Sparks named special assistant to provost

Biblical studies professor Kent Sparks was recently appointed Eastern’s first-ever special assistant to the provost. The appointment came from Chris Hall, whose job as the dean of the Templeton Honors College in addition to his new position as provost required him to have an assistant.”I had a full-time job, and I took on another full-time job, and I needed people helping me,” Hall said.Sparks, with an MBA in business administration from Kennesaw State University, had the skills necessary for such assistance. “He has a wonderful organizational mind. He’s quite a combination,” interim dean of arts and sciences Betsy Morgan said. Hall agreed, but also said that his ability to work with Sparks was a factor in his decision. “He knows me really well,” he said. “Being good friends, we work efficiently together.”Sparks said he accepted the position because of the friendship he has with Hall. “I accepted the position because Chris asked me,” he said. “Chris is a friend, and it’s as simple as that.”Sparks said his duties include handling the everyday details of the provost’s job that Hall cannot manage in addition to being dean of the honors college. “It keeps him from being bogged down in details,” Sparks said.In addition to his new duties, Sparks will teach two courses a semester this year. His two roles as teacher and administrator put him in a unique position.”I don’t feel like a faculty member or an administrator,” he said.It is this dual role, especially since Sparks still wants to be considered a part of the faculty, that led to his title as special assistant to the provost. “He wants to make sure people understand he’s not an associate provost,” Hall said. “He wants to be a member of faculty who is also the special assistant to the provost.” Sparks agreed.”I’m trying to retain my identity as a teacher,” he said. “This is an extra duty that I do.”Sparks said he has been enjoying his job as special assistant so far, and by all accounts, others think he is doing a good job.”I haven’t talked to anyone who hasn’t thought it was good and logical and wise,” Morgan said of the decision.Hall especially believes his decision was the right one. “He’s been everything I hoped he would be,” he said.

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