Despite his busy class schedule, work with Middle States Commission on Higher Education and being newly appointed the Interim Provost of Eastern University, Dr. Kent Sparks is somehow managing to keep his life in balance.
Sparks first came to Eastern University because he believed the campus to be special. He sees Eastern as a place that meets people where they are in their Christian journey and does not dictate a particular brand of faith to them, never telling people what to believe or how to believe it.
When talking about his own Christian journey, Sparks was transparent: “I lost my faith in college and therefore sympathize with people who are struggling with their faith,” he said. Explaining the reasons for his loss of faith, he said, “The answers that were given to me by fellow Christians were too simple to solve the problems of our struggles in this world. Therefore, my faith fell apart like too many threads that were not connected.”
Sparks cited the works of C. S. Lewis as guides that aided in his return to faith. Lewis showed him “how it is possible to have faith in this messy world.”
With a new passion for Christianity, Sparks became a pastor in South Carolina for seven years while earning a Ph.D in Old Testament Studies from the University of South Carolina. In 2000, he made the move north to join the faculty of Eastern.
When asked how he feels about his new position as Interim Provost, Sparks replied that he is very excited. As provost, he will oversee all academic aspects of the university, coordinating with the deans to further academic excellence. He will also participate in the 2012 re-accredidation of the University by Middle States.
Sparks has previous experience with this prestigious role, having previously worked in the Provost’s office at Eastern for nearly six years. That in mind, this appointment seems to be a natural trajectory for Sparks. The student body looks forward to what he will accomplish in this new role.