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Steve Currall named University of South Florida president-elect

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: March 25, 2019

Steve Currall named University of South Florida president-elect

Dr. Steve Currall

TAMPA, Fla. (March 25, 2019) – The University of South Florida Board of Trustees (BOT) on Friday voted to name Dr. Steve Currall as the university’s president-elect.

Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University (SMU), will become USF’s seventh president, pending confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) next week.

Currall’s tenure would begin on July 1, 2019, succeeding Dr. Judy Genshaft, who will step down after 19 years at USF.

“I am thrilled to be selected to lead the University of South Florida at such a pivotal time in its history,” Currall said. “USF’s trajectory is unlike any other public university in the country, and there is so much promise. I’m deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees and the USF community for the opportunity to build on the momentum created during President Genshaft’s transformational tenure.”

USF BOT Chair Brian Lamb welcomed the president-elect in an introductory letter to the university community, highlighting Currall’s broad range of academic leadership experience at high-performing research universities. Lamb emphasized Currall’s time spent at institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), an invitation-only group of top universities in the U.S. and Canada that USF aspires to join, as well as his experience at universities with multiple campuses.

“We embarked on this search process with a clear vision of a leader who could continue USF’s success as a thriving preeminent research university, and take us to the next level,” Lamb said.  “Dr. Currall is that leader. He understands where we want to go as a university and as a region, and he has the experience and knowledge to get us there.”

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Dr. Judy Genshaft

Currall’s selection comes after a six-month search process that included three days of public interviews and open meetings on each of USF’s three campuses. The BOT chose Currall from a strong pool of four nationally regarded finalists for the position.

The president-elect requires approval by the BOG, which oversees Florida’s 12 public universities. The BOG will conduct a public interview and hold a confirmation vote on Thursday, March 28, during a meeting in Tallahassee.

“Early on we gathered a lot of valuable input from students, faculty, alumni and community members about the qualities they wanted in our next president,” said Les Muma, who served as chair of the broadly representative 15-member presidential search committee. “After a thorough national search process, Dr. Currall truly stood out as someone who has everything we’re looking for at the University of South Florida. I’m very confident he’s the right person to lead our university into the future.”

In his current role at SMU, Currall oversees all academic activities, plays a key role in managing the university’s budget and has led a campus-wide strategic planning process.  He is also the David B. Miller Endowed Professor and holds academic appointments in the Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and the Lyle School of Engineering.

Previously he worked at the University of California, Davis, an AAU member, serving as the chancellor’s senior advisor for strategic projects and initiatives, dean of the graduate school of management.  During his time in California, Currall was also vice chair of the board of directors and member of the executive committee for the 10-campus University of California system’s Global Health Institute.

His experience includes positions at AAU institutions Rice University, the University of Chicago and Cornell University.  On an international level, Currall spent time at University College London, serving as a professor and founding chair of the department of management science and innovation in the faculty of engineering sciences, where he was also a vice dean.

A psychological scientist, Currall has received more than $21 million in research grants, and taught for nearly three decades on organizational psychology topics such as innovation, emerging technologies, negotiation and corporate governance.  Currall was lead author of a book on university-business-government collaboration, he has served on several editorial review boards and he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A native of Kansas City, Mo., Currall earned a PhD in organizational behavior from Cornell, a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Baylor University.

Currall, 60, is married to Cheyenne Currall, PhD., vice president and executive advisor for global advancement at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

His full resume is available here.

More information about USF’s presidential search is available at www.usf.edu/7thpresident.

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