University of Iowa unveils third and final provost finalist

Spanish statistician scheduled for public forum Thursday

IOWA CITY — A Spanish statistician and dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond is the third finalist for the long-vacant University of Iowa executive vice president and provost position.

Montserrat “Montse” Fuentes is scheduled to visit the UI campus Thursday and Friday as the last finalist slated for introduction. The university had picked four top prospects, but one withdrew from consideration after accepting another offer.

Fuentes has been a professor of statistics and biostatics — as well as dean — at Virginia since 2016. Before that, she served as statistics professor at North Carolina State University from 1999 to 2016, serving along the way on numerous national and international boards and environmental organizations and agencies.

She is a visiting scientist in the Atmospheric Modeling Division with the Environmental Protection Agency. She served until recently as editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Applications and Case Studies, and has focused her research on big data, statistics and analysis in neurosciences, environmental and health sciences.

Fuentes is the only one of the three finalists without a UI connection, although she spent some time in the Midwest earning her doctorate in statistics at the University of Chicago.

The first finalist, University of Pittsburgh Executive Vice Provost David N. DeJong, earned a UI doctorate in 1989, also serving as a visiting associate professor in the Department of Economics in 1994.

The second finalist, University of Wisconsin Law School Dean Margaret Raymond, started as a UI associate professor of law in 1995 and worked up to full professor before leaving in 2011 to Wisconsin.


While at Iowa, Raymond served as UI Faculty Senate president, helped search for a new provost — the job she’s now a finalist for — and was appointed to an investigative committee on the UI response to sexual assault allegations against a student-athlete.

Fuentes — like the others — is scheduled to participate in an open forum in the Iowa Memorial Union. Her event is scheduled from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the IMU theater.

President Bruce Harreld will make the final hiring decision to replace former UI Provost Barry Butler, who left in March 2017 for the presidency at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. Former UI College of Public Health Dean Sue Curry has been serving as interim provost in his stead.

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