Steven C. Currall
Steven C. Currall is a professor in the Muma College of Business’ School of Information Systems and Management and served as the seventh president of the University of South Florida (USF). Currently, he is a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (on sabbatical from USF).
During his presidency, USF successfully consolidated all three campuses into a single-accredited university, broke into the top 50 among public universities on U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for the first time, raised approximately $230 million, and completed (or began) construction of new facilities totaling $346 million and 767,000 square feet.
Currall led development of USF’s 10-year strategic plan that provides the vision for the university to advance toward its goals of becoming a top 25 public university and reaching eligibility for membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU). Currall’s leadership also helped guide the university community through the COVID-19 crisis, including allocating over $1 million to create USF’s Pandemic Response Research Network to foster new research on COVID-19 treatments and solutions. He initiated new USF programs in support of diversity and inclusion, spearheaded the creation of USF’s Principles of Community, and took steps to enhance compliance, sound budgeting practices, and operational excellence.
He co-led the formation of a strategic alliance between USF and Tampa General Hospital (TGH) to integrate the clinical operations of USF Health and TGH (1,400 health care providers across 46 locations).
Currall approved USF’s Institute of Applied Engineering, which secured a $85 million, five-year contract with U.S. Special Operations Command. The Institute assists the federal government in defense-related fields such as autonomous systems and sensor technologies. In 2020, Currall hired Mike McConnell, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence, to lead Cyber Florida, which is a research and education center administered by USF. Previously, while living in California, Currall served as an Honorary Commander, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California.
Prior to his role at USF, Currall was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University where he oversaw all academic colleges/schools and led strategic planning efforts to enhance SMU’s academic quality and stature. Together with the leadership of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Currall co-designed the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative.
At the University of California, Davis, Currall served as senior adviser to the chancellor for strategic projects and initiatives, which included co-chairing a campus-wide strategic visioning exercise to position UC Davis for the 21st century. Currall co-chaired a committee charged with growing research expenditures to $1 billion. He served as the principal investigator for the $1 million U.S. Department of Commerce i6 Challenge grant to create the Sustainable Agricultural Technology Innovation Center at UC Davis.
At UC Davis, he also served as dean of the Graduate School of Management. During his tenure as dean, the school was the fastest rising business school in the country in the 2013 Forbes magazine biennial ranking of top-100 full-time MBA programs and the fastest rising top-50 business school in the country in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report full-time MBA ranking.
At University College London, Currall was the founding chair of the Department of Management Science and Innovation in the Faculty (School) of Engineering Sciences, where he was also a vice dean. While in London, he was a visiting professor of organizational behavior and entrepreneurship at the London Business School.
From 1993 to 2005, Currall served in several roles at Rice University, including the William and Stephanie Sick Professorship of Entrepreneurship, an endowed professorship in the George R. Brown School of Engineering. He was also a tenured associate professor in the Jones Graduate School of Management. At Rice, he founded the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which assisted in the launch of more than 160 new technology start-up companies that raised in excess of $300 million in equity capital. Currall received Stanford University’s Price Foundation Innovative Entrepreneurship Educator Award, Grand Velocity Award for Academic Entrepreneurship (Kelley School of Business, Indiana University), and Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (southeast Texas region).
Currall is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (United Kingdom). His scholarly research and teaching focuses on organizational psychology topics such as innovation, trust, emerging technologies, negotiation and corporate governance. He has been a personal grantee on $23.5 million in research funding, over 80 percent of which came from refereed grants from the National Science Foundation or National Institutes of Health.
Currall was lead author of a book on university-business-government collaboration titled, Organized Innovation: A Blueprint for Renewing America's Prosperity (Oxford University Press), the culmination of a National Science Foundation-funded 10-year research project on interdisciplinary research involving science, engineering and medicine.
He has served as a member of several editorial review boards, including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Organization Science. He has been quoted in publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television, and the Nightly Business Report on public television.
Additional service on advisory groups include membership of the Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group, which provided input to the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is a member of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, a group of business leaders and university presidents that bolsters America’s investments in talent, technology, innovation and infrastructure.
Currall’s board service has included: The 10-campus University of California system’s Global Health Institute; University of South Florida – Tampa General Physicians (strategic alliance for clinical integration between USF and Tampa General Hospital); H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute; Tampa Bay Partnership; Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (University Advisory Committee); California Life Sciences Association; San Francisco Bay Area Council; Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance; BioHouston; and Houston Technology Center.
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Currall earned a PhD in organizational behavior from Cornell University, a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in psychology (cum laude) from Baylor University. Currall was a visiting scholar in the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
- Currall, Steven C., and Venkatesh Narayanamurti. “Fostering Innovation to Strengthen US Competitiveness Through the National Science Foundation.” Issues in Science and Technology ().
- S. C. Currall, E. Frauenheim, S. J. Perry, and E. M. Hunter, Organized Innovation: A Blueprint for Renewing America’s Prosperity (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2014).
- E. M. Hunter, S. J. Perry, and S. C. Currall, “Inside multi-disciplinary science and engineering research centers: The impact of organizational climate on invention disclosures and patents,” Research Policy 40, no. 9 (2011): 1226–1239.
- S. J. Perry, E. M. Hunter, and S. C. Currall, “Managing the innovators: Organizational and professional commitment among scientists and engineers,” Research Policy 45, no. 6 (2016): 1247–1262.