Azusa Pacific University President Adam J. Morris, PhD, named Glendora, Calif., resident Anita Fitzgerald Henck, PhD, provost and chief academic officer at APU, effective July 1, 2023. Henck’s expertise lies in aligning programs/institutions with best academic practices; developing innovative curriculum and student service programs; building strong, healthy teams; and leading turnaround assignments in administrative areas. Her experiences and responsibilities at Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA), Eastern Nazarene College (Quincy, MA), and American University (Washington, DC) have included assignments as dean, department chair, program director, faculty member, vice president, board/press liaison, policy and speech writer, ombudsperson, and assistant to the president and provost. She becomes the university’s sixth provost following a 10-month nationwide search guided by a 12-member Provost Search Advisory Committee.

“God’s timing is perfect and I’m praising Him for the appointment of Dr. Anita Henck as our new provost,” said Morris. “Dr. Henck has a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ and an unmistakable call on her life to serve in Christian higher education. Her genuine love for our students and our community, heart for faculty, collaborative spirit, ability to innovate, aptitude for organizational change, and skill in shaping institutional culture, coupled with her outstanding research, writing, and teaching, and strong commitment to the mission of APU are among the many reasons why I invited Dr. Henck into this important role. The coming years will be critical as we work together to position APU for a healthy and thriving future and I am incredibly grateful and excited to have Dr. Henck join the senior leadership team.”

As the Chief Academic Officer of APU, Henck will lead and advocate for APU’s academic mission, overseeing all schools, colleges, and libraries. Reporting to the president and serving as a member of the President’s Cabinet, Henck will provide strategic leadership and oversight of academics and broad university initiatives.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected to serve as APU’s sixth provost and to partner with faculty and academic leadership to enrich APU’s academic identity. The transformative power of education–for individuals, families, and communities–is a compelling call in which I have invested my professional life,” said Henck. “Across Azusa Pacific University’s 124-year history, our reputation has been well established through our academic programs and external partnerships across Southern California and beyond. With a renewed focus on innovation and agility, APU’s academic future could not be brighter and our mission could not be more clear. I am convinced that our best days are ahead and am honored to partner with President Morris and members of his cabinet as we position APU to flourish in a time of change across all of American higher education.”

Henck assumes this role after serving as dean of APU’s School of Education since 2011, where she provided turnaround leadership during major transition, improved enrollment, enhanced fiscal health, led a team that reshaped the curricular portfolio, redesigned the EdD in Educational Leadership program with a 96 percent completion rate, and launched the Next Generation Superintendent’s professional development group. Today, APU is a leader in preparing candidates for educator credentials in the state of California. Henck came to APU in 2006 as an associate professor in the Department of Doctoral Higher Education. She later served as the interim program director for the MS in College Counseling and Student Development from 2008-09, and the program director for the MA in Leadership and the chair of the Department of Leadership and College Student Development from 2009-11. Previously, Henck served as the vice president for student development and retention at Eastern Nazarene College.

“After a rigorous search process, I am excited that Dr. Henck has accepted Dr. Morris’ offer to be APU’s next provost,” said Samuel M. Girguis, PsyD, committee chair. “Guiding our Christ-centered academy requires clear leadership acumen, passion for the power of education to transform lives, and wisdom to traverse a complex and nuanced role. Dr. Henck possesses keen insight, extensive experience, and solid team-building skills to move Azusa Pacific's academy into this exciting new chapter of innovation and influence. I am grateful to Dr. Morris, the Provost Advisory Search Committee, and the APU community for their prayerful discernment leading to this significant announcement.”

Henck has served APU and faith-based higher education on the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Executive Committee of Schools of Education deans; and the Doctoral Education Council for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, focused on elevating support for and academic quality of doctoral programs. To foster collaboration, connection, and innovation among California’s K-12 leaders, she developed the APU School of Education Superintendents’ Collaborative, bringing district school superintendents to campus as thought partners to consider pressing issues, promote professional growth and development, and fuel persistence among new leaders.

Henck earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Indiana University, a Master of Arts in Educational Administration, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from American University. She completed Harvard School of Law’s senior executive training on negotiation.

Henck is a lifelong member of the Church of the Nazarene, serving on church boards and denominational commissions. Henck and her husband, Bill, have two adult children, both of whom hold doctorates and work in education, a son-in-law, and two grandsons.

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Rachel White
Executive Director of Strategic Communication
Phone: (626) 815-4502
Email: [email protected]