Tarleton Names Dr. Diane Stearns Next Provost, VP for Academic Affairs

Dr. Diane Stearns has been named Tarleton’s next Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Monday, March 14, 2022

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Following a rigorous national search, Diane Stearns, Ph.D., has been named Tarleton State University’s next Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective June 1, pending approval by The Texas A&M University System Chancellor.

She replaces Dr. Karen Murray, who’s stepping back after more than three decades of service.

Dr. Stearns served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff from 2019 to 2021 and currently is a Professor in NAU’s Honors College.

“We are extremely grateful to welcome a gifted leader and recognized educator like Dr. Stearns,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “Her proven track record as an administrator and collaborator make her the ideal choice to advance the academic mission of the institution.” 

As Tarleton’s chief academic officer, Dr. Stearns will play an essential role in advancing excellence in teaching, research, undergraduate and graduate education, and in recruiting and retaining faculty.

“President Hurley’s vision, a distinctive university experience and the deep commitment to students are what attracted me to Tarleton,” Dr. Stearns said. “I am excited to join the team that is taking this great institution to the next level.”

Dr. Stearns joined the NAU faculty in 1997 as Assistant Professor of Chemistry, working her way up to Associate Vice President for Research and later to Provost. She played a significant role in NAU’s impactful work with the Southwest Health Equity Research Collaborative, addressing health disparities in diverse populations.

She is a graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where she majored in chemistry. She holds a PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

A founding member of The Texas A&M System, Tarleton State is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of nearly 17,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.