CHICAGO (April 21, 2015) — On Monday, North Park University announced the appointment of two new members of its senior leadership team. Michael O. Emerson joins the university as provost, and Genaro A. Balcazar assumes the role of vice president for enrollment management and marketing.
Emerson, who will begin on July 1, is currently a professor of sociology and academic director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston. Noted for his groundbreaking book Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, he has been a member of Mosaic Community Covenant Church in Sugar Land, Texas, and was elected to the ECC’s executive board in 2014. In accepting this new position, Emerson will step down from the Covenant executive board.
As provost, Emerson will be NPU’s chief academic officer, with broad responsibilities for undergraduate and graduate curriculum. He also will serve as the university’s co-chief learning officer in partnership with the vice president for student engagement, Jodi Koslow Martin.
Emerson’s scholarship at Rice University focused on the urban context. He was founding director of the Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life, and also developed and directed Rice’s Community Bridges Program, integrating service learning, course instruction, and community development in Houston. In addition, he was founding associate editor of Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, a journal of the American Sociological Association, and he co-chaired the design, development, and funding of Rice University’s new Ph.D. program in sociology.
“I’m delighted to have Michael join our campus community, assume a place on the senior leadership team, and provide leadership for our faculty and academic program,” said North Park University President David L. Parkyn. “He is a gifted academic, an excellent teacher, and an exceptional researcher and writer, all dedicated to the urban context that is central to the mission and identity of North Park.”
Says Emerson: “I am truly excited to be joining the North Park University team. With its core values, as well as the people assembling there, I see in North Park the potential to be the next great American university—a university for a new time, where students gain a Christ-centered education amidst a creative, diverse environment in a leading world city. Preparing students to go into the world to do great things in service to God and humanity is a powerful work.”
Balcazar, who will start his new role on May 1, brings to North Park decades of experience in higher education, including most recently as the director of recruitment operations at DePaul University. As vice president for enrollment management and marketing, he will provide leadership for the areas of admissions and recruitment, marketing, student administrative services, and athletics. Prior to his 17 years at DePaul, Balcazar served at Illinois Institute of Technology as assistant director of multicultural programs and admissions.
“Genaro will bring deep value to the work of the senior leadership team and will provide highly effective leadership in enrollment management and marketing,” Parkyn said.
“I have learned much in the past few months about North Park and have been very impressed with its community, the rigor of its academic offerings, and with the unwavering commitment to its Christian faith and mission,” Balcazar said. “I have found a rich and vibrant university with many successes and an even more promising future.”
Read North Park University’s official announcement here.