Mitzi Montoya named provost and executive vice president

Closeup of Mitzi Montoya.
Mitzi Montoya

Mitzi Montoya, a senior administrator who has served in leadership positions at universities across the United States, has been named provost and executive vice president at Washington State University.

The new provost will work closely with WSU President Kirk Schulz to provide overall direction and leadership for the WSU statewide system. The provost is the university’s chief academic officer, responsible for all aspects of WSU’s academic mission.

Montoya currently is the Sara Hart Kimball Dean of the College of Business at Oregon State University. She is also executive dean of the business and engineering division, the senior administrator for OSU’s Portland operations, and a professor in the College of Business.

Prior to joining OSU in 2015, Montoya held multiple leadership positions at Arizona State University and North Carolina State University. Her roles have spanned college-, campus-, regional-, and institutional-level responsibilities.

“Mitzi’s proven leadership skills, experience, and vision promise an exciting future for the university,” Schulz said. “Her expertise in creating innovative and collaborative partnerships with campus and stakeholder communities will play a pivotal role in advancing our goal of becoming a top 25 public research university by 2030.”

“I am very excited to be joining WSU,” Montoya said. “I look forward to contributing to the university’s commitment to serve communities statewide and supporting the faculty and students in their pursuits of excellence and opportunity.”

One of Montoya’s first priorities will be to assist Schulz with the creation of WSU’s next five-year strategic plan. The effort will include development of a plan that addresses the future of all of the university’s campuses and locations as well as a plan for the WSU Pullman campus.

“We will build the next chapter in WSU’s future together. President Schulz and I will emphasize listening, teamwork, and shared governance during the strategic planning process,” Montoya said. “The Drive to 25 will include a persistent commitment to student success and advancing diversity and inclusiveness.”

Montoya’s field of research, teaching and industry expertise is innovation process and strategy. She has published more than 35 papers and served on the boards of dozens of civic, economic development and university organizations. She has served as an advisor and consultant to a wide variety of industries around the world.

An international scholar, Montoya has taught courses on innovation and marketing strategy at the undergraduate, graduate and executive levels around the world. She has received research funding from numerous organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Education, USAID, and many private and corporate foundations.

Montoya will begin her new duties August 1. She will replace Dan Bernardo, who is stepping down as provost after more than five years in the position to work on special projects for Schulz.

A native of Texas, Montoya holds two degrees from Michigan State University: a doctorate in marketing and statistics and a bachelor’s degree in applied engineering science. She is a former American Council on Education Fellow.

Oregon State highlights

As the leader of Oregon State’s Portland operations, Montoya oversaw the design and launch of a 40,000-square-foot university facility in downtown Portland that opened last fall. She has led the university’s engagement with Portland metro area municipalities and economic development agencies to build a pipeline for workforce development partnerships.

As dean of the business college, Montoya spearheaded student success initiatives focused on student recruitment and student engagement. Those efforts boosted the college’s enrollment by 31 percent in three years and improved freshman retention from 78 to 90 percent, without changing admission requirements or retention standards. Under her leadership, the MBA program achieved tremendous growth, advancement in rankings and a historic first: gender parity in the part-time MBA program.

Montoya also led several initiatives focused on faculty success within the college including doubling the investment in research support and establishing professional development opportunities for faculty.

Arizona State highlights

Montoya served in a variety of administrative positions and as a faculty member at Arizona State University from 2010 to 2015. Her administrative positions included dean of the College of Technology & Innovation, vice provost of ASU’s polytechnic campus, and the inaugural vice president and university dean of entrepreneurship and innovation.

At ASU she worked closely with university leadership to advance ASU’s vision for “One University in Many Places,” a transition from a main campus with satellite campuses to a new operating model in which all colleges and all locations contribute equally to the vision of access, excellence and impact. She also developed a strategic plan and designed the entrepreneurship and innovation unit, which was created to advance entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the university.

North Carolina State highlights

Montoya spent 15 years at North Carolina State University, where she served as an administrator and professor in the College of Management. Her accomplishments included designing and leading an industry-sponsored, project-based innovation lab with faculty and students from four of the university’s colleges. She also served as special assistant to the vice chancellor of research and graduate studies, working on university-wide strategic research initiatives.

Media Contact:

  • Phil Weiler, vice president for marketing and communications, 509‑335‑1221,

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