Gregory Jones of Duke named Baylor provost and executive VP

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WACO—Baylor University named Gregory Jones of Duke Divinity School its executive vice president and provost.

Greg Jones 200Gregory Jones Jones, senior strategist for leadership education at Duke Divinity School and the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry, will assume his post at Baylor May 16. He succeeds interim provost Todd Still, dean of Truett Theological Seminary.

“Dr. Greg Jones is a prolific and distinguished scholar much admired in American higher education for his visionary leadership, creativity and wisdom,” Baylor President Ken Starr said. “His diverse experiences at a leadership level at Duke University provide him with exceptional insight into the challenges facing higher education, and we are delighted he will bring his extraordinary gifts of strategic and collaborative leadership and clear commitment to Pro Futuris to Baylor University and its academic enterprise.

“He is well known throughout the academy as an outstanding teacher, for his research that promotes interdisciplinary conversation among scholars and as a leader who cares deeply about cultivating the conditions in which individuals and institutions truly flourish.”

As the university’s chief academic officer, Jones will lead Baylor’s academic enterprise, which includes 12 schools and colleges, its research centers and institutes, and the university libraries.

He will work closely with the executive council, the council of deans, department chairs, faculty, staff and regents to articulate a unified academic vision and to foster excellence in teaching, learning and research within the context of a Christian worldview, Baylor officials said.

“I am deeply honored by the opportunity to serve Baylor University as its executive vice president and provost. My wife, Susan, and I have long admired Baylor’s commitments, aspirations and leadership role in Christian higher education, and we have developed deep affection for the Baylor community and the rich history that inspires it,” Jones said. “I also believe that Baylor’s best days are still ahead, and I welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively across the university and beyond to help Baylor realize its promise as a leading Christian research university.”

In its previous search, the provost search committee vetted Jones along with dozens of other highly qualified applicants from around the country and selected him as a finalist.

In March, the reconstituted search committee interviewed Jones again and presented him to several university constituent groups, including the executive council, the council of deans, the Faculty Senate’s executive committee, vice provosts, department chairs, student representatives and a subset of regents, for questions and consideration. After receiving feedback from those meetings, the committee strongly endorsed Jones and was unanimous in its recommendation of him to Starr.

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A theologian whose work centers on the nature of forgiveness, the significance of Christian ministry and pastoral leadership, and social innovation and entrepreneurship, Jones also has provided strategic vision for leadership education at Duke Divinity and served as senior strategist for the Fuqua-Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

He served as Duke’s chief international strategist to advance and coordinate the university’s global engagement. From 1997 to 2010, Jones served as the 11th dean of Duke Divinity School.

“Greg Jones was a transformational dean of the Duke Divinity School and has been an outstanding citizen of the university at large,” said Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University. “He combines eloquence and thoughtfulness with unusual powers of institutional creativity. He radiates joy in university life together with a deep respect for academic values. You have hired an outstanding leader: Duke’s loss is Baylor’s gain.”

Jones earned his bachelor of arts degree magna cum laude from the University of Denver, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his master’s degree in public policy and administration, also from Denver, later earning his master of divinity degree summa cum laude and Ph.D. from Duke. He holds honorary degrees from North Carolina Wesleyan and Lycoming universities.

The author or editor of 16 books, Jones also has published more than 200 articles and essays. His most recent book, Christian Social Innovation, focuses on faith communities and their own need for innovation, as demonstrated in a growing interest in starting new churches, developing fresh expressions for gatherings of community and discussions about how to cultivate a renewed sense of mission.

An earlier book, Embodying Forgiveness, was named an Outstanding Book by Christianity Today and The Academy of Parish Clergy. 

Jones is on the editorial board of the journal Modern Theology and editor-at-large for The Christian Century. He has served on numerous boards and academic committees at Duke, and as a consultant on and co-convener of projects focused on Christian higher education, leadership and ministry. Last October, he was named senior adviser in Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning, as he assisted Darin Davis in the development of the “Faith Animating … Project.”

Jones is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

His wife, Susan Pendleton Jones, associate dean for ministerial formation at Duke Divinity School, also will join Baylor as senior fellow in the Institute for Faith and Learning.

The Joneses have three children—Nathan, Benjamin and Sarah.

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