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Evangel University announces new Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

June 22, 2014 | Ashli O'Connell


Dr. Tilahun Adera has been named provost/vice president for academic affairs for Evangel University, effective July 21, 2014.

Dr. Adera currently serves as the dean of the College of Health and Social Services at New Mexico State University. He also holds the title of professor of public health services.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Adera to the Evangel University family,” said Dr. Carol Taylor, president. “He brings outstanding academic and administrative credentials; a demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service in the community and church with a rich global perspective.

“This combination of attributes makes him ideally suited to provide visionary leadership for our continued academic development and as a key member of the executive leadership team for Evangel,” she said.

Dr. Adera holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Public Health from Oregon State University; an M.P.H. from the Department of Epidemiology from the University of Washington, Seattle; an M.A from the Department of Public Health at Oregon State University; and a B.Pharm. from the School of Pharmacy from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, where he was born.

He replaces Dr. Glenn Bernet, who will retire from Evangel University after 51 years of service, effective July 2. Dr. Bernet has been Evangel’s chief academic officer since 1985.

“Dr. Adera has a proven record as an outstanding scientist and as an innovative and effective administrator of academic programs,” said Dr. Michael McCorcle, chair of the Evangel University Department of Science and Technology.

“His career, along with his passion for Christian service, will stand as an exemplary model to Evangel students,” said McCorcle. “We are confident that in Dr. Adera, we have found a leader who can strategically advance new program initiatives while strengthening the University’s commitment to the integration of faith, learning and life.”

Adera’s career

Dr. Adera has served as the dean of the College of Health and Social Services at New Mexico State University since 2009.

Prior to that, he was the senior associate dean for public health at the School of Medicine in the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. At VCU, he served for 15 years, rising through the ranks from assistant professor to senior associate dean.

In addition, Adera has served as a professor of epidemiology at Oregon State University as well as at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.

He has taught a broad range of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, is widely published, and has obtained major research grants.

“In addition to his administrative accomplishments, Dr. Adera has been equally committed to excellence in teaching,” said President Taylor. “He has received several awards during his career, including the Outstanding Teacher Award, two years in a row, at VCU’s School of Medicine.”

Adera’s membership in professional associations includes the Society for Occupational and Environmental Health; the World Health Organization: Global Environmental Epidemiology; the American Public Health Association; and the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology.

“His commitment to community makes him an ideal fit for Evangel,” Taylor continued. “He has been a board member for a major medical center, a Rotary member, a Virginia Department of Health task force member and an elder for West End Assembly of God in Richmond, Va.”

Deep Assemblies of God roots

Dr. Adera made a commitment to Christ as a young man in Ethiopia, a fact he calls “the most important decision that I have ever made in my life.”

As he grew stronger in his faith, he shared his testimony with fellow students, led Bible studies and began sharing as a lay preacher in churches in his home country. He served as chairman of the Ethiopian Evangelical Students Christian Fellowship, a nationwide Christian student movement, and on the board of the Ethiopian Bible Society.

“Dr. Adera has been and continues to be deeply engaged in serving in the various Assemblies of God churches where he has lived,” said Dr. Taylor.

Dr. Adera, his wife, Almaz, and their two children have been members of local AG churches in Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and New Mexico. Over the past 30 years, he has served as an adult Sunday school teacher and lay preacher.

In addition, he was instrumental and used of God in bringing a large Ethiopian congregation from Washington DC into formal fellowship with the Assemblies of God.

Since 2001, he has served as an elder at West End Assembly of God Church, Richmond, Virginia.

And it was that connection that brought him to Evangel.

Rev. John Hershman, a 1970 Evangel graduate who serves as pastor of West End Assembly of God, heard about the position and connected Adera with the university.

“Dr. Adera is a long-time member of the Assemblies of God who has both a distinguished academic career and a passion for Christian service,” said Dr. George Wood, board chair and general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

“In this new position as provost, he will do everything possible to advance the mission of Evangel University to train men and women for the marketplace and the church.”

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