Ken I think you are right on with this comment - the president and provost are the keys.
How do we begin to change their ways of thinking about professional development? One strategy is to set them up for success. One way to do this is to utilize an existing committee (or establish a committee) that reports directly to the Provost or President. The terms of reference should reflect issues that are important to the institution (e.g., Learning Outcomes, Promoting Teaching Excellence). Successfully delivering on these objectives, and reporting back to the Provost on how they have lead to positive changes.