Presidential Search Team Completes Systematic Listening Process

November 30, 2016

WACO, Texas (Nov. 30, 2016) - Baylor University’s Presidential Search Committee has completed its process of gathering input from a wide variety of constituent groups regarding the professional and personal characteristics and experiences important to the University’s next president.

Led by chair Bob Brewton, B.B.A. '74, of Houston, president and principal owner of Brewton Investment Corp., and vice chair Andrea L. Dixon, Ph.D., The Frank M. and Floy Smith Holloway Endowed Professor in Marketing and executive director of the Center for Professional Selling and Keller Center for Research in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, the search committee organized a number of listening sessions - both on campus and at several locations in Texas - with groups of faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends and University administrators.

"Between September 14 and November 1, we gathered a great wealth of input from the Baylor family through a series of listening sessions that engaged faculty, staff and students across campus and reached across Texas," said Dixon. "The perspectives shared in these groups have been invaluable in helping determine what Baylor needs in our next president as perceived by faculty, staff, administration, students, alumni and friends, and also benefitted in our process of identifying prospective candidates."

Dixon said the topics of conversation at the listening sessions included the desired personal and professional qualities and experiences for the new senior leader, successful elements of previous senior leaders and key areas, programs and resources on which Baylor’s new senior leader must focus.

A team composed of Dixon and fellow search committee members Marjorie Ellis, executive director of Career and Professional Development at Baylor, Kevin Jackson, Ph.D., vice president for student life at Baylor, and Bill Neilson, M.D., associate dean of the Honors College at Baylor and senior lecturer and clinical professor in the Honors Program, conducted 119 listening sessions on campus with staff, faculty, department chairs, center directors, program directors, associate deans, deans and senior leaders. More than 350 people participated in these sessions.

Additionally, former student regent Jonathan Siktberg, a senior at Baylor, worked with Student Body President Lindsey Bacque and current student regents Emily Neel and Daniel Thomas in holding 13 listening sessions with almost 250 students and student leaders.

Baylor alumni and friends were tapped to facilitate listening sessions in key Texas communities during the month of October, with two sessions each held in the Waco, Dallas and Houston areas and one session each held in Austin and San Antonio. These sessions offered alumni and community leaders the opportunity to provide their input to the search process.

Baylor search committee member Dennis Wiles hosted a listening session on October 4 at First Baptist Church of Arlington, where he has served as pastor since 2001. "There was broad participation, with almost everyone in attendance contributing to the conversation," he said. "Our Baylor family wants a solid, gracious, godly leader who can lead Baylor forward in its Christian mission."

In addition to these in-person conversations, more than 700 people completed the online form addressing the same topics as the listening sessions while also allowing for the recommendations of potential candidates.

"By using the input of the entire Baylor family as the foundation for our search process, and with the strategic guidance of the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, we have taken significant steps forward in finding the University’s 15th president," Dixon said. "All of the Presidential Search Committee members are grateful to those who have shared their perspectives and lifted our work up in prayer."

More information and updates on progress on the presidential search process at Baylor University are available at