Introducing Kent State's New Provost
Dr. Todd Diacon has been selected as the new senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Kent State University. Kent State President Lester A. Lefton introduced Diacon to the Kent State community today.
In this position, Diacon will serve as the chief academic officer for the university’s eight-campus system. It is the second-highest ranking position at Kent State behind the university president. Diacon will be responsible for all academic affairs functions of the university, leading the faculty and staff within its nine colleges and seven Regional Campuses located throughout Northeast Ohio. He will provide leadership in the areas of curriculum; academic personnel and faculty affairs; research and sponsored programs; experiential education and civic engagement; and student success and global education. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, Diacon will assist in the development and administration of university policies and strategic goals.
“Dr. Diacon will make a great addition to our institution that is focused on student success,” Lefton said. “He’s a first-rate scholar. He focuses on listening, and he is appreciative of a wide variety of views. He is quick to see a range of opportunities and solutions, promoting collaboration and respect. I also want to thank our provost search committee led by Dean Dan Mahony from our College of Education, Health and Human Services for its work and valuable input, as well as the students, faculty and staff who provided comments and feedback to the committee.”
Diacon said he is excited to join the Kent State community. “It is my great honor to be chosen as the provost of Kent State University,” Diacon said. “When I interviewed on campus, one thing became apparent: the students, faculty and staff love their university, appreciate its strengths, and are united in their desire to continue to grow and improve what already is one of the nation’s top universities. I very much look forward to working for President Lefton, for the faculty and staff, and for the students of Kent State University.”
Diacon comes to Kent State from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he serves as deputy chancellor. His duties include supervising the university’s strategic plan, leading special projects, co-directing university relations with state government, coordinating town-gown initiatives and directing the UMass Community College Connection to encourage community college students to enroll at UMass. In addition to his role of deputy chancellor at UMass, he also is a professor of history. Diacon specializes in agrarian history and the history of central state power in Brazil. He has authored publications on student success and on the administration of higher education, and he has written several journal articles and two books. His book titled “Stringing Together a Nation” won the Warren Dean Prize for the best book on Brazilian history.
Prior to UMass, Diacon worked at the University of Tennessee from 1989 to 2010, joining first as an assistant professor of history. During his career there, he held various positions, including director of the Latin American studies program, head of the history department, NCAA faculty athletics representative, professor of history with tenure, vice provost for academic operations and executive director for academic assessment and program support.
“I worked with Todd Diacon in Tennessee, and I brought him to Amherst as my deputy chancellor,” said Chancellor Robert C. Holub of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “He is an experienced and dedicated administrator who has not forgotten his roots in the faculty. He excels in communication. He listens carefully to all points of view and makes decisions based on what is best for the institution. Your university has acquired someone who is a great colleague and an outstanding human being. As time goes on, Kent State will come to recognize how fortunate it is to have someone like Todd in charge of academic affairs.”
A native of Wellington, Kan., Diacon received his bachelor’s degree in history from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan., and his master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Diacon will join Kent State on June 1*. He replaces Dr. Robert G. Frank, who was announced last month as the next president of the University of New Mexico, his alma mater.
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* Updated 2/20/12: Provost-elect Diacon is able to begin his duties at Kent State before the academic year closes, which will enable President-elect Frank to begin transition activities at the University of New Mexico. Diacon's start date will be April 2.