The University Record, March 8, 1993

California educator nominated for post of vice provost for academic and multicultural affairs

Lester P. Monts, professor of ethnomusicology and a dean of undergraduate affairs at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been recommended to the Regents for appointment as vice provost for academic and multicultural affairs.

The Regents are scheduled to consider the nomination at their March 11–12 meeting. If approved, the appointment would be effective July 1. He also would serve as professor of music, with tenure.

A professor in the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music, Monts has been dean of undergraduate affairs in the College of Letters and Science there since 1989 and, in that role, directed Santa Barbara’s Undergraduate Honors Program.

In his U-M position, Monts will succeed Charles D. Moody Sr., vice provost for minority affairs since June 1987. Moody will become director of a new initiative to establish cooperative programs with South African universities.

“Prof. Monts enjoys an outstanding reputation as a teacher, scholar and researcher,” said Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr. “He has been consistently rated as outstanding to excellent by the students in his undergraduate and graduate courses, and is credited with having developed an exceptional graduate program in ethnomusicology at Santa Barbara.

“He is considered a preeminent ethnomusicologist, and his presentations at national meetings have been enthusiastically received.

“He is a talented administrator who has earned the respect of colleagues, students and community leaders at Santa Barbara. In addition, he is recognized for his achievements and vision in successfully implementing multicultural programs with sensitivity and skill.”

Whitaker noted that Monts’ nomination “follows an extensive national search that resulted in an outstanding pool of candidates for this position. In my view, as well as the view of many students, faculty and staff who met with our finalists during their campus visits, Dr. Monts stood out as a person of high standards, integrity, dedication and intellect who could provide outstanding leadership for our multicultural initiatives at this critical stage.”

At the U-M, Monts will facilitate and support interdisciplinary instructional and research programs bearing on multiculturalism. He also will play a major role in helping the University refine institutional policies, programs and procedures regarding multiculturalism.

Monts joined Santa Barbara in 1979 as assistant professor of ethnomusicology and Black studies; he was named associate professor of ethnomusicology in 1986 and professor in 1992.

Previously Monts was an assistant professor of trumpet at Edinboro State University and a visiting instructor of Afro-American studies at the University of Minnesota while pursuing doctoral studies.

His research focuses on the musical and cultural systems among the Vai people of Liberia, and he is regarded as the world’s leading scholar of music of the Vai.

Monts has published extensively in scholarly journals and delivered numerous conference papers and invited lectures on his research. He is the author of An Annotated Glossary of Vai Musical Language in its Social Context, and currently is working on Crossing the Water: Music, Islam and Vai Celebrations of Death.

“Prof. Monts also has an enviable record as a performer,” Whitaker noted, “having served as principal trumpet at both the Allegheny Summer Music Festival and the Music Festival of Arkansas for 15 consecutive seasons.” Monts also performed as soloist, chamber player and conductor in these orchestras.

Monts holds a B.A. from Arkansas Polytechnic College, master’s degree in music from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.