Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Kimberly Andrews Espy has served as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio since June 2018. With more than two decades of higher education experience, she has earned a national reputation for advancing institutional, academic and student success; promoting faculty research and development; and deepening university-community partnerships and engagement.

Provost Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.

As UTSA’s chief academic officer, Dr. Espy oversees eight academic colleges; the academic support divisions, including Faculty Success, Academic Innovation, Undergraduate Studies, Career Engaged Learning, Continuous Improvement & Accreditation, Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies, Global Initiatives, Student Success, Strategic Enrollment, Student Affairs, and the Libraries, UTSA Art Collection and the Institute of Texan Cultures; in addition to cross-cutting teams Institutional Research and Analysis, Academic Finance & Administration, Academic Initiatives, and Academic Strategic Communications.

Throughout her career as an academic servant-leader, Dr. Espy has worked to promote social, intellectual and economic opportunity for all by intentionally enabling affordable access to, engaged belonging in, and successful completion of a top-quality R1 university education that well prepares students for their careers and future. Working collaboratively across every corner of campus, she has furthered an outstanding academic environment aligned with regional workforce needs, including the establishment of UTSA’s School of Data Science and the University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio (in partnership with UT Health San Antonio as prime), as well as reorganizations resulting in the College for Health, Community and Policy, the Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design, and the School of Art from the merger with Southwest School of Art.

In her role of Provost, Dr. Espy has focused on deepening student learning and career-readiness by actively recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, and by developing top tier programs that promote teaching innovation and research excellence. Through building institution-wide capabilities that facilitate external partnerships and support, such as the signature  Classroom-to-Career Initiative, UTSA students are gaining marketable skills through immersive learning experiences with industry, start-up, healthcare, federal agency, military-affiliated, and public service partners that equip them for their bold future. In recognition of this work, she received a 2022 Woman’s Leadership Award by the San Antonio Business Journal.

During her tenure, UTSA earned the distinction of identification as an R1 Institution by the Carnegie Foundation in 2021, and was invited to join the  Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities, building on the university’s long legacy of achievement as a Hispanic Serving Institution since 1994. Scholarly excellence and impact are at an all-time high, with record research activity and doctoral degrees awarded and approximately one in four doctoral graduates identifying as from underserved groups. UTSA was named a 2022 Degree Completion Finalist by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, in recognition of a 40% increase in degrees awarded, a 12-point improvement in six-year graduation rates and a four-month reduction in average time to degree under Dr. Espy’s leadership. UTSA also earned the prestigious Seal of  Excelencia from  Excelencia in Education in 2020, certifying the university’s intentionality and outcomes in advancing the opportunities and success of Latino, and by extension, all students.

Immediately prior to joining UTSA, Dr. Espy was senior vice president for research at the University of Arizona. As the chief research officer, Dr. Espy increased R&D proposals, awards and impact to record highs by strengthening cross-cutting transdisciplinary faculty efforts through the development services and support of centers and institutes that span from fundamental to translational, from the sciences to the humanities disciplines, as well as the three university museums. Focusing on strategic external partnerships, she was a member of the leadership team that developed and implemented the historic academic partnership with Banner Health, which achieved record growth in clinical trials, life science research and NIH awards. Building on the university’s historic strengths in space and optics, she also established the Defense Security Research Institute to promote university-industry-government partnerships that support mission-focused applications and education. Jointly with the provost, and in collaboration with the deans, department heads and faculty leaders, she also developed and implemented faculty cluster hiring and strategic hiring programs that spawned exciting programs addressing national grand challenges and garnered large-scale awards.

Prior to her post at Arizona, Dr. Espy served as vice president for research and innovation and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Oregon. There she partnered with community leadership and a sister university peer to secure funding from the Oregon state legislature to establish the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) to advance economic development and value to the state. Under her tenure, UO’s industry-focused professional master’s program was expanded to include Data Science, a campus-wide student Innovation Challenge (an out-of-classroom learning experience) was established, and new programs to diversify the graduate student body were initiated.

Dr. Espy started her academic career at Southern Illinois University, an institution focused on serving first-generation students, where she developed active problem-based learning pedagogies in teaching undergraduate, graduate and first-year medical students, as well as served as the founding director of the Center for Integrated Research in Cognitive and Neural Sciences. She then served as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s associate vice chancellor for research and as acting dean of Graduate Studies, where she developed collaborative interdisciplinary teams for large scale proposals, facilitated the ADVANCE initiative to increase the number of female and other diverse STEM faculty, and expanded graduate enrollment.

A translational clinical neuroscientist and investigator, Dr. Espy has earned more than $22 million in funding to study how young children control their attention to promote learning, academic and health outcomes, and how these skills get off track related to medical, environmental or social factors. She has authored more than 100 refereed journal articles; has given numerous keynotes, invited and scientific presentations nationally and across the globe; and chaired an NIH study section. She has mentored many undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and medical students, along with junior faculty — her past trainees currently hold positions at national and international institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, Cambridge University, Brown University, Johns Hopkins University Medical School and the University of Edinburgh.

Serving UTSA marks her return to Texas. Dr. Espy earned her bachelor's degree in psychology at Rice University and her master's and doctoral clinical neuropsychology degree at the University of Houston. Additionally, she completed a clinical/pediatric psychology internship at the University of Louisville School of Medicine/Bingham Child Guidance Center and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and is a licensed clinical psychologist.

Dr. Espy is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as of the American Psychological Association. Espy has served on numerous national and state leadership boards and committees, including Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the Government-Industry-University Research Roundtable, Council on Competitiveness, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, and the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science, Arizona Technology Council, Governor’s (OR) Regional Solutions Committee, and Shawnee Health Services.