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Alan J. Silva, Ph.D.

Provost and Executive Vice President
(317) 955-6010
Marian Hall, Room 111
Alan Silva


Hailing originally from northern California, Dr. Silva began his academic career in St. Paul, Minnesota as a tenure track faculty member in English, teaching courses in early American literature, literary theory, and film studies. Collaborating closely with colleagues in the New American College consortium, he developed faculty development initiatives and grant-sponsored programs in global learning, collaborative undergraduate research, and prestigious fellowships and scholarships that led him into administrative appointments with successively higher-level responsibilities. Currently, as Provost, Dr. Silva serves as the chief academic officer. His primary focus is to ensure the quality and rigor of the curriculum and to oversee the academic support services necessary for fostering student success. As an English professor with a great passion for the liberal arts, and as a Roman Catholic who believes strongly in the values of ethical leadership, inclusiveness, and social responsibility, Dr. Silva serves the Marian community by advocating for excellence in learning through teaching, research and scholarly activities in the Franciscan and liberal arts traditions. 

Current Responsibilities 

Supervise academic and administrative staff: 

  • Assistant Provost for Accreditation and Administration 
  • Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning 
  • Assistant Provost for Research and Scholarship 
  • Senior Vice President of Leadership Integration and Student Success
  • Senior Vice President of Health Professions 
  • Dean of the Klipsch Educator’s College 
  • Dean of the Byrum School of Business 
  • Dean of the Witchger School of Engineering 
  • Assistant Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Executive Director of Marian Adult Programs 
  • Director of Institutional Research 
  • Director of Institutional Assessment 
  • Executive Director of Academic Operations and University Registrar 
  • Broad responsibility (with academic deans) for all faculty, approximately 200 full-time 
  • Oversee Academic Affairs budget 
  • Recommend with the President all pre-tenure, tenure, and promotion candidates to the Board of Trustees 
  • Member of President’s Strategic Implementation Team, President’s Cabinet, University Council, Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee, Board of Trustees Finance Committee, Board of Trustees Facilities Sub-Committee, Personnel Policies Committee 


  • Ph.D. English, University of California, Davis 
  • M.A. English, University of California, Davis 
  • B.A. English, with minor in Anthropology, California State University, Fresno 

Selected Prior Positions 

  • Dean and Associate Professor, School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota 
  • Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts, Hamline University 
  • Assistant Professor, Department of English, Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota 

Teaching: Selected Courses Taught 

  • Introduction to College Writing 
  • What is an American? (First-Year Seminar) 
  • Introduction to American Studies 
  • Close Reading of Poetry 
  • Exploring Careers in English 
  • Survey of American Literature: Beginnings to 1865 
  • Survey of American Literature: 1865 to Present 
  • Literary Theory 
  • Scarlet Letters: Hester Prynne and the Branding of Women (cross-listed with Women’s Studies) 
  • American Identities: 20th-Century Multiethnic American Literature 
  • Advanced Expository Writing 
  • The American Novel to 1914 
  • The American Renaissance 
  • The Age of Realism 
  • Satan and the Saints in Colonial America 
  • Novels into Films: Representations of American Culture (Senior Capstone) 
  • 17th-Century Literature: Cultural Contact in the New World (Graduate Seminar) 

Research Specialties and Interests 

American literature and culture 1500-1860, with emphases in intercultural studies (Puritan, Spanish, French, American Indian), transatlantic studies (North and South America, Europe, Africa, Caribbean), and genre studies (sermons, spiritual autobiographies, captivity narratives) 

20th-century multiethnic literature, with primary focus on novels and autobiographies; literary theory, with emphasis in cultural studies and New Historicism; film studies, with special attention to film adaptations of colonial texts and 19th-century American novels

Selected Publications and Presentations 

  • “Fostering Faculty Development through Collaborative Undergraduate Research,” Council on Undergraduate Research Windows of Opportunity Conference, Orange, CA, June 2013 (co-presenter) 
  • “Developing Curriculum to Benefit Students,” Colleagues: A Newsletter of St. Catherine University (May 2013) 
  • “Writing the Self-Study in the Midst of Institutional Change,” Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, March 2012 (co-presenter) 
  • “Revitalizing Liberal Arts: A Conceptual Framework to Reconfigure Academic Leadership,” American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Academic Renewal Conference, Chicago, IL, November 2006 (co-presenter) 
  • “Captured by Marriage: Elizabeth Ashbridge’s 1774 Quaker Journal,” American Studies Association Conference, Hartford, CT, October 2003 
  • “Inventorying Faculty Work at Hamline University," A New Academic Compact: Revisioning the Relationship between Faculty and Their Institutions, Linda A. McMillin and William G. (Jerry) Berberet, eds. (Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing, 2002) 
  • “Transcultural Poet and Dreamer: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and American Literary History,” Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference, Santa Clara, CA, November 2001 
  • “Is Work Its Own Reward?: Assessing Faculty Morale and Rebuilding Faculty Community,” (co-authored with Diane Clayton, Elizabeth Gunderson, and Deanna Thompson), The Department Chair 10 (Spring 2000): 26-28 
  • “From Captives to Searchers: Transformations of the Captivity Narrative on the Western Frontier,” Western American Literature Conference, Sacramento, CA, October 1999 
  • “Increase Mather’s 1693 Election Sermon: Rhetorical Innovation and the Reimagination of Puritan Authority,” Early American Literature 34 (Winter 1999): 48-77 
  • “Conquest, Conversion, and the Hybrid Self in Cabeza de Vaca’s Relación,” Post Identity 2.1 (Winter 1999): 123-46

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