Dosal is the vice president for Student Success at the University of South Florida (USF), where he manages a consolidated unit that combines Enrollment Planning and Management, Student Affairs and Undergraduate Studies. Since 2010, he has been responsible for coordinating university-wide efforts to raise retention and graduation rates, boost student satisfaction, minimize financial indebtedness and prepare all students for success in their careers or graduate and professional schools.
“Paul is an experienced leader with proven results in leading student success and well-being efforts,” says Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael D. Johnson. “Central to our plans for the future, as detailed in our new strategic plan, will be creating the culture, opportunities and support for our students to unleash their potential. Paul has the experience and passion to help us achieve this vision. I am delighted that he will bring his expertise to UCF.”
At USF, Dosal led the university-wide student success initiative to achieve the benchmarks established by the state of Florida to qualify for preeminence, a designation reserved for the state’s premier research universities, which USF attained in 2018. As a part of this initiative, and through a collaborative effort involving all colleges, campuses and units, Dosal helped lead USF to remarkable gains in undergraduate student success, including a 28-percentage point increase in six-year graduation rates (from 48% to 76%) during his 12-year administrative tenure.
“I view performance metrics as a tool to help us measure how well we serve our students as an institution,” says Dosal. “Focusing on initiatives to promote higher levels of performance is the right thing to do for our students. I am excited to build on the significant progress already made and develop a movement that will take UCF to the next level.”
In his role at UCF, Dosal will report to the provost and executive vice president and will serve as a member of the president’s cabinet to develop, implement and assess initiatives and programs that will provide focus and accountability for student success, well-being and completion efforts across the institution. He will also be responsible for cultivating an integrated, comprehensive and intentional student experience by creating an inclusive and student-centered environment that ensures all students who start here can finish here.
Dosal will work closely with Adrienne Frame, interim vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Services; Theodorea Berry, vice provost for Student Learning and Academic Success and Dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies; the deans; and the campus community to recommend the optimal structure for our activities related to student success moving forward.
Born and raised in Tampa, Dosal is a fourth-generation descendant of Cuban immigrants who settled in Ybor City in 1889. He earned his bachelor’s in international politics at St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He received his master’s in Latin American studies and Ph.D. in history at Tulane University in New Orleans. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of South Florida, he taught for nine years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
His scholarship focuses on the modern history of Cuba and the Caribbean region. He is the author of four books, including Comandante Che, a study of the military career of the legendary Latin American revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, and Doing Business with the Dictator, a history of the infamous United Fruit Company in Guatemala in the early 20th century.
The 16-member search committee, which included faculty, staff and student representatives, was co-chaired by Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, Dean of the Burnett Honors College, and Paige Borden, Chief Analytics Officer.