David Lyle Jeffrey Appointed Baylor Provost

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    Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey
    Chris Hansen / Baylor Photography
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    Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey was appointed Nov. 19 as Baylor's provost and vice president for academic affairs.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey spoke briefly about his academic vision for Baylor after President Sloan announced Jeffrey's appointment as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. as he announces the appointment of Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey spoke briefly about his academic vision for Baylor after President Sloan announced Jeffrey's appointment as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey, left, and Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr., right, congratulate Dr. Donald D. Schmeltekopf, who will retire as provost in May 2003.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Dr. Donald D. Schmeltekopf, who will retire in May 2003 as Baylor's provost.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Morrison Hall's room 100, the former practice courtroom for Baylor Law School, was full for the announcement of Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
Nov. 19, 2002

by Larry D. Brumley

After a comprehensive national search, Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. today announced the appointment of Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities, as provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective June 1, 2003.

The news conference is available on demand at http://www.baylortv.com/.

Jeffrey, who currently serves as senior vice provost, will succeed Dr. Donald D. Schmeltekopf, who announced last August that he will retire as provost in May 2003. A tenured professor of philosophy, Schmeltekopf will remain at Baylor after his retirement and engage in a project of leadership development among Christian colleges and universities throughout the United States.

As the university's chief academic officer, Jeffrey will be responsible for the recruitment and retention of faculty who share a commitment to the university's mission, who pursue excellence in scholarship and who model a life of service to students. An eminent Christian scholar, teacher and author, Jeffrey also will provide leadership to all academic programs as they implement the imperatives of Baylor 2012, the university's 10-year vision.

"David Jeffrey is a most worthy successor to Don Schmeltekopf, who has led in the creation of Baylor's academic vision through Baylor 2012 and has been integral in the first year of its implementation," Sloan said. "Dr. Jeffrey will bring enormous vision, energy and intellectual power to this office. He has a keen ability to relate to all generations of the Baylor family and exudes to everyone he meets a warmth of spirit, breadth of knowledge and ability to communicate across disciplines. I am thrilled that he has accepted the challenge of serving as provost and look forward to his leadership in Baylor's academic life."

"When first coming to Baylor, I had not anticipated an administrative role, but was compelled simply by the unique vision and heightened sense of mission which had been developing under Dr. Sloan's leadership. To be offered a chance to partner in this way with the president, his administration, and all of Baylor's faculty, staff and students, I count as the signal honor of my academic life," said Jeffrey, who will report to the president and serve on the executive council.

"Our challenge is great, but extraordinarily energizing," he added. "I invite the prayers of all our community as together we strive for faithfulness and perseverance in fulfilling Baylor's historic Christian mission, not merely in terms of our ongoing commitment to academic excellence, but through our dedication to service both within and far beyond the university community."

Jeffrey joined the Baylor faculty as Distinguished Professor in the fall of 2000 after spending more than two decades at the University of Ottawa. A 1965 graduate of Wheaton College, Jeffrey earned his master's degree and doctorate in English from Princeton University. He began his tenure at Ottawa in 1978, serving as professor and chair of the English department. He also taught at the University of Victoria, where he was English department chair, University of Rochester, University of Hull and Regent College, and was a guest professor at Peking University from 1996-2000. At Ottawa, Jeffrey was named inaugural Professor of the Year in 1995 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1996.

A noted scholar in medieval studies and the Bible and literature, Jeffrey is general editor and co-author of A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature. He also is the author or editor of 12 books, including People of the Book: Christian Identity and Literary Culture, which was named one of Christianity Today's Top Ten Books of 1997 and was translated this year into Chinese; Rethinking the Future of the University, edited and co-written with Dominic Manganiello; By Things Seen: Reference and Recognition in Medieval Thought; Chaucer and Scriptural Tradition; English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley; and English Spirituality in the Age of Wyclif. His current research interests involve the cultural relationship of the Bible to the history of biblical interpretation, especially the literary and artistic expression. He and his wife, Katherine, are members of Highland Baptist Church in Waco.

While teaching at Baylor, Jeffrey was appointed by President Sloan in June 2001 to the newly created position of associate provost and three months later was named senior vice provost. In that capacity, he assisted Schmeltekopf with recruiting nationally and internationally distinguished scholar-teachers, interviewing prospective faculty, developing Faculty Summer Seminars for the enhancement and professional development of current faculty, overseeing academic planning and policy committees, and distributing Baylor's annual post-doctoral appointments. Jeffrey also served as a resource and mentor for junior faculty in the development of their scholarly objectives.

The national search for Baylor provost began in August, when President Sloan announced a 16-member search committee of Baylor faculty, deans and executive staff, chaired by Dr. Robert J. Yinger, dean of the School of Education. After gathering input from Baylor students, faculty and staff during several open meetings held throughout the fall, the search committee, council of deans and the president's executive council unanimously recommended Jeffrey's selection to President Sloan on Nov. 14.

"Having conducted a thorough and comprehensive national search, the committee is extremely pleased with Dr. Jeffrey's appointment," Yinger said. "From among 100 nominations and more than 20 applicants, Dr. Jeffrey quickly emerged as a leading candidate. His scholarly prestige, leadership abilities, strength of character and strong Christian commitments will enable him to lead the faculty in achieving the academic goals of Baylor 2012."

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