New College of Florida names Patricia Okker, Ph.D. as President-Elect

Dr. Patricia Okker
Dr. Patricia Okker(New College of Florida)
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 3:12 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - New College of Florida has named its new president-elect after an extensive search.

Patricia Okker, Ph.D., who has served as dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri since 2017, was chosen as president-elect by the New College of Florida Board of Trustees today following a national search. The new president, who is expected to assume the role on July 1, 2021, will succeed President Donal O’Shea, who has led New College since 2012.

The presidential selection now must go to an official confirmation vote by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System, during a public meeting on June 23 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus.

Dr. Okker joined the University of Missouri as an assistant professor of English in 1990. She was promoted to full professor in 2004, a year after winning the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.

From 2005 to 2011, Okker chaired the English Department, overseeing 70 full-time faculty and a $5.5 million annual budget. She then moved to the Provost’s Office, where she developed a new model for academic program reviews of 280 degree programs and led the university’s successful 10-year accreditation team.

Since 2017, Okker has served as dean of the College of Arts and Science, where she oversees 450 full-time faculty, 135 staff and 6,500 students across 26 departments and schools with an annual operating budget of $120 million. In her role as dean, she has raised the College’s graduation and retention rates by implementing a data-driven strategic plan for student success, and increased the diversity of the faculty.

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