A timeline of Diacon’s first day on the job


Provost Todd Diacon spent his first full day as the new provost going to different meetings on April 2. Photo by Nancy Urchak.

Carrie Blazina

Todd Diacon’s Monday started in a way to which most students at Kent State might relate: an early-morning jog across campus and a walk to the library from his apartment in Van Campen Hall. But that was before he settled into a day full of meetings on his first day as the university’s provost.

Yes, he said, even provosts live on campus in transition housing at Van Campen while he and his wife try to buy a house in the area.

After arriving at work, Diacon said he became busy right away.

“I think I’ve had 10 to 15 minutes total that wasn’t in a meeting so far,” he said.

He said he met with President Lester Lefton, Alfreda Brown, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, and was due to meet with senior associate provost Tim Chandler later in the day, though he could not discuss details of the confidential meetings.

Diacon said he was struck by how welcoming Kent State has been.

“A lot of this morning was people coming by and introducing themselves and reminding me what they do,” he said. “ … I [correctly] figured it would be a very welcoming place and that was part of the attraction of the position.”

A time line of the provost’s first day

6 a.m.: Took a jog across campus.

Walked to work from apartment in Van Campen Hall, transitional housing which will be his home until he gets a house in Kent.

10 a.m.-noon: Meeting with President’s Administrative Council, “a fairly large gathering of university administrators.”

Lunchtime: Meeting with Alfreda Brown, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion to talk about diversity.

Brief meeting with President Lefton to discuss a few items.

2:30-2:45 p.m.: Meeting with Stater reporter and photographers.

3-5 p.m. (approximately): Meeting with senior associate provost Tim Chandler.

Evening: Will spend time reading “pertinent materials” he requested from deans and other officials. “I’ve read most of those materials, but I have a few left,” he said.

Tomorrow: traveling to Tuscarawas campus. “Getting to know the regional campuses is very important to me,” he said. He said he has already visited the Stark campus briefly and will visit the other campuses soon.

Diacon said he is getting more used to the way campus is set up.

“I spent about two to three hours yesterday walking around campus, so I have a much better appreciation for where things are. I still don’t know the buildings … But once I get there, I’ll have seen it,” he said. “ … I feel like I know the layout of the campus fairly well now.”

On his walk around campus, he said he was also struck by its beauty.

“Two things struck me yesterday on my walk around: how pretty the campus is and [how it] has a lot of green space … I can just tell you, having been on lots of college campuses, that there’s great green space on this campus,” he said.

Diacon also said he enjoyed downtown Kent when he visited it recently.

“[I] walked downtown as part of my tour and was really excited about the work that’s going on down there,” he said. “I just think it’s a great benefit when you can have a downtown like that close to campus as opposed to something more isolated.”

During this transition period, Diacon said he will need to balance the various parts of his job.

“I think the balancing act that almost any central administrator faces is the need to meet and attend meetings and to work through issues with people and somehow reserve enough time to sit down in a quiet place and read materials and become informed,” he said.

The new provost’s days do not get any less busy soon. Diacon said for the next six to eight weeks, he will meet with more officials so he can be educated on the issues his office deals with.

“I’m having long individual meetings with people that report to me so that I can understand their world better: the strengths of their units, the opportunities, their challenges,” he said. “ … Pretty soon I’ll be up to speed and I certainly expect I’ll be making decisions, but I’ll be making them in consultation with the people that are dealing with those on a daily basis.”

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].