By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer
The search for a new Dean of the Honors College came to a close last week with Dr. Douglas V. Henry selected for the position. As announced by Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Dr. Henry is set begin his duties on May 1.
After taking on the role of associate dean in 2012, Henry has been working as Interim Dean of the Honors College since last summer and will now be taking on the official position as dean after Thomas S. Hibbs.
Henry first earned his bachelor’s degree in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University and then went on to earn his master’s degree and doctorate degrees in philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He joined the Baylor faculty in 2001.
“Both of those things have long been valued within church-related higher education,” Henry said. “I have been helped at every step of my professional life by the methods and by the substance of each of those disciplines.”
Henry said that his religion degree has helped him think theologically, rigorously and rationally about his faith and the faith behind the university. He also said that his philosophy degrees have helped him bring a logically informed mind and a philosophically rich history into the classroom and into his administrative duties.
“Philosophers care about analyzing, interpreting, reasoning their way through problems and that’s very much at the heart of what academic administrators do all the time,” Henry said. “By and large I have thought of myself over time as a teacher. As a faculty member devoted to the classroom.”
He has taught many courses that are at the intersection of religion and philosophy and these are also reflected in many of the interdisciplinary courses that are taught in the honors college.
“What does the life of the mind have to do with the life of faith?” Henry said. “What can we learn from history that can inform our understanding of the problems in the present and what intellectual currents were in play back 500 years ago that we might learn from as we think about the problems and predicaments that we have here in the present?”
The honors college dean search committee, led by Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben, included faculty from different areas of campus including the honors college, the college of arts and sciences, undergraduate admissions and the Hankamer School of Business.
Academic Search, Inc. also aided in this process. The honors college said that applicants must hold a terminal degree and qualify for tenure in one of Baylor’s academic units.
“The candidate also must possess a significant and progressive record of higher education leadership appropriate for this role or possess comparable leadership experience,” the honors college said.
Applicants were asked to submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae and five professional references. Semifinalist interviews occurred in mid-February and finalist interviews occurred in early March.
Throughout the search, students in the honors college and Baylor Interdisciplinary Core were able to hear presentations followed by a question-and-answer from the candidates and return their own feedback.
“I’m grateful to colleagues from around the University who contributed countless hours as search committee members, reviewed my application with favor, interviewed me with kindness and attention, and welcomed me as one of four finalists with graciousness and professionalism,” Henry said.
Henry continues to work on projects such as “Plato’s Euthyphro and the Character of Piety” and “Three Rival Versions of Education” and has also co-edited book such as “Faithful Learning and the Christian Scholarly Vocation,” “Christianity and the Soul of the University” and more.
“I’m honored to serve current students, distinguished faculty as we fulfill Baylor’s bold mission and that mission is at the heart of all my thinking about what we do every day,” Henry said.