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Former University of Iowa provost among finalists for Kent State job

Montserrat #x201c;Montse#x201d; Fuentes
Montserrat “Montse” Fuentes

IOWA CITY — The former University of Iowa provost recently reassigned to “special assistant to the president” after only a year on the job is a finalist to become Kent State University’s next senior vice president and provost.

Montserrat Fuentes — who is continuing to earn her $439,000 vice president-level pay in her new UI role as special assistant to the president, who last week announced plans to retire early — has been named among three finalists in the Kent State search, which began in February.

She, along with Kent State’s interim provost and the former provost of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, was recommended by an 18-member search committee and invited to participate in virtual public presentations with the Kent State community later this month.

During the presentations, which for Fuentes is Oct. 20, finalists will “discuss challenges facing higher education, her vision for academic affairs, and the role of the provost.”

“Attendees will be invited to ask questions following the presentation.”

Fuentes was reassigned from her UI provost post July 16 — one year after arriving on campus for among the most sought-after administrative jobs. As part of her reassignment, Fuentes signed a settlement similar to one the university signed with its diversity head — who started the same day as Fuentes in 2019 but stayed in his role only six weeks.

According to the university, Fuentes in her new assistant role — which runs through June 30, 2021 — is leading a team updating the UI strategic plan. Her name, however, is not listed on a UI steering committee leading strategic plan work, while the new interim UI Provost Kevin Kregel is listed.

Fuentes’ name also doesn’t appear among any of the UI’s four “path forward” work groups.

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In her curriculum vitae on Kent State’s finalist website, Fuentes lists her current position as special assistant in the president’s office, “leading campuswide the development of the new UI Strategic Plan.”

After a year in her UI special assignment, she could assume a regular faculty position, according to her settlement. Neither Fuentes nor any UI officials has said what led them to make a deal for her vacation of the position.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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