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Melissa Vito | Vice Provost for Academic Innovation (Interim), UT San Antonio

Melissa Vito | Vice Provost for Academic Innovation (Interim), UT San Antonio

Current Position and Past Experience
Melissa Vito has over 35 years of experience in public higher education. She is recognized for her relentlessly future-focused, energetic leadership and her ability to mentor others and build highly functional teams. As Vice Provost for Academic Innovation at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA), Melissa has transformed teaching and learning at UTSA, grown an infrastructure for fully online programs and created dynamic learning environments that prepare students to thrive in a world where digital fluency is required.

She led the reorganization that brought together the areas of Teaching, Learning and Digital Transformation focused on modality-agnostic innovative teaching and learning. Most recently, UTSA has been recognized for its groundbreaking early work in incorporating Generative AI into the curriculum, developing faculty learning networks and supporting both faculty and student innovation utilizing this tool.

Under her leadership, UTSA Online, a fully online university experience, climbed to the top 20% of all online U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Programs list in 2024. Melissa was instrumental in uniting UTSA and Adobe Creative Campus and creating a research project to measure the impact of curricular use of Adobe tools on student learning. This project led to an ongoing effort to measure the impact of course redesign on student outcomes. Findings include higher grades and increases in course completion.

Melissa and her team have also reimagined physical learning environments. Academic Innovation transformed over 60 classrooms and four outdoor learning spaces. The Educause Horizon Report in 2022 recognized UTSA’s dynamic approach to integrating collaborative academic technologies into classrooms and faculty training. Melissa envisioned and created the Academic Innovation Center (AIC), an incubator and community space that brings faculty, students, and teaching and learning specialists together to experiment with new ideas, encourage creativity and inspire transformative teaching.

Prior to UTSA, Melissa served as Senior Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and Student Success at the University of Arizona (UA), retiring in July of 2018. During her UA career, she developed and launched UA’s online programs in 2015, and was recognized by UPCEA in 2019 for the Innovation in Transformation Award. She co-founded the Gender-Based Violence Center; co-coordinated efforts that led to UA’s designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution; envisioned and developed the Think Tank learning center; reimagined Career Services; and oversaw the development of the University’s first Veterans Center. Melissa’s vision to bring together all areas that impact student success resulted in the UA Student Success District, which opened in 2021.

Education, Honors and Achievements
At UA, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and English and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Counseling. She has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Personal Details and Community Involvement
Melissa has consulted with large public universities and corporations on issues pertaining to the future of higher education, fully online programs, leadership, crisis management, and faculty development. She speaks and writes frequently, including contributing to NASPA’s book Online & Engaged (March 2020) and From Grassroots to the Highly Orchestrated.

Recognized nationally by NASPA as a Pillar of the Profession, she has also received the ACPA national award for Excellence in Practice, the National Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors Kent Gardner Award for Excellence, is a member of the Online Learning Consortium Board of Directors and on faculty for Educause’s Digital Leaders Institute. She also received the Mentor of the Year Award in 2013 by Tucson’s 40 Under 40 Program and was recognized in 2023 as a member of the Salpointe High School Hall of Fame.

Her spare time activities include road cycling, traveling music (she has been known to DJ from time to time)!

Articles by this author:

State of CE 2024