Dean's MessageAs you may already know, I have announced my intended retirement for May 31, 2015. After 42 years in higher education, 27 of those as a dean and more than seven at Baylor, it was time to take this next bold step. I have enjoyed nearly every minute as dean at four universities, but I like to say, “I saved the best to last.” Baylor University is a wonderful place with wonderful people, as all of you know. Some say “success” is about being at the right place at the right time; so for me, this has been a very successful experience at Baylor.
As the date of retirement approaches, one cannot help but reflect across one’s career and ask a few soulsearching questions — questions like “Was it all worthwhile?” “Did I make a difference?” and “Are things better off than when I started?” Of course, answers to these can be quite personal, but for me, the honest answers to the first two, respectively, are “definitely yes” and “I certainly hope so.”
The third question may be more arguable and, in some ways, others are better positioned to answer. But focusing on the last few years here at Baylor, several things come quickly to mind. To identify a few substantive developments over the past few years, the School has:
• moved into a dramatically remodeled building that is better designed to support Education students, programs and faculty;
• nearly doubled its endowment for student scholarships (to more than $12 million);
• created several new doctoral programs;
• built a collaborative, mutually supportive environment for faculty, staff and students, where resources are directed toward developing human capital;
• advanced the development of one of the finest clinical teacher education programs nationally;
• increased the breadth of global mission and study experiences for students;
• spawned a new college on the Baylor campus (Health and Human Sciences);
• established powerful partnerships with the local community and area schools and school leaders, including a recent partnership with a healthcare system to address the challenges faced by families that have children with autism; and
• developed a broadly differentiated and scholarly advanced faculty that maintain commitment to K-12 educational practice and preparing outstanding educators.
Of course, none of these happened because of the efforts of any single individual. Rather, they resulted from the efforts, collaboration and commitment of many.
So, as I approach retirement (and there is yet much to do in the next few months), I am confident that the last few years have been productive and, in the relay race to excellence, the Baylor baton is nearly ready to pass.
Jon M. Engelhardt
Dean, School of Education