Former UI provost Montse Fuentes named finalist for Kent State provost position

Fuentes is one of three women who are finalists to become Kent State’s next senior vice president and provost, a search that began back in March.


Katie Goodale

Provost Montse Fuentes speaks in an interview with The Daily Iowan in Jessup Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Fuentes sat down to discuss new plans to improve support for first-generation students.

Rachel Schilke, News Editor

Montserrat Fuentes, currently a University of Iowa special assistant to the president, is one of three finalists seeking to serve as Kent State University’s next senior vice president and provost.

Fuentes was formerly the UI’s executive vice president and provost. She assumed a special position created within the president’s office on July 16, which she will serve in for one year until June 2021. Per the university’s contract, she can resume a faculty position at the UI after 2021.

In her current position, she leads a team that updates the university’s strategic plan and is focusing on completing her research.

Fuentes said in a July release that the chance to serve students and scholars as the special assistant to the president was an exciting new direction.

“Being able to make an impact on our campus community by using my research and administrative skills is the best of both worlds,” she said in the release.

Fuentes retained her provost’s salary of $439,000 when she assumed the special-assistant role.

The other two finalists for Kent State’s senior vice president and provost position are former provost and interim President/Vice Chancellor Teresa Balser from Dalhousie University and interim Senior Vice President and Provost Melody Tankersley from Kent State.

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Kent State released a statement on Mar. 2 that it would begin its search for a new senior vice president and provost after Todd Diacon was named Kent State President in July 2019. Tankersley was named interim after his promotion.

“Kent State University, a top-ranked national public research university with eight campuses in Northeast Ohio, seeks an accomplished, dynamic and strategic academic leader and scholar to serve as senior vice president and provost,” the statement said. “The successful candidate will play an instrumental role in leading Ohio’s largest multi-campus system at an important stage in its history and development.”

Kent State announced on Oct. 1 that its finalists for the position, who were selected by an 18-member committee, will host presentations virtually throughout October. Fuentes’ presentation will be on Oct. 20.

The finalists will address “challenges facing higher education, her vision for academic affairs and the role of the provost,” the statement said.