Distinguished faculty members join OKED leadership

Mitzi Montoya

Three senior faculty leaders with extensive teaching and research experience are joining Arizona State University’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED).

Mitzi Montoya has been appointed OKED’s new vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation and university dean of entrepreneurship and innovation. Montoya has served as vice provost and dean of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation since 2011.

Gordon McConnell, OKED’s assistant vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation, will be promoted to associate vice president. He will work closely with Montoya to further advance ASU’s vibrant innovation ecosystem.

George Justice will serve as OKED’s associate vice president for humanities and arts. He will leverage his role as dean of humanities within ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to bring together the broad range of humanities and arts at ASU.

Alexandra Brewis Slade has been named associate vice president for social sciences in OKED. She will continue to serve as the director of ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change as she works to rapidly grow social science research at ASU.

“I am delighted to welcome these outstanding faculty leaders to the OKED senior leadership team,” says Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development. “Their collective experiences demonstrate their commitment to advancing our faculty aspirations and their passion to contribute extensively to the success of ASU.”

During her tenure at the College of Technology and Innovation, Montoya spearheaded several initiatives designed to promote and support entrepreneurship. She was pivotal in bringing TechShop, a membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio with locations nationwide, to the ASU Chandler Innovation Center. She also launched iProjects, which connects ASU students with industry to solve real business problems. Montoya earned a doctorate in business administration and a bachelor's in general engineering from Michigan State University. She has also provided industry consulting to businesses that include Dow Chemical Company, Raytheon Corporation, Eli Lilly and others.

“Entrepreneurship certainly includes new ventures and startups – something we do well at ASU and want to do more of. But it’s also more than that and it applies to all aspects of the university. Entrepreneurship is a process of adaptation and creating new value – and the outcome of that process is innovation,” Montoya says. “ASU is one of the most entrepreneurial universities in the world. I’m excited to have the opportunity to contribute to ASU’s role as an entrepreneur and innovator in higher education.”

Justice came to ASU recently from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he was vice provost for advanced studies and dean of the Graduate School. In these roles, he oversaw more than 70 doctoral programs and 90 masters programs spanning the arts, sciences, education, business, law, medicine, nursing, journalism and engineering. Justice also helped develop the University of Missouri Informatics Institute and spearheaded Missouri’s entry into the Center for the Integration of Research, Training, and Learning, a consortium dedicated to transforming STEM undergraduate education. In his new role, Justice looks forward to bringing together a wide variety of research from faculty and students in many different academic units.

“The humanities are not limited to the units I serve as dean of humanities in CLAS. In OKED, I will work with other deans and directors of university-wide initiatives in an ASU Council of Humanities Research, which allows us to spur collaborations among the arts and humanities, and also coordinate collaboration with other colleges, schools and research centers at ASU,” he says. “Already a top university for funded research in the humanities, ASU is poised to develop further critically important links among the humanities and arts, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, public programs, journalism, health, law and other areas of research.”

Brewis Slade was selected as a 2013 President’s Professor, honoring her substantial contributions to undergraduate education. She is a world-renowned anthropology scholar who spearheaded the creation of ASU’s popular degree in Global Health. She brings a global perspective to her new position, having decades of international research experience in such places as the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Mexico, the U.S. rural South and Arizona. Her research currently focuses on understanding the obesity epidemic, and her work on stigma related to obesity is widely cited, including recently on page A1 of the New York Times. 

“I am excited for the opportunity to work with the team at OKED to support and advance the work being done in social sciences at ASU,” says Brewis Slade. “Our scholars are some of the most productive anywhere, doing important and substantial research using a tremendous array of skills and approaches. Social science’s capacity to work with all fields of scholarship as well as the community means we can advance solutions to many different complex problems, from sustainability to policy to health care.”

“In their new roles, I have no doubt that Dr. Montoya, Dr. Justice and Dr. Brewis Slade will make an even greater impact in their respective roles and help accelerate the progress of OKED and the university,” says Panchanathan.

Media contact:

Amelia Huggins, amelia.huggins@asu.edu
Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

(480) 965-1754