2022 Mendez appointed provost

Oklahoma State University named Dr. Jeanette Mendez as provost and senior vice president following a nationwide search. 

The announcement made May 27 was guided by input from the OSU community, as well as a diverse, 24-person selection committee, assisted by the national search firm Buffkin/Baker. 

A first-generation college student, Mendez graduated from Santa Clara University in 1998, receiving a bachelor’s degree in combined sciences. From there, she went to Indiana University, earning a master’s degree in political science in 2000 and a Ph.D. in political science in 2003. She then became an assistant professor of political science at the University of Houston (2003-2005) before joining the OSU political science faculty in 2005. 

Mendez was named interim provost in January 2021 following the announcement of Dr. Gary Sandefur’s retirement. She has served as a member of President Shrum’s senior leadership team, co-chair of the strategy steering committee, co-chair of OSU’s Pandemic Response Team as well as co-chair of the campus-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. During her time at OSU, she also has led initiatives to increase collaborative research opportunities across academic colleges and campuses, increased online degree offerings and enrollment as well as led efforts to examine and provide recommendations for possible reforms to general education at OSU.

Prior to that, Mendez served as vice provost of academic affairs and a professor of political science, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (2018-2019), associate dean for research and facilities (2017-2018), interim associate dean for research (2014-2015) and political science department head (2011-2014; 2015-2017). 

“I believe higher education institutions should be focused on real-world solutions for real-world problems,” Mendez wrote. “This is a hallmark of the Cowboy Culture — solving problems for the common good. During the last decade, I have watched OSU grow across all facets of the university and am confident there has never been a more exciting time for OSU than right now.”