Anderson University Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Danny Parker is the school's first W.B. Johnson Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science, AU officials announced.
Dr. Parker's new role comes as he retires from his day-to-day responsibilities at AU at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year. While he will retain the title of Executive Vice President and serve as a member of AU's senior leadership team, Dr. Parker will return to the classroom to teach special courses while conducting an assessment of academic programs and services while helping develop a center for civic engagement at AU.
Dr. Parker joined AU in 2004 as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean. He has served in a variety of roles at AU, including Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Chief Financial Officer; and Executive Vice President and Provost.
AU has experienced rapid growth since Dr. Parker's arrival, including the addition of major academic programs such as the College of Health Professions and the Clamp Divinity School, along with the development of the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning (CIDL); the Mobile Learning Institute (MLI); and AU's distinction as a two-time Apple Distinguished School. During his tenure, enrollment has nearly doubled, reaching approximately 3,500 students, and has been named a U.S. News & World Report "Top Tier" university while moving from a regional college to a regional university, according to Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education.
Prior to his arrival at AU, Dr. Parker held a number of positions during a 24-year career at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia, including Professor of History and Political Science; Dean of Instruction and Assessment; Vice President for Administration and Institutional Effectiveness; Executive Vice President; and interim President.
Outside of AU, Dr. Parker has extensive experience with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), serving on 39 committees and as chair of committees since 2001. He was elected to the SACSCOC board for a three-year term for the state of South Carolina by the College Delegate Assembly in December, 2017.
"Dr. Parker is a treasured member of the Anderson University family, and we are so blessed he's spent the last 14 years of his career with us," said Anderson University President Dr. Evans P. Whitaker. "We cherish Dr. Parker and his family, and look forward to many more years of enjoying his wit, wisdom and expertise here at AU."
The W.B. Johnson Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science is named after South Carolina native William Bullein Johnson, the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention who helped found Johnson University (1848-1958), which later became Anderson University in 1911.
Born and raised in Four Mile, Alabama, Dr. Parker earned a bachelor degree from Jacksonville State University as a first-generation college student before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, where he served for five years. He returned to Jacksonville State, earning a master degree in history with a cognate in political science, and later earned his Ph.D. in history at Auburn University.
Dr. Parker is married with two daughters, and is an avid long-distance runner and student of history.