. “This is just a remarkable feat and we’re so pleased with it.”
Wilcox said his main concern in the upcoming years at the University is student success.
“(I want to ensure) that the students are provided the support, the curriculum, the resources they need to graduate in a timely fashion to be able to compete successfully in the global marketplace of ideas,” Wilcox said.
Providing faculty with the support they need is just as important, he said.
Wilcox said the $15.1 million from the federal stimulus package helped the University hire 100 new adjunct faculty in USF Health, Academic Affairs and other colleges at the Tampa campus.
However, Wilcox said the stimulus funds don’t help USF’s long-term solutions because it’s one-time money. But he said it helped ensure students had enough instructors for the classes they need.
“The foundation of any great University is a world-class faculty,” he said. “That’s my goal: to strengthen the wonderful faculty we already have.”