Luis Pedraja, PhD

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Biography

As Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Luis Pedraja responsibilities include; providing leadership for the administration of all academic policies, monitoring the quality of student learning by overseeing programs, and overseeing academic and budgetary planning and priorities. In addition, he serves in the University’s Council of Chief Academic Officers and University Academic Council.

Driven by a strong desire to make a difference and live a life of integrity, Pedraja’s life vocation is in perfect alignment with AULA’s mission of social justice, diversity and socially engaged citizenship. He is the Co-Founder and Board Chair of two non-profit organizations; the Crystal Dove Foundation which assists cancer patients with basic living expenses, and WellPetUSA, a volunteer-based pet welfare organization. Other community service includes having served as: translator for Amnesty International, American Red Cross Disaster volunteer, Habitat for Humanity volunteer, local emergency planning committee for Dallas County, and a volunteer reserve for the Memphis-Shleby County Emergency Management Agency.

From 2004 until 2011, Pedraja served as Vice President for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. While there he had oversight of more than 90 institutions of higher education in the region and abroad, developed higher education policy, trained evaluators, and led international quality assurance and accreditation efforts. From 2000 to 2004, he was the VPAA, Dean and Professor of Theology at Memphis Theological Seminary where he increased faculty and staff size by over 10% and significantly increased diversity. He served as Theology and Ethics Division Chair and Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (SMU) from 1994 to 2000. Prior he held the position of Assistant Professor of Christian Thought at the University of Puget Sound.

Pedraja was the editor of Apuntes the oldest US scholarly journal of Hispanic theology which is published by SMU.  He has received the Faculty Development Award from SMU, the Scholarly Outreach Award from Perkins School of Theology, the Hispanic Theological Initiative’s Post Doctoral Award, and the Fund for Theological Education Hispanic Dissertation Year Scholar and Doctoral Scholar.  He has had numerous publications including; books, contributions to edited books, journal articles and higher education publications.  He has also been asked to present scholarly papers, lectures and keynotes for a number of Universities, Seminaries, and societies.  He is a member of the American Academy of Religion and La Comunidad of Hispanic American Scholars of Religion, where he served as President from 1999-2003. He is also a team chair and reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

Pedraja received his bachelor’s degree in Religion from Stetson University, a M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. His scholarship is in Postmodernism, Process Philosophy, Culture and Latino Theology. He is fluent in Spanish and English, and has studied French, German, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

 

Past Media

Video Interview

"There was a time that education was a privilege, reserved for the elite. Some may still think it is a privilege or a commodity, but I will argue that it is a necessity. In an age defined by knowledge, information, and technology, education is not only necessary for economic development, but for anyone who desires gainful employment in the years to come." Luis Pedraja