Baylor provost leaves after 13 months on the job

Gregory Jones delivered the Bill and Roberta Bailey Family Lecture in Christian Ethics at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary last year, soon after the university announced his selection as executive vice president and provost. (File Photo/Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing & Communications)

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WACO—After 13 months at Baylor University, Gregory Jones will step down as executive vice president and provost to return to a faculty post at Duke University, effective June 30.

Jones, former dean, senior strategist for leadership education, and professor of theology and Christian ministry at Duke Divinity School and a leader in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, assumed the role of chief academic officer at Baylor May 16, 2016.

Ten days later, the university’s board of regents announced plans to remove Ken Starr from his role as president, fire Head Football Coach Art Briles and sanction Athletic Director Ian McCaw, citing Baylor’s “fundamental failure” to handle sexual violence complaints appropriately. 

Led spiritual life and character formation task force

As a part of the reforms instituted in the wake of the sexual assault scandal, Jones led a university task force focused on spiritual life and character formation. Under his leadership, the task force developed the university’s Christian Character Initiative.

“It has been a privilege to serve Baylor over this past year marked by many transitions and challenges, even as we have sought to build on Baylor’s academic strengths and advance the university’s mission,” Jones said. “Susan and I have now discerned, though, that it would be best for us, and we believe also Baylor, to have a new beginning.”

In mid-April, the board of regents elected Linda Livingstone, dean of George Washington University’s School of Business, as Baylor’s 15th president. She assumed office June 1. 

“I look forward to returning to Durham, a faculty position at Duke and the opportunity to develop a new platform for work focused on a Christian vision for social innovation,” Jones said. “Baylor has a bright future under the leadership of President Livingstone, and I wish the Baylor Family all the best as the university moves forward.”

Under Jones’ direction, Baylor launched its Social Innovation Collaborative and inaugurated its Opportunity Hiring Program to recruit top faculty of diverse backgrounds.

Baylor president expresses appreciation to Jones

“On behalf of the Baylor Family, I would like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Jones for his service in this important role over the past year,” Livingstone said. “Baylor continues to be strong and resilient, particularly within the academic enterprise, and I look forward to continuing our trajectory in concert with the deans and faculty.”

Baylor will name an interim executive vice president and provost soon, she indicated, and a search process for the permanent position will follow shortly afterward.

Before Jones arrived at Baylor last year, the previous provost, Ed Trevathan, held the post less than eight months before he resigned. Baylor tapped Todd Still, dean of Truett Theological Seminary, as interim provost after Trevathan’s departure. Trevathan replaced Elizabeth Davis, now president of Furman University. 

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