Gonzales named provost at Montclair State

Dr. Junius Gonzales, a veteran higher education leader with a track record of innovation across the country, has been named provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Montclair State University, the school announced Thursday.

As the second-highest-ranking officer of the university, Gonzales will lead Montclair State’s 10 colleges and schools, which offer more than 300 academic degree programs serving some 21,000 students, the second-largest enrollment at any higher education institution in New Jersey.

Over a distinguished 30-year career, Gonzales has worked as a faculty member, researcher, consultant and senior administrator. He currently serves as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the New York Institute of Technology.

Gonzales’ experience goes beyond higher ed.

He began his career as a psychiatrist who treated patients and conducted research at Georgetown University’s academic medical center before joining the National Institutes of Health, where he rose to become director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research in the National Institute of Mental Health, overseeing a $250 million research portfolio that included the largest-ever federally funded studies of the comparative effectiveness of different treatments for mental health disorders.

Montclair State President Jonathan Koppell said he was excited to make the announcement, which will be effective March 7.

“I am thrilled that Junius Gonzales will be joining the senior leadership team. His broad-ranging experience, track record of innovation and his commitment to working collaboratively to support students and faculty will positively impact the entire university community,” Koppell said. “I am looking forward to working closely with him as we elevate Montclair to become a national model of an innovative 21st-century public university.”

Gonzales brings extensive experience as a leader in higher education. He has served as the chief academic officer at the University of Texas-El Paso, a Hispanic-serving Institution, which — like Montclair — is committed to serving a diverse 21st-century student demographic and one that has achieved R1 designation as a top-tier research university. Gonzales led efforts at UTEP that significantly increased student retention and degree completion, expanded online programs and helped to increase faculty and student research.

He also held the position of senior vice president for academic affairs in the University of North Carolina System, one of the nation’s largest, comprising 16 colleges and universities and one residential high school that together enroll some 235,000 students. In 2016, he served as the UNC System’s interim president.

“Joining Montclair State University is a tremendous honor,” Gonzales said. “I am impressed by Montclair’s rising trajectory, which includes outstanding student success, remarkable growth in research and scholarship, and increasing recognition in national rankings. The university’s designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, its diversity and inclusivity, and its sense of community and belonging resonate deeply with me, given my personal journey as a first-generation college student from a minority background.”

Gonzales has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including the New York Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Educational Excellence Award, which will be presented Thursday. He has also served on national committees for federal agencies such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and for higher education associations such as the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

He holds degrees from Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and the University of Maryland. He received advanced training in psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Gonzales succeeds Kimberly Hollister, who since July has served as acting provost over the last six months, after Willard Gingerich stepped down to return to the faculty as a professor of English.