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UM selects Mahdavi as new provost and executive vice president

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The University of Montana has hired Pardis Mahdavi to serve as its next provost and executive vice president, the university’s No. 2 administrator and chief academic officer.

Mahdavi was chosen after a nationwide search, and she will begin the job in early summer 2022.

“The University of Montana is incredibly well-positioned for impact,” Mahdavi said. “I am excited about UM’s impressive strengths across disciplines — in both research and teaching — the institution’s demonstrated commitment to students and the campus’s deep connection to place in western Montana.

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Dr. Pardis Mahdavi.

"And I am particularly motivated to partner with President Seth Bodnar, a leader whose vision and ability inspire my confidence in UM’s future," she added. "My family and I are eager to connect with and become part of the outstanding Missoula community.”

Bodnar celebrated Mahdavi’s selection in an open letter to campus Tuesday.

“Dr. Mahdavi’s record of tireless support for inclusive student success and her leadership record will serve UM and Montana well,” Bodnar said. “Dr. Mahdavi’s decision to join the UM team gives all of us reason to be optimistic as we seek to maintain our positive momentum. Our executive leadership team is developing a transition plan that ensures she is welcome, supported and empowered.”

Mahdavi joins UM from Arizona State University, where she now serves as dean of social sciences. In that role she oversees 11 schools and 25 centers with 800 faculty members and 30,000 students. Prior to her leadership post at ASU, she served as acting dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, dean of women at Pomona College and president and director of the Pacific Basin Institute.

Reed Humphrey, UM’s acting provost, will return to his role as the dean of the College of Health upon Mahdavi’s arrival in Missoula. Under Humphrey’s leadership, more than 5,000 UM students received their diplomas amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As provost, Mahdavi will oversee UM’s academic colleges, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, the Registrar’s Office, the Global Engagement Office, the Franke Global Leadership Initiative, the Student Success Center and the Central and Southwest Asian Studies Center.

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