Education Edge » Alumna Named Provost, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College


Alumna Named Provost, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College

by ksmith13 on January 26, 2022

Summer DeProw, PhD, graduated from UM in 2014

Dr. Summer DeProw, a graduate of the Department of Higher Education PhD program, was selected in fall 2021 as the new Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College (UA-PTC). Previously, Dr. DeProw served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Assessment and Accreditation at Arkansas State University. Dr. DeProw took some time to share about the new position, her professional journey, and her experiences as a PhD student in the Department of Higher Education.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role and things you are hoping to accomplish?

During the interview process for the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs position, I realized how much the Chancellor, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and Search Committee were dedicated to the surrounding community and students. This is the primary reason I took the job.  I am looking forward to engaging with the faculty and staff to support students who want and need postsecondary education. Our students, faculty, and staff know that completing one of our certificates or associate degrees will positively impact our students’ lives.  The depth and breadth of the programs is also exciting and seeing the community appreciate UA-PTC’s attention to the workforce needs of the area gives me great hope for the future. I look forward to carrying on the traditions and excellence the previous provosts have established. 


In the short term, I am learning the culture, people, and processes of UA-PTC. We are reinvigorating the strategic planning process and I am looking forward to setting lofty goals with the campus. I want to accomplish many goals in the long term such as promoting that nearly 100% of our faculty have completed the ACUE Effective Teaching Practices certification. We will begin the ACUE online teaching practices courses next fall. Additionally, we are expanding our Technical Sciences programs through high school concurrent credit so our secondary students leave high school with a certificate of proficiency in a technical trade such as welding, HVAC, cyber security, culinary arts, hospitality management, or automotive collision repair.

UA-PTC is the second largest community college in the state. Our university partners are eager to work with us to increase transfer student enrollment to the area universities. Therefore, we are addressing all of our MOU/2+2 agreements to be sure our students who want to transfer to our four-year partners have a smooth transition by agreeing to credit optimization procedures, high quality advising, and reverse transfer information. I also want to explore and create a robust workforce apprenticeship program with our leaders in the UA-PTC Business and Industry Center and assist our economic development leaders in recruiting more industry to our community. I’m looking forward to working with our Office of Skills Development to develop Department of Labor endorsed and supported apprenticeships.

Our North Little Rock campus has an excellent allied health programs and our associate dean wants to expand our nursing programs to meet the demands of our hospitals and clinics. I want to help her with her goals for expanding our impact on health care. And finally, UA-PTC is known for its contribution to the arts through our high-tech performing arts center (Center for Humanities and Arts or CHARTS as we call it) and acclaimed culinary arts programs. I am look forward to growing our enrollment in the liberal and culinary arts programs. 

Any thoughts on how your educational experiences in earning your PhD in Higher Education at the University of Mississippi helped prepare you educationally and to be an academic leader?

Oh my! Where do I start? There are so many aspects of my UM experience that have prepared me for this position. I’ll name a few to keep this short.

The first was the study abroad experience to South Africa with Dr. KB Melear. Comparing and contrasting postsecondary policy between the US and South Africa was illuminating. When I shared my thoughts on funding policy of HBCUs and PBIs in the US and apartheid era funding in South Africa during the interview for Provost, the committee was both shocked and excited. The study abroad experience gave me the skills to interpret policy in ways I would have never gained otherwise. I also have Dr. Melear’s Higher Education Law book on my shelf at work.

Exploring faculty contributions to UM’s desegregation and integration in Dr. Amy Wells Dolan’s history class was another aspect I will never forget. She showed me the significance of archival research and to see history through pictures, letters, and handwritten notes. Leadership in higher education can come from many corners of a campus and I appreciate the influence and power faculty have to make lasting and powerful change after studying John Crews and his contributions to UM’s Black students in the 1960s and 1970s.

There are so many more aspects of my UM experience that prepared me for academic leadership but I will close with exploring solutions to problems through the lens of research design. In both the Provost position and my former assistant vice chancellor role, I assisted faculty and staff with questions about student learning, accreditation standards, student persistence, and policy-to-practice. I lean on all the knowledge and skills I learned at UM about research design and scholarship to assist with these questions. I will be forever grateful for my UM professors and academic preparation.

What have been other critical moments for your professional journey that you’d like folks to know, either in terms of people or experiences?

I’ve had numerous critical moments but two come to mind as I reflect on this question. The first is my time at Williams Baptist University where I was an Associate Professor of Business and Department Chair. I mentored and advised many students but I didn’t realize the community my colleagues and I built until recently. My colleagues and I traveled with the students to business competitions, and I didn’t realize the support structure the students were building at the time. The Willliams’ cohorts get together for events like “Friendsgiving” and they still invite me to attend. I hear from many of my students on a weekly basis and sometimes they turn the mentoring table on me. Using the higher education experience to build a community is critical to student success and it has benefited me in ways I cannot count.

The second critical moment in my professional journey is when I found my professional mentors. My father, Dr. Vance Sales, was my original mentor but since his death, I’ve been fortunate to have people like Dr. Rick Stripling, Dr. Lynita Cooksey, Dr. Les Wyatt, Dr. Russ Hannah, Dr. Sandra Massey, Dr. Susan Hanrahan, and Dr. Kathy Loyd mentor and provide me advice and encouragement. 

Do have any other things that you’d like for our UM Higher Ed. community to know?

The UM Higher Ed community is a great place to be, and I will be forever grateful for Drs. Melear, Wells Dolan, Letzring, Bunch, and Holland. When I am asked where I got my doctorate at conferences or accreditation visits, the reaction from individuals when I say the University of Mississippi is always that it’s a “great institution.” They are correct but they have no idea how great the experience really is.

DeProw is also a member on the School of Education Board of Advisors.

By Dr. Neal H. Hutchens