After 10 years of service as provost at APU, Mark Stanton is taking a sabbatical and then resuming a faculty position in the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences.


Azusa Pacific  Provost Mark Stanton has decided to step down from his position after serving in the president’s cabinet for nearly a decade. Stanton will take a sabbatical leave for a semester, then return to APU as a professor in the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences next fall. 

Stanton views stepping down as an act of handing off the baton to someone else who will come after him. 

“I have always understood that assuming a role like that of the provost is a form of stewardship … I see it as assuming the stewardship of that position for a time and trying to do the best job possible during that time,” he said.

Stanton made his decision to step down after he analyzed the number of years other provosts worked at private Christian universities. Compared to them, Stanton realized he had served as APU’s provost far longer than the normal time period. 

“With the challenges of last year behind us and a new president leading the university forward, it seemed like a good time to step out,” he said. 

Stanton said he is hopeful this will open up an opportunity for God to call someone who is right for the position moving forward to fill the space he is leaving behind.

Regarding his influence at APU, Stanton pointed to the increase in faculty scholarship. The scholar-teacher program allows for faculty to devote more time to scholarship, especially to faculty-student research programs. 

“It’s encouraging to see the level of scholarly activity of our faculty and the significant grants that have been awarded to our faculty,” Stanton said.

Besides this, Stanton also touched on his most significant accomplishment –the increase in undergraduate majors offered and the growth of graduate and undergraduate professional programs and the benefit that those have had on APU’s regional campuses. 

“I’ve tried to create a culture where creativity and the development of new programs will thrive in order to meet the needs of students who want to come to APU,” Stanton said.

According to Stanton, examples of this growth are noticeable in some of the largest programs at APU that did not exist 10 years ago, such as the Honors College and the criminal justice major. He also assisted in starting an initiative to expand some of the largest undergraduate majors to APU’s regional campuses. This enables some older students with jobs and families to obtain degrees closer to home. 

APU President Paul Ferguson commented on Stanton’s impact at the university.

“I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Dr. Stanton for his nearly 30 years of commitment to APU, which in addition to provost, has included service as Founding Dean of the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, Chair of the Department of Graduate Psychology and Founding Director of the Doctor of Psychology Program,” Ferguson said. “I am particularly grateful for his role in the positive growth and development of a vibrant university, and I am pleased that he desires to rejoin our psychology faculty and students to continually advance the educational and scholarship success of these programs.”