Provost's Faculty Address

USF Provost Ralph Wilcox calls for a focus on student success as the Fall 2012 semester gets underway.


USF Provost made his Faculty Address at the Oval Theatre.                                             Photo: Aimee Blodgett | USF News


From USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 24, 2012) – In his faculty address Friday, University of South Florida Provost Ralph Wilcox noted accomplishments made during the past year, along with emphasizing the need to continue to focus on student success.


“Throughout the years of fiscal uncertainty and higher education’s continuing metamorphosis, one thing remains clear, we must not lose sight of our primary raison d’etre, that is, ensuring our students’ success,” Wilcox said. “While this must be a goal that is embraced by our students, parents, and community, including our elected officials, above all it falls squarely on the shoulders of each and every member of the USF community, including our professors, our academic advisors, and university leadership.”


Looking at the landscape of the internet age, Wilcox said information and content is readily available and higher education today is more about “effective student learning and demonstrable attainment, a space where the liberal arts, in particular, can help shape those critical thinking, creative problem-solving, communication, analytical, collaborative and global literary skills that will be so essential to our students, their future employers and society in the 21st century.”


He encouraged faculty to work harder to help shape a student’s experience at USF, and point out to them the value of receiving a degree in four years.


Wilcox said he believes the quality of achievements of faculty and graduates is the best way to measure a university’s success.


“It is they who, over time, are responsible for building and growing our institutional reputation throughout the world of higher education,” he said. “We can’t forget that intellectual talent is our primary asset, and we must continue our focus and commitment to recruiting, supporting and retaining the best, brightest and most creative minds.”


In the address from the Oval Theatre in the Marshall Student Center, Wilcox took time to mark several accomplishments during the past year. Those included:


-          USF is now ranked in the top 50 among U.S. universities, both public and private, in research expenditures.

-          USF conferred more than 10,000 degrees this year; an increase of 48 percent from seven years ago.

-          This year’s freshman class is the most talented in terms of SAT/ACT scores and high school grade point average.

-          The opening of USF Health’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning & Simulation, in downtown Tampa.

-          The renovations to the Sun Dome

-          The opening of a new Advanced Visualization Center, a SMART Lab and a Job Shop in the USF Library.