California Baptist University named Dr. Charles Sands, dean of the College of Allied Health and professor of public health, the new provost and vice president for academic affairs beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year.
Effective July 1, Sands will execute the duties of the provost by being responsible for the academic affairs of the university, including providing academic leadership and guidance for each of the schools of CBU and serving as an academic advocate for the faculty of the university and Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of CBU.
“It’s going to be very exciting; it’s a lot of fun,” Sands said. “You have to think strategically about the academic side of the university but then also very tactfully and operationally.”
Sands succeeds Dr. Jonathan Parker, current provost and vice president for academic affairs, who announced in November he will be transitioning back into teaching at CBU full time in the fall.
Before working for CBU, Sands operated in a series of leadership positions at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, as well as working as the manager of outpatient rehabilitation at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham for four years.
Sands attended the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University in 2007, earning a Certificate in the Management Development Program. From 2007 to 2010, he worked as the associate dean of Samford’s Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies.
In 2010, Sands continued his leadership role in founding the College of Allied Health at CBU. With more than 900 students, 30 faculty and 14 degree programs in the College of Allied Health, Sands said his entrepreneurial thinking has thrived while working at CBU.
“Every role that I’ve had has provided me leadership opportunities, starting with my very first job,” Sands said. “Being in leadership and being responsible for an entity, an organization or a portion of an organization has really helped me. So (on) the academic side, I feel very comfortable with academia and understanding the role of the provost.”
In a press release sent through Lancermail on March 31, Ellis said Sands brings a proven track record of academic leadership in faith-based higher education to the provost role, along with demonstrating entrepreneurial ability and a keen global awareness.
“I believe that Chuck’s background, experience and skills will make a significant contribution as we continue to build CBU’s strong academic programs and global impact,” Ellis said in the press release.
Although Sands expressed he may not know everything the provost currently does, he said he has a sense of calmness in knowing he can understand the role well because of the multiple leadership positions he has previously held.
After being raised in South Korea, where his parents were missionaries, and living outside the United States for 16 years, Sands said he continues to travel overseas and across the nation.
“Ironically, I think that also prepares someone well for that kind of role because you learn that not everybody is the same and we all think about things in different ways,” Sands said. “People tend to focus on differences, so one of the roles of the provost is to highlight where we have similarities and not always focusing on the challenge but focusing on the opportunity.”
Before being inducted into the provost position, Sands will take a selection of students to China and lead teams to the Philippines this summer, where students will obtain academic credit while receiving clinical training in a local hospital.
Sands said he is interested in working with students, which he believes is important for the role of the provost.
“The provost does spend a lot of time on the administrative side,” Sands said, “but I don’t ever want to lose my connection to students, and my desire is that I will build in time to my schedule and I will make it a priority to spend time with students. I think those are some things that are important for a provost to do, but you have to be intentional and your priorities have to be defined well.”
Parker said he is excited Sands was chosen for the position and thinks he will do a great job as his successor.
After being involved in the hiring process for Sands as the dean of the College of Allied Health and working with him for five years, Parker said he has enjoyed getting to know Sands over the years.
“He has just performed phenomenally (as dean) and just really established himself as a real leader and as someone who does a lot of outreach in the community,” Parker said. “We have seen an enormous growth in the College of Allied Health under his leadership. He is a real genuine and authentic person.”