Illinois State University Provost Search
2 p.m. February 10
Old Main Room, Bone Student Center
Anthony (Tony) J Vizzini is a Professor of Engineering at Wichita State University where he served as Provost and Senior Vice President until 2018. As Provost he was responsible for all aspects of the academic program from first contact through career placement. Additional units reporting to Academic Affairs included the Ulrich Art Museum, KMUW, Information Technology Services, and Student Affairs.
Prior to Wichita State, Vizzini served as the dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at Western Michigan University and the department head of Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University. At MSU he was the inaugural holder of the Bill and Carolyn Cobb Chair in the College of Engineering. He began his academic career at the University of Maryland in Aerospace Engineering.
Vizzini earned four degrees from MIT including a BS, MS, and PhD in Aeronautics/Astronautics and a BS in Mathematics. He was inducted into both Tau Beta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa.
Vizzini has been an entrepreneur throughout his career, first as the founding director of the Composites Research Laboratory, a cost recharge center with a mission to forge ties between industry and UMD. He sought partnerships in Mississippi to beachhead companies resulting in more than 500 new jobs to the region. He and his faculty developed Medical Engineering in collaboration with the Stryker School of Medicine at WMU. At WSU he and his faculty developed leading-edge academic programs including the Master of Innovation Design and the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Arts.
Vizzini is the author of over 100 articles and has been involved in the design and manufacture of composite structures for rotorcraft, space applications, and uninhabited air vehicles. He has received recognition for his teaching. He is a registered professional engineer in three states. He served as the president for SAMPE International, SAMPE Global, and the American Society for Composites (ASC). He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a Fellow of ASC, SAMPE, and the National Academy of Inventors.
2 p.m. February 11
Old Main Room, Bone Student Center
Dr. DeBrenna LaFa Agbényiga previously served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bowie State University. As the chief academic officer, she was responsible for overseeing the academic and research enterprises of the university. She also worked to ensure the recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty, student, and staff, and promoted educational excellence.
Dr. Agbényiga came to Bowie State from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) where she was Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School and professor of Social Work. At UTSA, she was noted for establishing a sustainable foundation to support academic excellence in graduate education.
Prior to working at UTSA, Dr. Agbényiga was Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Inclusion in the College of Social Science at Michigan State University. In addition to providing significant administrative oversight for graduate programs, she was the founding director of the College's Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Academic Affairs.
An accomplished scholar, Dr. Agbényiga's research spans organizational culture, international social and economic development, community development and sustainability, women's rights, children's rights, gender-based violence, cross-cultural learning and diversity. Dr. Agbényiga has spent numerous years working globally and more extensively in Western, Southern, and Eastern Africa as a researcher and consultant to numerous ministries, NGOs and universities.
Dr. Agbényiga earned her doctoral degree in social work, MBA in strategic management and an MSW in Social Work-Urban Studies from Michigan State University. Her bachelor's degree in criminal justice is from the University of South Carolina, Columbia.
Her research has been published in leading social work journals including the Journal of Social Work Education, Children and Youth Services Review, Administration in Social Work, and Advances in Social Work. She has co-edited two books and several book chapters published by leading press houses like Springer, Council on Social Work Education, and Lexington Books.
2 p.m. February 13
Old Main Room, Bone Student Center
Menah Pratt-Clarke is the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity at Virginia Tech. She is also Professor of Education in the School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, with affiliations in Africana Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and the Department of Sociology. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, she served as Associate Chancellor for Strategic Affairs and Associate Provost for Diversity at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for nine years.
She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa with a major in English and minors in Philosophy and African-American Studies. She received her master's degree in Literary Studies from the University of Iowa and a master's degree in Sociology from Vanderbilt University. In addition, she earned her PhD and JD from Vanderbilt University.
Her research interests include the transdisciplinary analysis of diversity issues in higher education. In 2018, A Black Woman's Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons about race, gender, and class in America was awarded the American Education Studies Association Critics' Choice Award for scholarship deemed to be outstanding in its field. Additional books include Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy (Peter Lang, 2017) and Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba (Peter Lang, 2017). A Search for Spirit: A Black Woman Running with the Wolves (under contract, Peter Lang, 2020) is forthcoming.
She is also a trained classical pianist and violinist, and former athlete on the professional tennis circuit.
2 p.m. February 17
Brown Ballroom II, Bone Student Center
Aondover Tarhule is Vice Provost & Dean of the Graduate School at Binghamton University (State University of New York, SUNY). Previously, he was Executive Associate Dean/Faculty Fellow (Provost's office), and Department Chair at the University of Oklahoma, Norman.
As Dean of the Graduate School, Aondover provides leadership and administrative oversight for Graduate Education at Binghamton, including admissions, professional development, diversity, strategic planning, academic policy, budget management, and new program development. As Vice Provost, he is a member of the Provost's senior cabinet. He is responsible for academic program review, works collaboratively with the deans of academic colleges, the Vice President for Research, as well as Vice Provost for undergraduate education to align the graduate and undergraduate curriculums. He has implemented several major innovations, including Degreeworks, workflow software, data dashboards, facilitated the creation of new degree programs, and developed new international partnerships.
At Oklahoma, Aondover was a transformational Department Chair. He established three new degrees, quadrupled enrollments, and grew faculty FTE by 80%. As executive Associate Dean, he created the college's first diversity council, developed the state of the college annual event, and worked on faculty retention issues.
Aondover is a physical geographer. He has published in prestigious journals, including Nature, and received research grants totaling about $5 million as PI or co-PI. He has mentored more than a dozen graduate students and post-docs, and served on the committees of prominent national and international organizations, including the APLU, CODESRIA College of Mentors and, as consultant to the World Bank.