Ralph C. Wilcox, Provost

Professor Ralph Wilcox has served as Provost and Executive Vice President at the University of South Florida since September 2009. Previously, he held the positions of Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (from January 2008), and Vice Provost (from 2003 to 2007), with primary responsibilities for policy analysis, planning, and performance.

As Provost, Dr. Wilcox is the chief academic officer at one of the largest and most diverse public research universities in the United States, serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee. With an annual operating budget of $1.9 billion, USF is a Carnegie-classified Doctoral University – Highest Research Activity (R1) as well as a Community Engaged University, delivering 244 degree programs across 13 colleges. In 2018, the Florida Board of Governors designated USF as the state’s third Preeminent State Research University. Currently ranked 46th among national public institutions, USF is the fastest rising university, public or private, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Hailed as "an exceptionally talented academic leader, researcher and educator" by USF’s Past President Judy Genshaft, Dr. Wilcox has guided USF’s academic planning, implementation and accountability initiatives that have perennially positioned the university among Florida’s highest performing institutions of higher education. USF led the Florida State University System in Performance Based Funding in 2020. The first in his family to graduate from college, Wilcox has driven unparalleled gains in student retention and completion rates, eliminating achievement gaps on the basis of race and socioeconomic status. For these achievements USF received the 2019 American Council on Education/Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation. Today, USF is an acknowledged national leader in student success. At the same time, a burgeoning research portfolio (with $405 M in research expenditures in 2018-19) has taken USF into the ranks of the nation’s top public research universities, a position complemented by worldwide leadership in translational research and commercialization. Moreover, Wilcox has been instrumental in extending the university’s global reach and reputation, and in 2013 USF received the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization from NAFSA: The Association of International Educators, and the 2019 Association of Public and Land Grant Universities’ Award for Global Learning, Research, and Engagement.  In 2018, USF was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society.

Professor Wilcox has served as chair of the Council of Academic Vice Presidents of the Florida State University System and presently Chairs the Florida Board of Governors’ Steering Committee on Online Education and Innovation. He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

He formerly served the USF System as Interim Vice President and Campus Executive Officer of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and has held tenured faculty and administrative appointments at the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, and Hofstra University, along with academic appointments at Stony Brook University and the University of Edinburgh.

His own scholarly expertise is focused on cultural studies and globalization — a fundamental aspect of his long history of community and global engagement, as well as his strong advocacy for interdisciplinary collaboration. He has presented his work extensively and has published two books and numerous articles in leading peer reviewed national and international journals. He has received upward of $10 million in research contracts and grants.

Professor Wilcox earned his Ph.D. degree from the University of Alberta, Canada, a M.Sc., degree from Washington State University, and a baccalaureate degree (Hons) from St. Luke’s College of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. He was selected as a Fellow of the American Council on Education (ACE) in 2001 and was recently elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2020. Among other honors, he is a recipient of the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Research Fellowship, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree by the University of Exeter in 2015, and was elected foundation member of the Eta of Florida Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 2019.