Patricia Okker, Ph.D., was appointed president of New College of Florida on July 1, 2021, following a lengthy career at the University of Missouri.
After joining 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.
From 2017 to 2021, Okker served as dean of the College of Arts and Science, where she oversaw 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.
Her teaching and research interests include 19th-century American literature, American women writers, American periodicals, career preparation in the liberal arts, and writing and wellness. Okker holds three degrees in English language and literature: a bachelor’s degree with honors from Allegheny College, a master’s degree with distinction from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.