University of South Florida


Update on the provost search and a new position on my cabinet

Dear USF community,

When I interviewed for the position of USF president, I said that one of my first and most important priorities was the selection of our next provost – someone who could help build on our momentum and take USF to new heights of academic excellence. As one of the most important roles on my leadership team and a key complement to my role as president, this is a selection I do not take lightly.

Over the past several months, we engaged in a robust search process, which reflected USF’s promising trajectory and rising national profile. During the search, it became apparent to me that one of our candidates, Interim Provost Eric Eisenberg, has a broad and unique skill set that will be exceptionally important as we seek to distinguish ourselves as a model metropolitan research university.  Specifically, his deep relationship with our communities—with businesses, nonprofits and governments—and his far-reaching institutional knowledge suggest to me a different calling, specifically to lead the way in pursuing Goal Three in our Strategic Plan, “Partnerships and engagement with local, national, and global impact.”

For this reason, I have asked Dr. Eisenberg to withdraw from the provost search and to step into a newly created role on my cabinet, senior vice president of university-community partnerships. In this role, Dr. Eisenberg will develop a cohesive and intentional strategy around USF’s community engagement. I am grateful that Dr. Eisenberg has agreed to continue his duties as interim provost while we search for a new provost through the spring. I look forward to sharing more details with the university community around his new role soon.

In light of this decision, I have decided to continue the provost search until we find the best possible fit with the right vision and experience. I am grateful to our other finalists for their interest in USF, their willingness to participate in our search process and I wish them well in their careers. I am very appreciative of the hard work of our search committee under the leadership of Chair John Ramil and Vice Chair Balaji Padmanabhan, and I will share more details about the next steps soon. 

To the USF community, I thank you for your trust and patience as we work to advance this university’s remarkable trajectory. Please join me in extending my gratitude and congratulations to Dr. Eisenberg for his contributions and impact on our university, now and into the future.


Rhea F. Law

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