Fort Valley State University (FVSU) announced the appointment of Dr. Olufunke Fontenot as provost and vice president of academic affairs. Dr. Fontenot has been with FVSU since 2019, serving first as interim chief of staff and more recently as interim provost while the university conducted a national search for candidates for the position.
“For nearly three years, Dr. Fontenot has used her extensive career background and knowledge in higher education to provide our university with thoughtful and strategic leadership that is focused on both student and faculty success,” said FVSU President Paul Jones. “Her leadership has been instrumental to our institution as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. I am confident her ongoing work with our faculty and other community stakeholders has laid a foundation for continuing success ahead.”
During her interim roles at FVSU, Dr. Fontenot has led several key initiatives including the development of the Health Equity COVID-19 Community Partnership Taskforce making it possible for members of the FVSU campus community and residents of the surrounding areas to receive on-campus vaccinations. She also oversaw the FVSU educational partnership with the Tubman African American Museum, a collaborative effort to bolster the university’s curriculum and engage the Middle Georgia community through arts programming.
A leader in higher education for nearly 40 years, Dr. Fontenot has experience from a diverse range of institutions – three at which she received tenure. She previously served as the interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg. Dr. Fontenot also served as associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs, and interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Albany State University. Additionally, she held numerous leadership positions at Georgia College & state University, Savannah State University and Claflin University. She earned a Master of Law degree from Yale Law School (international law), and a Doctorate degree in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.
“It is a distinct honor and privilege to be appointed to the position of provost. FVSU has been my professional home for over two years; I have had the opportunity to work with a dedicated and mission-focused group of faculty, staff, and senior administrators in the service of our students and our community,” said Fontenot. “I am delighted to continue to serve FVSU in this vital role on a permanent basis. There is great work to be done in our continuing march for excellence.”
She continued by saying she is excited to lead the academic affairs division to implement the transformative agenda outlined in the FVSU strategic plan for 2020-2025 and accelerate the institution’s advancements made in the past several years.
“I look forward to collaborating with faculty and staff and the administrative leadership to advance the university’s mission and make a difference through the transformative power of education and help close the equity and achievement gaps and ensure student success. Since joining FVSU in January 2019, I have witnessed first-hand the dedication, commitment, and resourcefulness it takes to nurture our students’ determination, passion, curiosity, and imagination. This is what gives our work meaning. For me, it is the catalyst for my fierce commitment to the mission of this institution and the source of great professional satisfaction.”
Fontenot will begin her permanent role effective November 1.
FVSU faculty members, Dr. Felicia Jefferson, associate professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Govind Kannan, vice president for Economic Development and Land-Grant Affairs served as committee co-chairs for the national search.
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