After 25 years in Texas Wesleyan’s administration, including 16 as provost, Dr. Allen Henderson has decided to return to his roots of teaching before retiring, sparking a search for a new provost.  

“My favorite moments at Texas Wesleyan include teaching students and seeing their lives transformed for the better as they achieve their goals and their dream of an education,” Henderson wrote in an email. “Also, it is working with caring faculty and administrators who are likewise working to help transform students’ lives. 

 As Henderson enters his 40th year at Wesleyan this fall, he will serve as an advisor to the provost and president while he prepares to transition back into full-time faculty position. 

“I’m very happy for him getting to return to teaching in the classroom because I know how important that is for him,” Wesleyan President Fred Slabach said. “But, I’m a little sad for us because we will not have that day-to-day opportunity to benefit from his judgement.” 

Dr. Hector Quintanilla, the former dean of the School of Business Administration, has stepped into the role of interim vice president of academic affairs and provost and will fulfill the responsibilities for the next two academic years until a new provost is found. 

 “There were many factors that went into my decision to appoint Dr. Quintanilla as the provost for this current period,” Slabach said. “In the school of business he has led the effort to get the highest accreditation as possible, and he has also engaged in significant curriculum reform, so he has already had a lot of experience within the school doing the kinds of things that a provost would help organize for the university as a whole.” 

Quintanilla wrote that has provost he will play the role of working with the deans of the five schools and the two associate provost who oversee student services as well as work with the executive staff to oversee the strategic direction of the university and its daily operations.  

Quintanilla wrote that his top priority is getting students graduated in a timely manner and working in their choice of career. 

“Additionally, I want our academic programs to continue adopting student-centered instructional practices and course scheduling to enhance the overall educational experience at Texas Wesleyan,” Quintanilla wrote. “In terms of student services, I believe we offer excellent student support and I would like to elevate the level of student services available as opportunities permit.” 

The process for looking for a new provost will take approximately one academic year, Slabach said. He aims to have a search committee created by the end of the semester and then opening the official recruiting process in late summer or early fall 2020. 

“We hope to have the provost in place by early to mid-March of 2021,” Slabach said. 

Slabach said the search will be a national one, so the candidate pool has a wide range of people and experiences.   

What I think we’ll be looking for is someone who understands the nature of higher education and someone who values collaborative efforts with faculty chairs so that we can all pull together as a team to try to figure out how to respond to the changes that are taking place in higher education,” Slabach said. So, leadership experience, a collaborative leadership style and knowledge of the changes that are taking place in private higher education, those are really the three big ones.” 

Dr. Hector Quintanilla, President Frederick Slabach and Dr. Allen Henderson (left to right) celebrate Henderson’s legacy.
Photo by Arely Chavez