July 22, 2010
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) After six years as La Sierra University’s provost, Warren Trenchard will pursue new assignments at the school. He celebrated the culmination of his work as second-in-command with a musical adventure in Canada. It’s a fitting end to an administrative journey at an institution whose ethos mirrors the jazz genre he loves, a mixture of technical expertise and ingenuity, of organization and independence.
“I was attracted to La Sierra as a place to work in large part because of its balanced commitment to vibrant faith and vigorous inquiry, a place that values the life of the mind and the matters of the heart, where both are viewed as the basis of service to others,” Trenchard said.
On July 2 Trenchard and his wife, Marilyn, traveled to Montreal’s famed international jazz festival for several days of musical fun, courtesy of the university in recognition of Trenchard’s years of service as provost. University President Randal Wisbey presented the gift to Trenchard during a reception in his honor last month. Saxophonist Carol Chaikin and her quartet provided music for the well-attended occasion during which Wisbey and several university leaders spoke of the provost’s positive influence on the campus and good work as a top administrator.
Associate Provost Barbara Favorito, who has worked closely with Trenchard on many issues, described big impacts he made on the university that changed the way parents and students view the institution. Those include the inception of the Center for Student Academic Success which mentors and supports freshmen, the establishment of the Division for Continuing Studies and the restructuring of admissions and registrar offices into one department.
Trenchard’s strong leadership made for smooth transitions throughout all the changes, she said. “He is known as a man of his word and is respected and trusted by those of us who work with him daily. I am proud to call him a mentor, a trusted advisor but most of all, I am proud to call him my friend,” Favorito said.
Trenchard’s position as provost ended June 30 and incoming Provost Steve Pawluk began the job on July 1. The La Sierra University Board of Trustees on May 13 appointed Pawluk to the position. Pawluk chaired the department of administration and leadership in La Sierra’s School of Education and served there as professor of administration and leadership.
The provost’s post at La Sierra combines roles of chief academic officer and chief operating officer. Trenchard, who also is a professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature in La Sierra’s School of Religion, lectured occasionally in the school during his tenure as provost. He taught a section of Freshman Seminar focusing on jazz history in the University Studies program and a course on social entrepreneurship in the School of Business. Trenchard also served as a consultant to the school’s Students In Free Enterprise team in general and on projects in Ethiopia and Colombia in particular. He attended most of the SIFE team’s national and international competitions.
Trenchard took on the role of second-in-command six years ago at the behest of others. “I was happily working toward the completion of my academic career as a member of the faculty,” he said. However based on the level of faculty support at the time, he decided to shoulder the provost’s responsibilities, Trenchard said.
For Trenchard, his most rewarding moments as provost often transpired during informal mediation efforts he led between various parties at the campus. Such moments resulted in opportunities to help direct divergent views into coordinated efforts, he said. “What I’m most proud of are the accomplishments of the people I’ve worked with,” Trenchard said.
Key projects as provost included revitalizing La Sierra’s Adventist Colleges Abroad program and working to increase efficiencies in transferring California Community Colleges students to La Sierra. He pushed to increase pay for contract teachers, an effort that resulted in a system that is indexed to faculty salaries. He created a 10-week orientation program for new faculty and administrators and, along with the chairs of the University Rank and Tenure Committee, designed and conducted workshops for helping faculty prepare for promotion and tenure review. Trenchard also worked with faculty directors to redesign and revitalize the summer academic program and helped bring new programs to campus, including the new criminal justice bachelor’s degree program set to begin this fall.
And last summer he joined with Dr. Marvin Payne, chair of La Sierra’s chemistry department, in creating the Pierce Street Jazz series at La Sierra, an extension of his deep and varied musical interests and an effort to strengthen the region’s offerings of a traditional American art form. The periodic concerts at La Sierra’s Alumni Center feature quartets of professional stage and studio jazz musicians who have performed with some of the industry’s most famous acts.
The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in Quebec, Canada, which the Trenchards attended earlier this month, is a musical cornucopia showcasing the talents of hundreds of jazz greats including Ahmad Jamal, David Sanborn, Lou Reed, Roy Hargrove, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck and many others. Many of the Pierce Street Jazz concerts at La Sierra have featured musicians who perform with these famed jazz artists.
In a fun coincidence, the couple flew a leg of their journey, from Houston to Montréal, on Air Canada’s Jazz airlines. They attended several concerts at the festival, including a performance by the Keith Jarrett Trio and by 91-year-old jazz pianist extraordinaire, Dave Brubeck and his quartet. “Brubeck was just spectacular,” Trenchard said.
For Trenchard, jazz represents a unique “blend of technical competence with artistic creativity,” he said. He remembers the tune that piqued his interest back in college while working as a radio station manager. After he heard the mesmerizing Benny Golson tune “I Remember Clifford” by jazz piano legend Oscar Peterson and his trio, Trenchard was hooked. “It’s a balance between structure and freedom,” Trenchard says of the musical genre. “Plus at the end of the day it’s delightfully fun.”
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La Sierra University