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Meet the Provost, Steve Pawluk

Steve Pawluk, Provost

Steve Pawluk became Provost of La Sierra University in July 2010.  Previously, he served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Administration and Leadership in the University’s School of Education.  Before joining the faculty of La Sierra University in June 2007, Dr. Pawluk served as Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at Southern Adventist University. Before going to Southern Adventist University, he was Professor of Education and Dean of the School of Education and Psychology at Walla Walla College (now University). Dr. Pawluk has had wide-ranging experience as Superintendent of Schools and Youth Director of the Montana Conference of  Seventh-day Adventists, as a pastor and speaker on a daily radio program on a local country and western station, as an academy teacher, and as a reserve police officer, welder, licensed contractor, and door-to-door cutlery salesman.

Dr. Pawluk holds a Doctorate in Education from Montana State University, an M.A. degree in Religion from Loma Linda University, and a B.A. in Theology from the La Sierra Campus of Loma Linda University. In 2004, he was named a leadership fellow by the Milton Murray Foundation for Philanthropy.  This allowed him to complete a summer institute at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.

Dr. Pawluk was awarded the Thomas and Violet Excellence in Teaching Award for his innovative teaching at Walla Walla College, the Community Service Award from the city of Walla Walla, where he was actively involved in public service, a Keep My Fires Burning: Tribute to Storytellers and Elders Pendleton blanket for support of Native Americans in higher education, and the Por apoyar la educatión in Bolivia citation for his work with Universidad Adventista de Bolivia.

Dr. Pawluk holds a commercial pilot license and a current instrument rating and is curious about a wide variety of topics.  He has redesigned a portion of the back yard at his Riverside home to be a cactus and succulent garden in order to conserve water.  His wife, Carol, is an elementary school music teacher.  They have two adult children—a son and a daughter and a new grandson.

What is a Provost

The word provost (Middle English, from Old English profost and Old French provost, derived from Medieval Latin propositus as an alteration of the Old Latin praepositus one in charge, director, from past participle of praeponere to place at the head) dates from before 12th century. It was used “as the proper title of certain ecclesiastical and secular officers in England and Scotland.” (Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. provost.) The OED contains the following information about the word’s use in academic settings:

2. The specific title of the heads of certain educational colleges.
In earlier instances, a survival from the ecclesiastical establishments in which these originated; in later instances an extension of the name to subsequent foundations. The title is borne by the heads of Oriel, Queen's, and Worcester Colleges at Oxford, King's College, Cambridge, and Trinity College, Dublin; also of Eton College, and now or formerly of certain other colleges in England, Scotland, the United States, etc.

The title Provost is used widely in American higher education with particular reference to the role of chief academic officer who also serves as the second officer of a college or university under the President.

At La Sierra University the title Provost is used for the person who occupies the dual role of chief operating officer and chief academic officer. The job description in the Faculty Handbook includes the following:

The provost is the second officer of the university, reports directly to the president, and serves as the university’s chief executive officer in the absence of the president. As the chief operating officer of the university, the provost supervises the activities of the vice presidents and seeks their consensus in support of mutually developed plans. As chief academic officer, the provost carries broad responsibility for the university’s academic programs and ensures the fulfillment of the university’s academic goals. The provost holds both the position of chief operating officer and the position of chief academic officer to guarantee that all university activities contribute to the fulfillment of La Sierra’s academic mission.

Reporting to the Provost office are the Vice Presidents, the Deans of the university’s schools, and directors within the Division of Academic Administration.


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