The senior vice president for academic affairs and provost is the university's chief academic officer, with responsibilities for academic programs, personnel and resources. The primary duty of the provost is to ensure the quality of education and research at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.
In this position, Lentini will have oversight responsibility for the College of Arts and Sciences; the schools of Education and Human Services, Business Administration, Engineering and Computer Science, Nursing and Health Sciences; and the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
"I am very pleased to welcome James Lentini to Oakland University," Russi said. "Lentini has been described as a quick thinker, responsive, good at building bridges and respectful of others."
Lentini has served as the dean of the School of Creative Arts at Miami University in Ohio since 2007, where he:
- fostered the creation of new degree programs several endowments;
- reorganized the staffing of the school for fundraising and advising, as well as implemented new tenure track joint appointments;
- implemented strategies that led to a student retention rate of 91 percent and six-year graduation rate of 82 percent;
- improved faculty diversity, and;
- expanded national visibility by producing a "Year of the Arts" celebration and a major performance at Carnegie Hall.
From 2003-07, Lentini served as the founding dean of the School of Art, Media and Music at the College of New Jersey. In that capacity, he was responsible for curriculum, budget, strategic planning, fundraising and personnel. Lentini also served as acting chair of Wayne State University's Department of Music from 2000-01 and associate chair from 1997-2000 and 2001-03.
A composer and guitarist, he has numerous original compositions. His music appears on the Naxos label's American Classics series, and his awards include Career Achievement in the Field of Music from Wayne State University, first prize in the Choral Composition Contest at Bluffton College, the Andres Segovia International Composition Award, a Visiting Artist Residency in Composition at the American Academy in Rome, and the ASCAP Standard Panel Award 1991-2013.
Critics have praised Lentini's music. Gramophone Magazine has called him a "... typical classical music success story," while describing his composition "Scenes from Sedona" as "… perhaps the best piece for viola and cello since Beethoven's 'Eyeglasses' duet."
"I am thrilled to be joining President Russi and the administration, faculty, staff, and students at Oakland University," Lentini said.
"Seeing how the university has grown and transformed over the past several years, I am attracted by the opportunity to help expand the reach and impact of the institution even further. I am also pleased to return to Southeast Michigan, and I am eager to work with my new colleagues at Oakland as we envision an exciting future."
A native Detroiter, Lentini earned his doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Southern California, his master of music degree from Michigan State University and his bachelor of music degree from Wayne State University. His other studies include management in leadership and education at Harvard University.