TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 4, 2017) – The University of South Florida announced today the appointment of Paul Atchley, PhD as senior associate vice president and dean of undergraduate studies. Atchley, an experienced higher education leader and an internationally recognized researcher in cognitive science, will play a key role in providing a world-class student experience for the 30,000 undergraduates enrolled at USF Tampa. He begins his new position in January.
Atchley comes to USF from the University of Kansas, where he has served as a faculty member since 1998. He has published extensively in national and international academic journals, with his work covered by media outlets such as the BBC, NPR and the New York Times. Atchley is a widely sought-after speaker and consultant in his field of study and works with numerous national safety organizations to reduce distracted driving.
During his career, Atchley has received awards for service, teaching, research, and student advising, and has participated in interdisciplinary research teams that have received over $8 million in funding. As a faculty member and administrator in the psychology department, he created an innovative, nationally honored student success curriculum to improve students’ knowledge and ability to plan for the future. As an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he was responsible for building the first online degree programs, developing new analytical approaches to student advising and restructuring the curriculum to make it more student-focused.
“USF is pleased to welcome a student-centered educator and researcher,” USF Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox said. “Dr. Atchley is a dedicated scholar and innovator who understands the importance of student success, a founding principle of USF’s mission and vision.”
USF Tampa is recognized as a national leader in student success and has recently experienced unprecedented gains in both student retention and graduation rates. The six-year graduation rate dramatically improved from 48 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2017. The retention of first-year students has also climbed to an impressive 90 percent, reflecting the university’s success in helping students transition and adapt to the rigors of college.
“Any leader who truly cares about student success should want to join a team as strong as the one at USF,” Atchley said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this university as it continues on its path to success. USF is a leader in Florida and nationally in the way it welcomes all students and enables them to achieve a lifetime of meaning and purpose.”
USF’s Office of Undergraduate Studies works in partnership with colleges and faculty to develop, review, and enhance undergraduate programs, courses and curriculum, and to establish and administer academic policies. Undergraduate Studies also manages two academic programs, Applied Science and General Studies, along with numerous support programs and services to ensure student success.
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as “Emerging Preeminent,” placing USF in an elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.