UTSA welcomes a new provost and vice president for academic affairs, Kimberly Andrews Espy. She has returned to Texas after serving as senior vice president for research at the University of Arizona. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Rice University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology and clinical neuropsychology, respectively, at the University of Houston.
“Dr. Espy is an esteemed scholar and administrator with proven leadership at large, Carnegie R1 (research-intensive) and Association of American Universities Institutions,” says President Taylor Eighmy. “She has an unparalleled commitment to students, to faculty, and the role that research universities play in solving society’s grand challenges.”
As UTSA’s chief academic officer, Espy oversees nine colleges, the Graduate School, and libraries, in addition to other offices that support students, faculty, and institutional success. UTSA is proud to have her as our academic architect.
What attracted you to the provost’s role at UTSA? I’m one who enjoys bringing diverse colleagues together to build and do. This university is on the move—with new leadership and ambitious goals by the UT System and our state. The San Antonio community is hungry for this university to continue to grow and thrive. What could be more fun than being a part of that.
What are your initial priorities? Students come first. Everything we do should be about supporting our students and their success. We’re so fortunate to have so many talented students whose whole world is being transformed by their UTSA experience in and out of the classroom—and that’s cool! That’s my priority—to make UTSA as fundamental to their development as a happy, productive citizen.
You’ve worked at an AAU-designated university before. Do you see similarities and opportunities with UTSA? One of the strong similarities is dedication. I find our UTSA faculty are equally dedicated to their craft—whether it’s creating new knowledge or sharing knowledge.
What has surprised you the most about UTSA? This is not a surprise, but what’s striking is how friendly everyone is—in a really genuine way. Everyone is so open and welcoming. That’s special and not true everywhere.
What is your best piece of advice for students? Work hard and make sure to take advantage of all the out-of-classroom experiences. Meet new people who aren’t like yourself, and get involved in something you never thought you would like. So go to a football game, even if your inclination is to spend all your time in the art studio or in the lab. You may discover interests and talents you didn’t know you had, and you may learn something about how the world works. College is the time to embrace life.
Help us to get to know you better. What are you reading right now? Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, by Thomas Friedman. I love this book. It talks about how rapidly the world is changing in ways people don’t realize and what it means for the economy of human capital that universities are all about producing.
What’s your favorite thing to do away from UTSA? I like to hike. I love walking in the woods and in the neighborhoods around the Main Campus. This area has such a unique beauty.
What do you like most about San Antonio? The same thing I like about UTSA: the friendliness of everyone. San Antonians have that sense of integrity and independence Texas is known for, but also a culturally open and embracing attitude, which I think is such a totally cool combination.
How are you most like our mascot, the Roadrunner? It would be fair to say I move quickly—but deliberately. I have places to be!