Valparaiso University Provost Mark R. Schwehn ’67, Ph.D., will retire from his position effective June 30, 2014, as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Schwehn has served the University since 1983 and was named provost in 2009.
“Provost Schwehn has been a transformative, thoughtful leader at Valpo for three decades,” Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler said. “He has been a faithful steward to the mission and vision of Valparaiso University, and his guidance has been invaluable during a time of significant growth and expansion for our University.”
During his time as provost, Schwehn counts the development of Valparaiso University’s academic plan, part of the University’s campus-wide Strategic Plan, as one of the high points of his tenure. He also added the position of Executive Director of Campus Ministries and expanded ministry programming on campus. In 2012, the University launched the Institute for Leadership and Service under Schwehn’s guidance. The Institute is designed to expand and enhance opportunities for experiential learning, service and vocational reflection throughout the curriculum and in the larger community.
Additionally, Schwehn has overseen the expansion of academic programs in all of the University’s colleges. In 2012, the University hired a Director of Writing to strengthen writing skills in students of all majors. The breadth of academic offerings at Valpo has expanded significantly under Provost Schwehn’s direction, including an expansion of the College of Nursing into other areas of health professions and several new master’s programs. In addition, he fostered a partnership with the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago with a Hyde Park campus for Valparaiso University; developed a vision and mission for the STEM disciplines; and developed a strategic plan for internationalization that aims to provide a cross-cultural learning experience.
“Teaching has always been my first love, though I have learned being an educator can take many forms,” Schwehn said. “I have enjoyed my time as provost enormously. I have learned a great deal, and I have been blessed to work with an inspiring group of people, especially with President Heckler.”
Previously, Schwehn served as dean of Christ College – The Honors College from 1990 to 2003. Under his leadership, the College raised more than $7 million in gifts and grants, increased enrollment in the College by 33 percent, and advanced both the academic profile and the diversity of the Christ College student body.
During his tenure as dean, Schwehn established an alumni advisory board and a national advisory council for Christ College. He also created and established the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, a national network of 90 colleges and universities with a postdoctoral fellow program that prepares new teachers for faith-based institutions of higher education. Schwehn has served as Lilly Fellows Program Project Director since 1990, recruiting 42 postdoctoral fellows.
He intends to take a year sabbatical to complete a book project while in residence at the Collegeville Institute at St. John’s College in Minnesota. After his leave, Schwehn will resume teaching in Christ College.
Schwehn holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Philosophy from Valparaiso University and a Doctor of Philosophy in History and Humanities from Stanford University, where his doctoral dissertation won the 1978 Allan Nevins Prize, awarded annually by the Society of American Historians to the most distinguished Ph.D. thesis in the field of American History.
He is author of “Exiles from Eden: Religion and the Academic Vocation in America” and editor of three additional books. His articles on faith-based education have been published in numerous publications, and he is invited to speak at institutions and associations throughout the United States.
The University will conduct a nationwide search for a new provost to be filled by July 1, 2014.