An educational leader with a deep appreciation for the values of academic excellence and student achievement is PLU's new provost. James L. Pence, most recently provost and dean of the college at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., assumed the role of PLU's chief academic officer in August.
"We are fortunate to have Jim joining our leadership team," PLU President Loren J. Anderson said. "He understands that the faculty is the heart of the university."
Pence is equally excited. "I have admired PLU for its ability to position itself as a university that remains grounded in the liberal arts while reaching out to the world to meet the needs of society," Pence said.
Pence is also impressed with the level and quality of participation in the university's long-range planning process, PLU 2010. He looks forward to working with faculty members to set academic priorities and with fellow administrators to plan for the future.
Pence was at St. Olaf since 1996. His previous experience includes vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa; associate vice president for academic and student affairs at the University of Southern Colorado; tenured member of the English Department at the University of Southern Colorado and Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz. He speaks and publishes articles frequently on issues relating to higher education and is chairman of the
American Conference of Academic Deans, and a board member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. He earned his doctorate in English from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and his master's and bachelor's degrees from Colorado State University.
Pence and his wife, Janet, have two daughters: Katie, a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., who will enter Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in the fall, and Tory, who will be a sophomore art education major at St. Olaf next year.
Pence succeeds Provost Paul Menzel, who is returning to the faculty after eight years of distinguished service.