Faith Animating ... Project

October 22, 2015
Darin Davis, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Faith and Learning (IFL) at Baylor University, today announced plans for a new initiative called the “Faith Animating ... Project,” which seeks to further advance Baylor’s distinctive mission as a Christian research university.

“Baylor’s Christian mission and identity place it in a unique position of both great promise and responsibility,” Davis said. “The ‘Faith Animating ... Project’ will give visible expression to the notion that Baylor’s Christian commitment is at the very heart of its energy, direction, and purpose. In this way, faith animates the University.”

“While the ‘Faith Animating … Project’ will foster deeper reflection throughout the University about how Baylor’s mission might be most faithfully realized,” Davis said, “we especially seek to encourage faculty colleagues from across the academic disciplines to imagine how their faith commitments can inspire teaching, mentoring, and research.”

Davis also announced that L. Gregory Jones, Ph.D., the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams, Jr. Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry at Duke University and senior strategist for Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, has been named senior advisor in the Institute for Faith and Learning. Jones will assist Dr. Davis in the development of the “Faith Animating ... Project.”

“I am honored to be invited to join the important work of Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning, even while I continue to serve in my roles at Duke University,” Jones said. “IFL, through the exceptional guidance of Dr. Darin Davis, already provides significant leadership at Baylor and in the broader ecology of Christian higher education focused on the ways faith animates vocation, learning and teaching, and higher education. I am excited by this opportunity to work alongside Dr. Davis as we envision innovative ways to nurture Baylor’s unique mission as a premiere Christian research university.”

Between 1997 and 2010, Jones served as the eleventh dean of Duke Divinity School. An internationally known theologian whose work centers on forgiveness, Christian higher education, social innovation, leadership, and pastoral ministry, Jones also has served as Duke University’s chief international strategist for global engagement. 

“For nearly two decades, the Institute for Faith and Learning has been a leading light in expressing Baylor’s vital Christian mission,” said Baylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr. “I am delighted and grateful that Greg Jones, someone much-admired in American higher education for his creativity and wisdom, will join our own Darin Davis and his colleagues in IFL as they cultivate Christian scholarship, teaching, and reflection at Baylor and beyond. These kinds of efforts are essential if Baylor is to realize its unique place as a keystone institution of higher learning.”

The author or editor of sixteen books, Jones has also published more than 200 articles and essays. His book Embodying Forgiveness is regarded as a landmark achievement in the field. Jones is an active contributor to popular publications, with reviews, opinion-editorials, and other articles appearing in a variety of media, including a regular column for Leadership Education at Duke Divinity’s Faith & Leadership web magazine. Jones is also an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church.

“Greg Jones is a visionary Christian educator whose considerable gifts will lift even higher the aspirations of Baylor and the Institute for Faith and Learning,” said Davis, who also serves as assistant professor of Christian philosophy and ethics at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

Following input from deans, chairs, and faculty from throughout the university, Dr. Davis will make a recommendation in 2016 for implementing the “Faith Animating...Project” to Dr. Edwin Trevathan, Executive Vice President and Provost, so that the program can be launched during the 2016-17 academic year.

Founded in 1997, the Institute for Faith and Learning seeks to encourage reflection and practice that exemplifies Baylor's mission of aspiring for academic excellence and Christian commitment and its goal of becoming a university of the first rank committed to its Baptist and Christian identity.

IFL's projects include: direction of the Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, an annual interdisciplinary conference that has gained an international reputation; development programs for Baylor faculty, including Communio, an annual retreat held since 2001 that more than 500 Baylor faculty and staff have attended; programs for Baylor students, including the Crane Scholars and Conyers Scholars Programs; and the publication of Christian Reflection, a journal of faith and ethics.
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