Provost & Academic Vice President
Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson Biography
Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson became provost and academic vice president on January 1, 2012. He previously held the position of associate provost and academic vice president for budget, planning, and personnel. He also served as contract administrator and director of summer session, provided oversight to the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research, Office of the Registrar, Office of Sponsored Projects and School of Distance Learning and Outreach, and performed various other duties.
Hawkinson joined the Western Illinois University faculty in 1988 as an assistant professor in the communication arts and sciences department. He earned the rank of professor in 1997 and served as chair of the communication department from 1998 to 2007. He has served on and provided leadership for numerous University committees, including serving as vice-chair of the Faculty Senate for two years and chair of the Council on Admission, Graduation and Academic Standards. Hawkinson also served as vice president (1992-97) and president (1997-98) of the University Professionals of Illinois, as well as president elect, president and past president (1993-96) of the Illinois Speech and Theatre Association (ISTA). He was awarded the ISTA Sandford Award (life-time achievement award) in 2007, and has earned various other honors and awards.
He earned his Ph.D. in speech communication (1986) from Southern Illinois University, his master’s degree (1979) and bachelor’s degree (1978) from Western Illinois University, and an associate’s degree (1976) from Elgin (IL) Community College. Hawkinson served as a U.S. Army officer from 1979-82, which included tours in Germany as an Infantry platoon leader, weapons platoon leader and public affairs officer. He spent two years (1986-88) in Mali, West Africa, as a Peace Corp volunteer, and during 1990-91 Hawkinson served as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching American studies at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso (West Africa), where he conducted research on African folklore and oral tradition.