Rick Stephens, Ph.D.
Location: 156A Carpenter Hall
- B.A., Greenville University
- M.A., MPhil, Ph.D., University of Kansas
I would say that I have been blessed with a life and career full of variety and interesting experiences. A gravitational pull has been to smaller, faith affiliated, liberal arts colleges. I am an alumnus of Greenville University (IL) with graduate work completed at the University of Kansas. My field is sociology which has allowed me to range across a wide spectrum of theoretic and practical matters. I have completed 46 years in higher ed since teaching my first college level class, and it has been almost evenly divided between the faculty and administration. Some of the variety includes more than twenty years coaching tennis. I have written three books on career development in the liberal arts. My family and I spent a sabbatical in Russia (1992-1993)—I coached baseball in the old USSR prior to that, and in 1988 spent three weeks on a bike trip from Beijing to Shanghai. I was the founding chief academic officer for a school of pharmacy, and in about 23 years as a provost I have served 14 presidents. This latter point has led to extensive accreditation work, both as an evaluator/consultant in four different regional associations, as well as 16 specialized accreditors ranging from engineering and nursing to art and business, as well as theological institutions.
Most significant has been my marriage (now also 46 years) and family life. My wife, Deb, has a degree in early childhood education, is the Chair of the Board of Elders at our small congregational church in Alfred, NY, is on the local public library board, and is an officer in the local Lions’ Club. Together we raised a daughter, Ashlee (presently engaged in cancer clinical trial research in Chicago) and a son, Bill (presently a computer engineer in Boston). Ashlee’s family has presented us with three grandchildren which are daily sources of pride, wonder, and amusement.
I did retire in 2019, but still have game and energy for higher ed. Therefore, I have taken consulting positions via the Registry as a visiting or interim senior administrator. This is how I came to serve my present role as Interim Provost for Earlham College. I consider it an honor to serve the EC mission.