UM to interview 3 finalists for academic VP, provost this month

Three finalists for the position of executive vice president for academic affairs and provost will interview this month at the University of Montana.

The provost serves as chief academic officer, overseeing the university’s academic operations and efforts to promote student success. The position answers directly to UM President Seth Bodnar and serves on the president’s cabinet.

The three finalists are Jon Harbor, executive director of digital education and associate vice provost for teaching and learning at Purdue University in Indiana; Tim Dunnagan, dean of the Expanded College of Health Sciences at Boise State University in Idaho; and Lynn Okagaki, deputy provost for academic affairs at the University of Delaware.

“After working with a deep pool of candidates and interviewing nine semifinalists, we are bringing three experienced scholar-administrators to campus,” said Christopher Comer, chair of the search committee and dean of UM’s College of Humanities and Sciences. “These finalists come from diverse backgrounds: One is from the East, one from the Midwest and another from the West. They will interview with many sectors of campus.”

“We invite members of the broader community to participate in the process and provide us with feedback,” Comer said. “It’s imperative that we understand the different talents each person can bring to UM and how they can work in partnership with President Bodnar to move the university forward.”

A faculty forum, as well as an open forum for the campus and broader community, are planned for each candidate. Following are the forum times and locations:

  • Jon Harbor – Faculty forum: 4 to 5:15 p.m., Thursday, March 15, University Center Theater. Public open forum: 4 to 5:15 p.m. Friday, March 16, UC 330-333.
  • Tim Dunnagan – Faculty forum: 4 to 5:15 p.m., Monday, March 19, UC Theater. Public open forum: 4 to 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, UC North Ballroom.
  • Lynn Okagaki – Faculty forum: 4 to 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, UC Theater. Public open forum: 4 to 5:15 p.m. Thursday, March 22, UC Theater.

Each public forum will be streamed and recorded by MCAT.

Harbor works with many campus programs at Purdue and has served in a variety of leadership roles in his current position. He is a professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, with research and teaching interests in applied hydrology, environmental education and glacial geology. His teaching and mentoring have been recognized by Purdue’s top university awards. He is a prolific author whose research has garnered more than $10 million in grants.

Harbor is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (UK), a former Fulbright Senior Scholar, an American Council on Education Fellow and Marie Curie Fellow (EU). In 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Stockholm University. He holds a doctorate in geological sciences from the University of Washington.

Dunnagan has worked in his current role at the Boise State College of Health Sciences for more than seven years. He has grown self-support online programming from 280 students to 1,400 students, generating nearly 16,000 new student credit hours within a resource-constrained environment while tripling research expenditures.

He worked with 106 faculty and staff and 2,800 students served by the departments of Community and Environmental Health, Nursing, Radiologic Sciences and Respiratory Care. His tenure has been distinguished by growth in research productivity and new nursing graduate programs at the master’s and doctorate levels.

Dunnagan also worked at Montana State University as the Health and Human Development department head. In that role, he oversaw diverse units such as Community Health, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Counseling. He grew research expenditures by a third and expanded student recruitment. He holds a doctorate in education from the University of Kentucky.

Okagaki oversees programs at Delaware in entrepreneurship, study abroad, academic program reviews and support for international students. Prior to this role, she served as dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

Before joining the University of Delaware, Okagaki was commissioner for education research in the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. Under her leadership, the center nearly doubled its research grant activities and launched several innovative research programs.

She also served as the first IES deputy director for science. In that role, she established the scientific peer review procedures for grant application review. Throughout her tenure at IES, Okagaki supported the development of research training programs – graduate and postdoctoral training programs and summer institutes – to build the nation’s capacity to conduct rigorous education research.

Okagaki earned her doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Cornell University. In addition to Delaware, she has held appointments at Purdue University, Yale University, Cornell University and the University of Houston.