Meet the Provost

Provost Nelson Smiling

Kristi A. Nelson

Kristi A. Nelson, PhD, serves as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, providing oversight and strategic direction for the University of Cincinnati's nearly 45,000 students, 4,200 faculty and 13 academic colleges, the Graduate School and a collection of state-of-the-art university libraries. As the university's chief academic officer, Nelson oversees the human and fiscal resources that fuel UC’s academic and research mission with assistance from the academic deans and Provost senior staff while also supporting various aspects of faculty and student success.

In 2015, Nelson was named professor emeritus, with one of the university's highest honors, the President's Award for Excellence. She has been a strong supporter of and advocate for the University Honors Program. Nelson is deeply committed to the development of faculty and student success through experiential-based learning.

Nelson began her career at UC in 1979 as a faculty member in art history. She quickly took on additional challenges, serving as director of graduate studies and then associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.

Nelson next served as vice provost for faculty relations before tackling an administrative position in the College of Nursing. She then served as interim dean of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, where she oversaw more than 45 programs serving 8,000 students, 450 faculty members and a $100 million budget.

As senior vice provost, a position she held for 15 years, Nelson acted as chief advisor to the provost and representative for academic affairs, strategic planning and partnerships with academic units and other internal and external partners.

As a key member of the provost’s leadership team, Nelson represented the office across campus and to the Ohio Board of Regents. She helped lead the creation of UC’s academic master plan and served as academic committee chair. Nelson served on the fiscal coordinating and president’s budget advisory committees, provided oversight for institutional and specialized accreditation and was instrumental in establishing a women’s leadership program at UC.

Nelson holds a PhD in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Florida State University. Prior to joining the Provost’s Office she served as Associate Dean in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Her specialty in Art History is in the area of Early Modern Dutch and Flemish Art.