Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter

Ralph J. Hexter

Ralph Hexter arrived at UC Davis on January 1, 2011, to become provost & executive vice chancellor. He also holds an appointment as distinguished professor of classics and comparative literature.

As provost and executive vice chancellor, he serves as the number two person in the UC Davis administration, reporting directly to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and representing the chancellor in her absence. He is the campus’s chief academic officer and, in that post, oversees the work of the deans and serves as the chancellor's principal liaison to the Academic Senate. He is responsible for guiding the development of academic priorities and strategies; working with the deans to recruit and retain a diverse and talented faculty; and in coordination with the chancellor, leading the university's strategic planning process, allocating resources to advance strategic priorities, and, with his fellow vice chancellors, managing the daily operation of the campus.

Provost Hexter’s direct reports include the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Vice Provost for Global Affairs (formerly UOIP), Vice Provost for Graduate Education, CIO/Vice Provost for Information and Educational Technology, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Chief of Police, Chief Compliance Officer, and the Directors of both the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

At UC Davis, Provost Hexter plays a central role in:

  • Fostering student success and ensuring the accessibility and affordability of a UC Davis education;
  • Improving graduate student support and increasing program options;
  • Enabling faculty to do their best work, in their research and in the classroom;
  • Promoting diversity in recruitment of students and hiring of faculty and staff, and supporting the university’s Principles of Community, which define the campus as a respectful and inclusive community for individuals regardless of background;
  • Evolving the budget model to better provide sufficient and stable funding for the university’s mission of excellence in teaching, research, and public service; and
  • Planning and implementing the 2020 Initiative, which will eventually grow the university’s student body by about 5,000 students, most of them international students, and add a commensurate number of faculty.

Provost Hexter received his A.B. degree in English literature from Harvard College in 1974. He earned a B.A. and M.A. in classics and modern languages at Oxford University in 1977 and 1982, respectively. He also earned an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale University in 1979 and 1982, where he taught in the classics department from 1981 to 1991. During his final year there, he served as acting associate dean of the Graduate School.

In 1991, he moved as professor of classics and comparative literature to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he directed the graduate program in comparative literature.

In 1995, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley also as professor of classics and comparative literature, advancing to posts as chair of Comparative Literature (1996–98), dean of Humanities (1998–99), dean of Arts and Humanities (1999–2005), and executive dean of the College of Letters and Science (2002–05).

From 2005 through 2010, he served as president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, a selective liberal arts college with 1,500 students known for its innovative student-centered pedagogy and curriculum.

In all of his leadership positions, Provost Hexter has made it a priority to foster excellence across the full range of disciplines, and to promote equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion for students, faculty, and staff. A recipient of the University of Massachusetts’ Continuing the Legacy of Stonewall Award (2008), he was a founding member of the LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education. From 2012 to 2014, he co-chaired with Barbara J. French the UC Task Force and Implementation Team on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Climate & Inclusion, which was charged with making recommendations to create more-welcoming and -inclusive campus environments for members of the LGBT community.

Throughout his career, Provost Hexter has continued to teach, lecture, and publish on the interpretation and meaning of classical Greek and Roman literature from antiquity through the Middle Ages to modern times. His most recent work includes a historical survey of Ovid's exile poetry in Rezeption der antiken Literatur: Kulturhistorisches Werklexikon, Der Neue Paully, Supplemente, vol. 7, edited by Christine Walde (2010); an account of the pseudo-Ovidiana in Ovid in the Middle Ages, edited by James G. Clark, Frank T. Coulson, and Kathryn L. McKinley (2011); The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature, co-edited with David Townsend (2012); and “Conquering the Obstacles to Kingdom and Fate: The Ethics of Reading and the University Administrator,” with Craig Buckwald, in The Humanities and Public Life, edited by Peter Brooks with Hilary Jewett (2014).