Provost & Academic Vice President
Dr. Jack Thomas Biography
Dr. Jack Thomas became provost and academic vice president at Western Illinois University (WIU) on January 1, 2008 bringing with him outstanding experiences in the areas of academic affairs, academic enrichment programs, curriculum, diversity, student affairs, internationalization, distance learning, and many others.
Under Thomas’ leadership, WIU established new academic programs including degrees in nursing, engineering, museum studies, anthropology, and religious studies. His initiatives include the establishment of a Provost Award for Faculty Travel fund, a new faculty merit system, and an innovative budget planning process wherein funds are allocated from the “bottom-up” rather than from the “top-down.” A strong proponent of mentoring young faculty from diverse backgrounds, Thomas has established under-represented dissertation and post-doctorate fellowships, visiting professorships, young scholar initiatives, and other programs that support their professional development.
Thomas holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Alabama A & M University (1983), a Master of English Education from Virginia State University (1984), and a Ph.D. in English (Literature and Criticism) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1990). Prior to his appointment at WIU, Thomas served as Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Interim Dean at Middle Tennessee State University. Thomas has also served in various capacities at other universities including Interim President, Executive Vice President, Associate Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Executive Assistant to the President, and Department Chair. In addition, Thomas has served as an American Council on Education Fellow (1998 – 1999), is a graduate of the Harvard Leadership Program (2005) and the Leadership Middle Tennessee Program (2006), a Kellogg-NAFEO Fellow (2003 – 2004), and participated in the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria (1999). He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Sigma Pi Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Tau Delta, and many other organizations.