Montana State University

MSU’s provost to take new post at Springfield College

May 3, 2016 -- From MSU News Service

MSU’s Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Martha Potvin will be leaving at the end of June for Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – Montana State University’s Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Martha Potvin will be leaving at the end of June for Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

MSU President Waded Cruzado made the announcement today in a letter to campus.

“With great affection, admiration and sadness, I am sharing with you the news,” Cruzado wrote. “It is truly a remarkable gain for Springfield and a loss for MSU.”

Potvin will be joining Springfield as the college’s provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Since she joined MSU in January 2011, Potvin has led teams that have managed 16 percent enrollment growth at the university. She has overseen an increase in the university’s instruction budget from $69.9 million in fiscal year 2011 to $90.9 million in fiscal year 2015 – an increase of 30 percent.

“During that time, her leadership was instrumental in helping more students stay in school and graduate,” Cruzado said. “MSU enjoys the highest retention and graduation rates in its recent history, due in no small part to her efforts and leadership.”

Potvin played an instrumental role in the creation of the university’s Graduation Success Teams, which ultimately identified crucial areas where the university could help students be more successful in traditional barrier courses with high drop, fail or withdraw rates; realized the need for important advising software, which resulted in the purchase of DegreeWorks; and helped push greater awareness of the benefits – and importance – of students taking 15 credits per semester.

Recently, Potvin has led a far-reaching effort across campus to update the university’s 12-year-old core curriculum for every student.

“While that work will ultimately be completed after she leaves, it will be thanks to her leadership that it is very close to being done,” Cruzado said.

Over the years, Potvin has helped shepherd numerous new courses, degrees, centers and institutes into existence through the Montana Board of Regents and has overseen her staff’s work on the task of accreditation.

Under the broad umbrella that is the Provost’s Office, Potvin oversaw the university’s deans, the Center for Faculty Excellence, Extended University, the Leadership Institute, the McNair Scholars program, Summer Session, the Undergraduate Scholars program, WWAMI, the Blackstone Launchpad, the Office of International Programs, ADVANCE Project TRACS, University Studies, the Testing Center, the Leadership Fellows, promotion and tenure, faculty sabbaticals, student academic misconduct, collective bargaining, academic program review and many more duties.      

Nationally, Potvin serves on the board of the Association of Chief Academic Officers. Prior to her move to MSU, Potvin served for 10 years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of biology at the University of North Dakota. As dean, she was active in the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences and served on its board of directors for three years.

Potvin began her career as a faculty member at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. During her 16 years at that institution as an assistant, associate and full professor, she served as chair of the Department of Biology for 11 years, and before moving to North Dakota she served as interim dean of Graduate Studies and Extended Education.

Potvin has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Connecticut, a master’s degree in botany and plant ecology from Michigan State University and a doctorate from the University of Nebraska in ecology and evolutionary biology. 

The university plans to have a celebration of Potvin’s time at MSU later in the spring. 

Contact: Tracy Ellig, executive director of MSU Communications, 406-994-5607,