Kent State Selects New Provost

Dear Members of the Kent State University Community, 

I am pleased to announce that Melody Tankersley, Ph.D., has accepted the position of senior vice president and provost, effective Nov. 1, 2020.

Melody TankersleyAn experienced leader, Dr. Tankersley has served Kent State in positions of increasing responsibility since 1993. Since being named interim senior vice president and provost in 2019, she has excelled in many areas, particularly in her handling of the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As befits a leader in the Division of Academic Affairs, Dr. Tankersley is an outstanding teacher and scholar who has earned more than $2 million in research funding, directed to completion more than two dozen dissertations and written more than 100 scholarly publications in her field of special education. Her appointment follows a rigorous, national search that has been ongoing since February.

As senior vice president and provost, Dr. Tankersley will serve as the university’s chief academic officer and second-highest ranking executive officer. She will oversee a large portfolio and administrative structure, which includes deans of the 11 degree-granting colleges on the Kent Campus; administrative deans of Graduate Studies, Honors College, University College and University Libraries; the vice president for Regional Campuses and deans of the university’s seven Regional Campuses; as well as global education, continuing and distance education, design innovation, assessment and accreditation, community outreach, institutional research, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and ROTC. 

Dr. Tankersley is one of the nation’s leading scholars in her field of special education and is an accomplished administrator. She has led the university’s student-ready college initiative, worked to increase student retention, and improved recruitment efforts and the admissions process for graduate students. During the onset of the pandemic in March, she oversaw the university’s effort to convert more than 9,000 courses to remote instruction. Within the region, she has been a driving force in expanding institutional collaborations and community outreach, most notably with Akron Public Schools. 

Our thanks and appreciation goes to Paul DiCorleto, Ph.D., vice president for research and sponsored programs, who served as chair of the search committee, and to the 17 faculty, staff and students who served on the search committee for this key leadership position. We are grateful for their tireless and extensive work in recruiting and screening candidates in a national search that launched in mid-February and continued through virtual campus interviews of three talented finalists over the past two weeks. 

Thanks to all who participated in the campus interviews and shared your feedback. Throughout all phases of this search, your pride, energy and enthusiasm for Kent State’s future were evident and gratifying.

Our new provost has the extraordinary opportunity to enhance the university’s strategic direction, academic programs, resources and impact. I am confident that Dr. Tankersley is the right person to take on this role. Her strong leadership skills, devotion to students and their success, advocacy for the outstanding work of our faculty and collaborative spirit will help the university continue to recover from the pandemic and to excel in the years ahead. 

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Tankersley on her selection to this critical role and thanking her for her commitment to Kent State as we continue the momentum and impact created by this extraordinary university community.


Todd Diacon

POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 10:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 10:01am
President Todd Diacon