New Provost Embraces USF’s Distinctive Mission

Donald E. Heller has been selected as the university’s new provost and academic vice president, following a nationwide search that included 250 candidates. He will begin his new job as the head of USF’s academic and student life divisions by Feb. 1.

Heller, who holds a doctorate in higher education from Harvard University, comes to USF from Michigan State University (MSU), where he served as dean of the College of Education and professor since 2012. 

While at MSU, Heller increased the number of tenure-stream faculty of color in the College of Education 52 percent and has worked closely with governments, higher education institutions, and policy organizations to craft policies and programs that promote college access and success for first-generation, minority, and low-income students.

“I was drawn to USF primarily because of the distinctive mission of the institution, with its focus on social justice, diversity, and educating the next generation of leaders,” Heller says. “Higher education is facing many challenges today, and I believe that those universities with such a distinctive mission — and the resources and people to support it — are the ones that will thrive into the future.”