Provost John Swallow
John R. Swallow, Executive Vice President and Provost, is the University's chief academic and operating officer and professor of mathematics and humanities. He is responsible for strategic planning and execution and day-to-day operations. He oversees the College of Arts of Sciences and the School of Theology, the Sewanee Review and the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the institutional departments of enrollment planning, finance, human resources, and marketing and communications, and the shared institutional departments of environmental stewardship and sustainability, information technology, and the library.
A 1989 graduate of the University's College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in mathematics and English literature, he enrolled at Yale University for postgraduate study in mathematics on a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, receiving his doctorate in 1994. That fall he joined the Department of Mathematics of Davidson College, in Davidson, N.C., where he taught for seventeen years, including ten in Davidson's interdisciplinary humanities program.
Recognized early for his insight and leadership, he was soon named Davidson's inaugural J. T. Kimbrough Professor, and afterward the elected leader of its faculty, as well as the recipient of its Omicron Delta Kappa Teaching Award. After taking on leadership roles in strategic planning, implementation, and curriculum revision, culminating in the first revision of Davidson's general education requirements since 1987, he was recruited by Vice-Chancellor and President McCardell, former president of Middlebury College, to return to Sewanee. In 2012 he was appointed Provost, and in 2014 Executive Vice President and Provost.
Active in higher education governance, Swallow was elected trustee of the University in 2001 and regent in 2007. As secretary of the board, he was closely involved in the University's landmark 2011 decision to reduce undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board by 10%. In 2013 he was elected trustee of Agnes Scott College, a women's college in Decatur, Ga. In 2015 Agnes Scott announced its SUMMIT program, as part of which every student completes a core curriculum including global learning and leadership development, and builds her personal Board of Advisors, including a career mentor.
Swallow has written on technology and student intellectual habits for the Chronicle of Higher Education; spoken on trusteeship for the College Board’s Colloquium; participated in the planning for Yale-NUS College; authored an undergraduate textbook, Exploratory Galois Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2004), as well as over two dozen research articles in mathematics, several with his students; and taken two year-long research leaves, at the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology and at Université Bordeaux I. He is the recipient of three grants, including a Career grant, from the National Science Foundation.