University of South Florida


Update on search for USF’s VP Research

Dear USF community,

I’m writing to provide an update on the search for USF’s next Vice President for Research. The initial search, which began in the spring, was put on hold when the transition of leadership at USF was announced in early July.

The strength of USF’s research enterprise remains one of the most important factors in the university’s upward trajectory during the past decade. It is also a critical component of the student experience, enriching their education through real-world, relevant applications.  USF now ranks in the top 50 universities, public or private, for research expenditures.

To support this momentum, I have relaunched the search for the next Vice President for Research by appointing a new Search Advisory Committee. Karen Holbrook, Regional Chancellor of the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, has agreed to chair the committee, and Angie Sklenka, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, will provide additional support. 

The new search will focus on internal candidates and the appointment will be for a two-year term with the possibility of renewal.

I have charged the Search Advisory Committee to put together a highly qualified, diverse candidate pool that reflects outreach to and input from their internal networks and critical stakeholders. Their goal is to identify, recruit and encourage internal nominations and applications. The committee will conduct an independent review of the candidate pool and recommend to me a list of individuals they collectively deem most highly qualified.

Their efforts will include input from members of the Research Executive Sponsorship Group (RESG), comprising six college deans and chaired by Dean Julie Serovich, all of whom will serve as members of the Search Advisory Committee. The RESG will provide ongoing counsel and support following the appointment of our next Vice President for Research for the full two-year term.  

The Search Advisory Committee met on Sept. 14 to begin its work and to discuss a timeline that reflects the urgency of filling this position at USF.

Members of the Search Advisory Committee are:

  • Karen Holbrook, Committee Chair, Professor and Regional Chancellor, USF Sarasota-Manatee campus  
  • Vonzell Agosto, Professor, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, College of Education 
  • Norma Alcantar, Professor, Department of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, College of Engineering and Research Foundation Board member 
  • Diane Allen-Gipson, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Taneja College of Pharmacy, and Chair, USF Faculty Senate Research Council 
  • Robert Bishop, Professor and Dean, College of Engineering and President and CEO of the Institute of  Applied Engineering 
  • John Cleveland, Executive Vice President and Center Director, Moffitt Cancer Center 
  • Kyaien Conner, Associate Professor, Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences 
  • Brian Connolly, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Robert Deschenes, Associate Dean for Research, USF-Moffitt Research Partnership and Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine 
  • Eric Eisenberg, Professor and Dean, College of Arts and Sciences  
  • Sidney Fernandes, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer 
  • Tom Frazer, Professor and Dean, College of Marine Science  
  • Caroline Fultz-Carver, Chief Compliance Officer, Office of Compliance & Ethics  
  • Kiri Kilpatrick, Associate Director, Postdoctoral Affairs and Graduate Student Development, Office of Graduate Studies 
  • Charles Lockwood, Senior Vice President for USF Health, Professor and Dean, Morsani College of Medicine  
  • Monica McClanahan, Director of Federal Government Relations 
  • Usha Menon, Professor and Dean, College of Nursing  
  • Pritish Mukherjee, Vice Provost and Associate Vice President, Strategic Talent Recruitment, University Reputation, and Impact, and Professor, Department of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Julie Serovich, Professor and Dean, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, and Chair, Research Executive Sponsorship Group (RESG) 
  • Paul Sohl, CEO, Florida High Tech Corridor Council 
  • Martin Tadlock, Professor and Regional Chancellor, USF St. Petersburg campus  
  • Sarah Yuan, Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, College of Medicine 

I want to thank in advance the members of this committee for their service and participation. I also wish to thank those who worked so hard in the spring to support the initial search. We are also grateful to Keith Anderson, Assistant Vice President for Research & Innovation, for continuing to serve as acting leader of USF Research & Innovation throughout this transition.


Rhea F. Law

Return to article listing