Key Leadership Transitions and Searches

Kent State University

January 23, 2020

Dear Members of the Kent State University Community,

Thank you for all you do to serve the needs of our students. With the first week of classes behind us, I am writing to update you on key leadership transitions that have or soon will be heading into search mode. I encourage you to participate in these searches – by providing input about what we should be looking for in our candidates, by serving on a search committee if asked and by attending campus interviews of finalists – so we can harness the strength, vitality and networks of our university community in filling these crucial leadership roles.

Following consultation with Dr. Pam Grimm, chair of the Faculty Senate and the Committee on Administrative Officers (CAO), this spring we are launching searches for two Cabinet-level vacancies – the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost position, now held on an interim basis by Dr. Melody Tankersley, and the vice president for student affairs position, now held on an interim basis by Dr. Lamar Hylton. With respect to the Kent Campus hiring freeze, these positions will be filled with a July 1, 2020, start date.

The senior vice president for academic affairs and provost is the university’s second highest officer and oversees the colleges, Regional Campuses and a wide array of academic support units. The search process for this position is outlined in the University Policy and Procedures Regarding Search Procedures for Major Academic Administrative Officers . In keeping with the policy, I am asking the specified faculty and student bodies to identify search committee members who represent the diversity and breadth of Kent State. We have issued a request for proposals for the selection of an executive search firm to assist us in the national recruitment and screening of highly qualified candidates, and it is my hope that the committee will be formed and begin its work in early February.

Also by early February, we will form a search committee of key stakeholders for the vice president for student affairs position. I will ask the committee to proceed with a university posting of the position and campus interview process. The vice president oversees a broad array of student services, including the Office of the Dean of Students, Center for Adult and Veteran Services, Center for Student Involvement, Flash Technology Center, International Student Affairs, Kent State University Bookstore, Kent Student Center, Office of Student Conduct, Recreational Services, Residence Services, Student Accessibility Services, Dining Services and University Health Services.

As Regional Campuses are not under a hiring freeze, searches have already been initiated for the vacancies of vice president for Regional Campuses and dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State University at Trumbull. We are grateful to longtime colleagues Dr. David Dees and Dr. Daniel Palmer, respectively, for assuming these roles on an interim basis this year. As these searches are under the direction of the Division of Academic Affairs, Interim Provost Tankersley will keep the campus community informed of their progress, as she did earlier this week with her update on the Trumbull dean search.

Finally, I informed the President’s Administrative Council that Rebecca Murphy, senior associate vice president for strategic communications and external affairs, has assumed the position of interim vice president for university relations. A national search for this vice presidency will begin in the fall of 2020. The division is comprised of University Communications and Marketing, the Center for Corporate and Professional Development, and WKSU.

Please join me in expressing our gratitude to those serving in interim roles and our appreciation in advance to members of the university community who will be working on these leadership searches.

Warm regards,
Todd Diacon
President