Dr. J. Michael Francis received his PhD in History in 1998 from the University of Cambridge. Between 1997 and 2012, he taught at the University of North Florida. In 2012, Dr. Francis was named the Hough Family Chair of Florida Studies at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, and in 2016 he was appointed Chair of the Department of History and Politics at USFSP.
Dr. Francis has received more than two dozen national and international awards, including a four-year appointment as Research Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Jay I. Kislak Fellowship at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. He has written and edited five books, and he has published numerous book chapters and articles. His most recent book is entitled St. Augustine: America's First City. Dr. Francis serves as the Executive Director of an ambitious new project called La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas, and in 2018 Governor Rick Scott appointed Dr. Francis to serve on the Florida Historical Commission.