Priorities as Your Interim Provost


This marks my first week as your interim provost. I am a proud alum – I received my doctorate from MU – and have spent most of my academic career at this university. It is at MU where, as a graduate student, I decided that I wanted to be a faculty member at a university like ours. I have a strong affinity for our community and am excited about where we are going as an institution. I want to share my priorities and outline what I hope we can accomplish together while I serve in this interim position.

As a steward of this role, I desire to make this job as attractive as possible while the national search is underway for our next provost. Part of this means engaging routinely with faculty and developing impactful relationships across the institution. I intend to communicate with you regularly through our office’s monthly newsletter, by engaging with faculty groups, and by attending events that celebrate the achievements of our faculty and students.

I am also committed to maintaining and accelerating the momentum of the Provost’s Office – and our institution – in two equally important areas: faculty success and student success, both central elements of MizzouForward. There are great things happening around the university: our graduation and student retention rates are at an all-time high, almost all our students are either employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation, we have made many excellent faculty hires through both MizzouForward and unit-initiated searches, and our research expenditures are higher than they have ever been.

More than these tangible metrics, though, I am committed to supporting our faculty throughout MU as they engage in high-impact research and scholarship. When faculty do this work, it in turn ensures that our students have the skills and experiences that will help them be prepared for an ever-evolving workplace and the challenges and opportunities they will experience in our larger society.

Some specific areas of focus for the next semester include:

  • Strategic plan update. This work is underway, and an updated plan should be ready to share later in the year.
  • Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation preparation. MU will be going through its reaccreditation process in early 2025, and this year we are working to complete the assurance argument and prepare for the site visit. Part of this effort also includes bolstering and standardizing how we assess student learning outcomes across the university.
  • Strengthening our AAU status. We are one of America’s leading research institutions, and we are securing that status long into the future through investments like MizzouForward that support faculty excellence and infrastructure growth. It is important that we continue to improve in the areas assessed by the AAU, not just because they relate to membership in the organization, but because they reflect high-impact activities and outcomes that are consistent with our mission and priorities. Our office will continue to support the work of faculty as they secure research funding that is consistent with national health, scientific, and educational priorities; publish high-impact scholarly books; produce articles that are highly cited and shape critical areas of inquiry; and receive awards that recognize their outstanding accomplishments.
  • Artificial intelligence. The Office of the Provost is working with Faculty Council to establish a task force, with campuswide representation, that will coalesce AI priorities and map how we as an institution can address the opportunities and challenges of this technology going forward.

Please know I value you, your work and your meaningful contributions to our university. We are a supportive community, where world-class researchers are also excellent instructors and dedicated mentors. Faculty are essential to carrying out our important mission of research, teaching and engagement, and I look forward to working with all of you to make a difference in the months ahead.

Matthew Martens, Phd

Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs