The work of the Institute is carried out by Baylor University professors Dr. Doug Weaver, Director, Institute of Church-State Studies; Dr. Christopher M. Rios, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies & Graduate Program Director, Church-State Studies; and Dr. Jerold Waltman, Editor of the Journal of Church and State.

Their training and experience in the disciplines of theology, church history, law, intellectual history, and social science provide the Institute with an interdisciplinary foundation essential to research, writing, and teaching in the broad field of church-state relations. The Institute was founded in 1957 and since that time has earned a recognized place as a leader in the field of church-state studies. In addition to its own initiatives, the Dawson Institute regularly cooperates with such institutions as the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University, the International Center for Law and Religion at Brigham Young University, and the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

Weaver Doug Weaver, (B.A., M.Div., Ph.D.), is Professor of Religion, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Coordinator, Baptist Studies for Research, in the Department of Religion at Baylor University. In August 2015 he was named Director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies. Weaver is a native of Virginia and earned a BA at Mississippi College (1978) and the M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1981, 1985). After teaching at Baptist related colleges in Virginia and Georgia, Weaver came to Baylor University, Waco, Texas, in 2003. He teaches both at the undergraduate and PhD levels and has graduate students studying Baptist and Pentecostal history. He has taught classes (particularly Baptist Identity) at G. W. Truett Theological Seminary each year since joining the Baylor faculty.

Weaver's most recent publication (as editor/contributor) was Mirrors and Microscopes: Historical Perceptions of Baptists (Paternoster Press, 2015). Other books include In Search of the New Testament Church: The Baptist Story (Mercer, 2008) and an annotated edition of E. Y. Mullin’s Axioms of Religion (Mercer, 2010). Weaver was also one of the editors of The Acts of the Apostles: Four Centuries of Baptist Interpretation (Baylor U Press, 2009) and Exploring Christian Heritage: A Reader in History and Theology (Baylor U Press, 2012). His first book was, The Healer-Prophet, William Marrion Branham: A Study of the Prophetic in American Pentecostalism (Mercer University Press, 1987), was reprinted in 2000. He has numerous articles in journals, most recently in Perspectives in Religious Studies, Baptist History and Heritage, Wesleyan Theological Journal, and the American Baptist Quarterly. In recent studies, Weaver has explored the importance of freedom of conscience and the relationship of personal voluntary faith and ecclesiology in Baptist life.

Waltman Jerold Waltman, (B.A., M.A., Ph.D.) is the R.W. Morrison Professor of Political Science, having been at Baylor since 2003. Author or editor of eight books and numerous articles, Dr. Waltman specializes in public law, comparative law, British politics, minimum wage, and labor markets. At Baylor he teaches Constitutional Law, Public Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, and British Politics.

Affiliated Faculty

Berger William A. Mitchell, (B.S., M.A., Ph.D.), Professor Emeritus of Political Science, maintains an office in the Dawson Institute where he continues to do research, writing, service for professional organizations, provide leadership for Baylor Study Abroad, and serve as a valuable mentor to the students, graduates, faculty, and staff. Dr. Mitchell retired from Baylor in 2007 having served as a professor of Political Science (1992-2007), Director of Middle East Studies, Director of Baylor Study Abroad in Turkey, and Joe Murphy Chair and Director of the Center for International Education at BU (2000-2007). He then returned to Baylor at the request of the Dawson Institute in 2009 to teach multidisciplinary courses on Middle East Studies, ethnopoltical conflicts, terrorism and religion, mitigation of humanitarian crises, and international security. In 2011, he was appointed to the position of Graduate Program Director for the Institute and served in that capacity until July of 2013. During his distinguished career at Baylor, Professor Mitchell also led academic teams to Iraq five times from 2003-2007 and was instrumental in creating a Center for Democracy in northern Iraq. He has published numerous articles in national and international journals and is writing his third book. Professor Mitchell has extensive field experience in the Middle East and has responded as a social scientist for NSF earthquake disaster research teams on many occasions. Dr. Mitchell was recognized for this research with the United States Air Force Humanitarian Service Award for Armenia, Iraq, and Turkey. He is also a veteran of the Vietnam and first Gulf wars (Colonel, USAF, retired).