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Mitzi Montoya named senior vice president for academic affairs

Last March at his inauguration, President Taylor Randall announced his vision for the University of Utah to become a top 10 public university with unsurpassed societal impact. One of the most integral roles in supporting such a bold vision is a senior vice president for the academic enterprise. After an extensive national search, Randall is pleased to announce Mitzi M. Montoya as the University of Utah’s new senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. She will begin on Jan. 3, 2023.

Montoya will carry primary responsibility for setting the academic vision and strategic focus of the U and directing and enhancing the academic mission, including teaching and research excellence. She brings strong leadership skills to the role, including experience gained as dean of the Anderson School of Management at The University of New Mexico; provost at Washington State University; dean of the College of Business at Oregon State University; and vice president and university dean of entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as dean of the College of Technology & Innovation at Arizona State University. Montoya is a professor of marketing and received her doctorate from Michigan State University.

Mitzi M. Montoya

“In addition to Dr. Montoya’s many and varied academic accomplishments, she brings extensive experience in leading large academic enterprises with an eye toward innovation and engagement across all academic units,” said Randall. “Task number one for Dr. Montoya will be to design and engage in a process to meet with every school and college to gain a deeper understanding of their plans and priorities and the issues they face. As she does so, we will gain insights into how to actively participate in and shape the direction of the U as we become a top 10 public university.”

Montoya will take the reins of a university on the rise seeking to become, among other things, a national model of an equitable and inclusive university; set a national standard for enterprise-wide safety practices; become a leader in health and well-being; achieve forerunner status in sustainability; protect open and unfettered intellectual inquiry and the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge.

“I am honored and thrilled to join the outstanding faculty of the U and move to the beautiful state of Utah. The steady trajectory of the university is impressive, and I am inspired by President Randall’s bold vision for the future,” said Montoya. “I look forward to working together with the entire leadership team to build on the momentum and help the U achieve its goals.”

Montoya follows Martell Teasley who has served as the University of Utah’s interim senior vice president for academic affairs since Jan. 3, 2022. He led the academic enterprise through a presidential transition and the continued unwinding of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, Teasley helped advance student success and completion initiatives, overseeing the enrollment of the U’s largest freshman class; leading the creation of new and innovative degrees and certificates and a reimagining of general education; working with deans to lead the development of strategic plans for colleges and programs across campus; and managing the successful renewal of the university’s seven-year accreditation.

“I welcome Dr. Montoya to Utah and look forward to supporting and working with her in the years ahead,” said Teasley. “We have much to accomplish to become a model public university and I want to make sure that during this transition and over the longer-term horizon we don’t miss a beat.”

During his tenure, Teasley appointed three new deans (for the College of Humanities, College of Social and Behavioral Science and David Eccles School of Business) and kicked off searches for four more (University Libraries, Architecture + Planning, the School for Cultural and Social Transformation and the Graduate School). At the same time, he is the lead editor and wrote a collection of essays published by Oxford University Press, “Social Work and the Grand Challenge of Eliminating Racism: Concepts, Theory and Evidence Based Approaches,” scheduled for release in April 2023. Teasley will return to the U’s faculty and resume his role as dean of the College of Social Work after a year-long sabbatical.

Randall has identified several high-impact initiatives to help the U achieve national recognition among top-tier public research universities. Among these is the launch of engaging first-year experiences for students; a transition from a commuter campus to a community campus, including a more than doubling of on-campus student housing; investment in student completion; recruitment of first-generation students; and progress toward a goal of becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

The hiring of Montoya will help the U achieve these impactful initiatives.

“I feel a sense of urgency to accelerate the U’s momentum,” said Randall. “We can’t rest on our laurels or stymie progress as we move through this transition. I’ve asked Drs. Montoya and Teasley to team up, not only to ensure a smooth transition but to double down on our quest to inspire student success, innovate to improve the human condition and most importantly, impact the lives of every Utahn.”

“I am extremely excited to welcome Dr. Montoya as she joins the leadership team at the University of Utah. Her experience at top public universities and her track record for leadership is very impressive,” said Michael Good, senior vice president for health sciences. “I look forward to learning from and working with her as we implement President Randall’s vision for the university.”