Dr. Adam Porcella’s favorite scripture passage, Colossians 1:28, epitomizes his life philosophy: “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Although the outworking of presenting people as fully mature in Christ has changed over the course of his life, Dr. Porcella’s path to the position of provost has been shaped by his heart for supporting students.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Dr. Porcella left home to attend Covenant College in Georgia, where he received a degree in philosophy. Deciding to pursue a career in academia, he enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. But two things altered his trajectory: finding his wife, Hannah (despite attending a seminary with a 90% male population), and tutoring, which fostered a passion for helping students transition to the rigors of college life.
After graduating, he returned to Covenant College to serve as a resident director for three years while he completed a master’s degree in higher education through Geneva College, focusing on student retention and international higher education. In addition to his RD responsibilities, he team-taught a bioethics course and led initiatives to help students with autism transition into residence life on a college campus.
Georgia, Missouri, back to Georgia, New Jersey, Indonesia, California—Dr. Porcella studied and worked in many places over 15 years. But he missed home. Seeking work closer to Philadelphia, he took an administrative position at Phil-Mont Christian Academy and began a Doctor of Education program through Temple University. Returning to Philadelphia allowed him and his wife to raise their two daughters in a familiar neighborhood, where they often spend time bicycling and volunteering to pick up trash in local parks. After two years at Phil-Mont, he accepted the offer to be the dean of students at Cairn University.
Dr. Porcella has spent the past four years building relationships and trust within the student body. The transitions he experienced throughout his life, including the time spent in Indonesia helping start an international teachers college, have enabled him to connect particularly with the international student population at Cairn. He has built and professionalized a strong student life team and has navigated conflict and complex situations by utilizing his experience as a peacemaker among students. For the past year, he has also served on the Academic Leadership Team (ALT), working alongside the other ALT members to revise, craft, and steward the curriculum for the institution.
In his new role as provost, Dr. Porcella aims to bridge the gap between student affairs and academics in order to create more opportunities for student life staff and faculty members to think collaboratively on how to educate students holistically inside and outside the classroom. His focus on student retention in his master’s and doctoral work will support his endeavors to create an educational experience that will encourage more students to persist to graduation.
Dr. Porcella is devoted to presenting students fully mature in Christ at Cairn University. He will fully assume his new position as provost on July 1, 2022.