The University of South Alabama, operating as a state institution of higher learning and financed in large part by public funds, is governed by a Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees has seventeen members who are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, with the exception of ex officio members:
- Twelve are from south Alabama including three from Mobile County and one from each of the nine southern senatorial districts as they were designated at the time the University was organized;
- Three are from the State at large;
- The Governor of Alabama serves as President, ex officio;
- The State Superintendent of Education serves as a member, ex officio.
The administrative organization of the University has been designed to provide the greatest possible efficiency in operation for a multiplex, yet young, institution. The framework is sufficiently flexible, involving three primary areas of operation: academic, administrative, and student personnel. The three primary areas of institutional operation are supplemented and supported by programs in development and university relations. The organization includes:
- The President, appointed by the Board of Trustees;
- Other chief administrative officers who report directly to the President include the Executive Vice President, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Vice President for Medical Affairs; Chief Executive Officer and Sr. Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs for USA Health; Vice President for Research and Economic Development; and Vice President for Student Affairs.
Each college within the University listed below is headed by an academic officer:
- The Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions
- College of Arts and Sciences
- Mitchell College of Business
- College of Education and Professional Studies
- College of Engineering
- College of Medicine
- College of Nursing
- School of Computing and Information Sciences,
- Graduate School
- Honors College
The Executive Director of University Libraries operates in cooperation with the faculty and reports directly to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Within Colleges, departments operate under the direction of departmental chairs who report directly to the deans of the colleges.