Dr. Kenton L. Sparks Named New Provost of Eastern University

St. Davids, PA: Eastern University is pleased to announce Dr. Kenton L. Sparks has been named Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs of the University effective July 1, 2017. He replaces Dr. Keith Iddings, who was in the position July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017.  Over the last three years Dr. Sparks served on President Robert G. Duffett’s Executive Leadership Team as Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment and has served as Special Assistant to the President. In his new role, he will supervise Academic Affairs, Student Development and Enrollment Management and Marketing. 

Currently on faculty as Professor of Biblical Studies, Dr. Sparks has been with Eastern University since 2000 and is a past Chair of the Christian Studies Department. He is accustomed to the workings of the Provost’s Office having served as Assistant Provost to Provosts Hall and King from 2006 to 2011 and as acting Provost from 2011 to 2014. As a scholar, he is the author of numerous books and refereed journal articles. He won the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2005. 

President Duffett remarked in a written address to the Eastern community, “Kent’s talents and experience within Christian Higher Education and his knowledge of EU means a seamless transition in the Provost’s Office. From my perspective, Dr. Sparks’ appointment is our best possibility to reach our educational, Christian experience and student formation goals. To put it in a colloquial expression, ‘Kent will hit the ground running.’” 

After his appointment Dr. Sparks said, “Now more than ever before, our world is crying out for faith, reason and justice. Eastern University's core mission is to advance these three, critical elements of human wholeness in the church and to the ends of the earth."  

Dr. Sparks also outlined specific goals as Provost which include, “ensuring that Eastern University's core mission is driven by an understanding of human flourishing, of both what it is and how it can be advanced; building academic programs to prepare students for a constantly-changing social and economic context; providing state-of-the-art educational experiences, informed by the latest theories of student learning and instructional design; offering co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences and services that delight our students; basically... to provide the kind of higher education experience that our students and potential students dream about.”

Sparks is an ordained pastor and came to Eastern University after serving seven years on the pastoral staff of Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.  He earned his Bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies from Johnson University, a Master's degree in Hebrew Bible from Columbia International University, a Master's in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

He is married to Dr. Cheryl Bailey Sparks, professor of marriage & family at Eastern, and has two daughters, Emily and Cara Ellen.

Eastern University is a Philadelphia Christian university of the arts and sciences located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia at 1300 Eagle Road in St. Davids, PA. Eastern enrolls approximately 3,500 students in its undergraduate, graduate, professional, urban, Seminary and international programs. Its core values of faith, reason and justice are woven into all of its educational programs. For more information visit eastern.edu or contact Denise McMillan, Communications Director, 610-341-4365, dmcmill@eastern.edu.