Former communication dean has served as acting provost for the past year
President Michael R. Lovell today announced that Acting Provost Dr. Kimo Ah Yun has been named the next permanent provost and executive vice president for academic affairs of Marquette University, effective immediately. Provost Ah Yun has served in the acting role since Oct. 31, 2018.
The announcement comes after a nine-month national search and dozens of interviews with a broad array of campus stakeholders. Ultimately, the search committee brought four finalists to campus who each made two-day visits to meet with 15 different groups of faculty, students, staff and senior leaders.
“Kimo has demonstrated tremendous leadership as acting provost over the past year, navigating some of Marquette’s more difficult issues with a calm professionalism and an eye toward what is best for our university,” President Lovell says. “Kimo is committed to our Catholic, Jesuit mission, and his keen understanding of how our strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries, lays the blueprint for our success in proactively addressing the challenges facing our industry positions him as the best academic leader for Marquette University. I’m delighted to continue our work together in the coming years.”
“It is my great privilege to accept the honor and challenge of helping lead Marquette University into the future as its provost,” Provost Ah Yun says. “There is so much to be proud of — I see examples of our faculty, students and staff living out our Catholic, Jesuit values every day, all to advance this great institution and provide the world-class, transformative education we promise to our students. Together, we will build on the great work happening across campus, work to improve morale across campus and address those areas where we are not fully living up to our mission.”
Provost Ah Yun adds that his vision focuses on five key areas:
- Unifying the campus community under a transparent and clearly understood system of shared governance
- Enhancing diversity, inclusion and equity through strategic and interdependent cross-campus initiatives and programming aimed at attracting and retaining diverse students and faculty and creating an inclusive campus environment
- Providing additional rigor to consistently ground the student experience — inside and outside of the classroom — in our Catholic, Jesuit mission
- Building an academic leadership team that is innovative and strives for academic excellence through the hiring of three open college dean positions
- Addressing the ongoing headwinds of higher education through strategic, proactive decisions that align with the university’s Catholic, Jesuit mission and its strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries
During Provost Ah Yun’s tenure in the acting role, he developed task forces to improve the lived experience for participating faculty and graduate students at Marquette; worked with the University Academic Senate to increase their voice on University Policies and Procedures; continued to invest in the cluster hire for the Race and Ethnic Studies program for its third year; advocated for increased diversity programming, including for first-generation students; and oversaw the recruitment of one of the university’s most diverse incoming classes in its history.
A first-generation college student himself and the first person of color to serve as provost at Marquette, Provost Ah Yun says he is proud of the strides the university community has made in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, but that there is much more to do.
“If we are to truly live out our Catholic, Jesuit mission and remain committed to the vision Archbishop Henni laid out 140 years ago, we have to work hard every day and make tough decisions to improve the climate at our university,” he says. “It’s going to take all of us, and as your provost I promise to make this a top priority now and into the future. Diversity isn’t a goal to be achieved or a box to be checked — it’s an evolving pursuit to make Marquette more reflective of the world around us.”
Provost Ah Yun joined Marquette in 2016 as the dean of the Diederich College of Communication after serving as associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters, chair of the Department of Communication Studies, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and a professor of communication studies at California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State). During his 20-year tenure at Sacramento State, he co-chaired the President’s Committee to Build Campus Unity, which programmed and executed campus-wide conversations on topics such as discrimination, identity and privilege.
An accomplished scholar and teacher, Provost Ah Yun has received awards from California State University, Sacramento, and the International Communication Association. His work has been published in leading communication and teaching journals and his research has been supported with grants from the Centers for Disease Control, Wisconsin Department of Public Health, California Criminal Justice Cabinet, California Department of Transportation and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Provost Ah Yun earned his bachelor’s degree in communication studies from California State University, Sacramento, master’s degree in communication studies from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in communication from Michigan State University.
President Lovell extends his thanks to the members of the search committee, chaired by Dr. Lisa Edwards, professor of counselor education and counseling psychology in the College of Education.
“Helping to identify the next provost for Marquette was no small task, and I thank every member of the search committee for their time and diligence — your service to the university in this capacity is to be commended,” he says.
Dr. Sarah Feldner, acting dean of the Diederich College of Communication, will remain in her role; a timetable for the search for the next permanent dean will be announced in the coming weeks. Watch Marquette Today for updates.