Provosts grateful for extra transition time

Carrie Blazina

As a result of his changing schedule, Kent State’s new provost Todd Diacon will begin his new job two months earlier than expected.

“Dr. Diacon had the flexibility to start in the provost job earlier than we had originally anticipated when the president had the conversations with him,” current Provost Robert Frank said. “This will be a good outcome for all involved. He can focus exclusively on Kent State, [and] it’s just the best outcome in terms of how to work together.”

Diacon will take over as provost April 2 instead of the originally planned June 1, and Frank will officially leave Kent State that day for the University of New Mexico. Frank said there won’t be any overlap between their terms or job shadowing for Diacon.

Frank said New Mexico wanted him there early, so it worked out that Diacon was available early too.

“[New Mexico was] certainly interested in me being available earlier than June 1, but the conversation arose once President Lefton realized that the provost could come earlier … and it worked out well for everybody involved.”

Diacon, the deputy chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said his availability changed because he and his boss, Chancellor Robert Holub, are both leaving. UMass has not hired a replacement for either of them, but with his boss leaving, Diacon is available to come to Kent State early.

“It’s a positive because that means I’ll get there earlier and I can gather information and learn about the campus two months earlier,” Diacon said.

Diacon said he may not be able to start many initiatives before the end of the semester, but he still expects to be busy.

“I’ll certainly be focusing on learning as much as I can about the operations of academic affairs and about the university in general,” Diacon said. “Mostly it’s for me to gather information, learn what important issues are facing the campus and academic affairs and it’s my opportunity to get to know faculty and staff and students before the summer break begins. It’s a head start.”

Diacon also said in the course of learning about Kent State, he may be asked to give his opinion on various issues. He said he’ll do so “depending on how much I understand the situation at hand.”

Frank has accepted the presidency at New Mexico, his alma mater, but he said he will not begin his term there until June 1 “as we always planned.” He said he’s currently “getting pulled between Kent State and New Mexico every day,” so he is grateful President Lester Lefton brought Diacon in early.

He said the extra time in New Mexico will be beneficial because he can then set up a transition office to help him learn the ways of the university.

“When you take over a presidency … there’s so much you need to learn about the institution before you start and make educated decisions,” Frank said. “For me to have two months to do that learning before I actually make day-to-day operational decisions is an incredible opportunity.”

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].