Baylor’s Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force Begins Work

Pat Neff
July 7, 2016

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WACO, Texas (July 7, 2016) – Baylor University Executive Vice President and Provost L. Gregory Jones has announced the members of the Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force, a group formed after the release of the Pepper Hamilton Findings of Fact and Recommendations to re-energize a focus around the University’s Christian mission. The Task Force has received its charge and held its initial meeting to begin work.

Chaired by Jones, the Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force focuses on spiritual life and the cultivation of character across the University and will provide long-term strategic direction for the renewed focus on the distinctive mission of the University, “to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.” This task force is one of two complementary executive-level task forces announced on June 10 by Baylor Interim President David E. Garland.

“The Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force – composed of Baylor faculty, staff and students – will be guided by the conviction that Baylor’s Christian mission ought to animate the entire life of the University, thus guiding and uplifting our community to realize its calling, Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana,” Jones said.

Members of the Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force are:

• Greg Jones, chair (EVP/Provost)

• Lori Baker (Anthropology, Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Collaboration and Leadership Development, effective 7/25)

• Tierra Barber (Athletics)

• Burt Burleson (University Chaplain/Dean of Spiritual Life)

• Shelley Conroy (Dean, Louise Herrington School of Nursing)

• Ron Cook (Truett Seminary/Center for Ministry Effectiveness)

• Darin Davis (Vice President for University Mission)

• Andrea Dixon (Marketing) Liaison with Sexual Assault Implementation Team on Culture/Climate

• Danny Dominguez (Student)

• Elisa Dunman (Student Life)

• Emmy Edwards (Student)

• Jan Evans (Modern Languages and Culture)

• Cheryl Gochis (Vice President for Human Resources)

• Jennifer Good (Modern Languages and Culture; Faculty-in-Residence)

• Kevin Jackson (Vice President for Student Life)

• Jill Klentzman (Engineering and Computer Science)

• Marcie Moehnke (Biology)

• Bill Neilson (Honors Program)

• Mitch Neubert (Management/Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business)

• Elijah Tanner (Special Assistant to the EVP and Provost)

• Jonathan Tran (Religion/Faculty Master, Honors Residential College)

The Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force will work in implementation teams led by Lori Baker, Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Collaboration and Leadership Development; Kevin Jackson, Vice President for Student Life; and Darin Davis, Vice President for University Mission, and will consider several central questions:

• How might efforts of spiritual formation (including but not limited to communal worship and prayer) be encouraged and enhanced across the entire University?

• How might character formation for students be encouraged and enhanced through curricular and co-curricular efforts? How might key virtues like honesty, justice and wisdom, and central practices, such as friendship and hospitality, be encouraged among the entire University community?

• How might there be greater collaboration among all university units, departments and programs to more consistently encourage and communicate the highest ideals of the Christian life, in ways that both challenge and uplift the entire University community? How might local congregations and other Christian ministries be a part of such mission-centered efforts?

“The work of the Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force is at the heart of Baylor’s Christian identity as we seek to educate our students in ways that will bless them for their whole lives,” Davis said. “As our task force begins its work, we first will take stock of the many ways and places where moral and spiritual formation is already flourishing at Baylor. We want to build on those practices and enhance them. But we also want to ask challenging questions about the very nature of the community we are called to be—as students, staff, faculty, graduates, and constituents.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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