Dr. Jon Engelhardt, dean of the Baylor School of Education, has announced his intent to retire next year.
Engelhardt, who became dean in July of 2007, is also a professor of Curriculum and Instruction. Before coming to Baylor, he served as a faculty member in mathematics education and administrator at Arizona State University for 16 years. Prior to the Baylor deanship, he served for 20 years as an education dean at the University of Texas El Paso, Northern Arizona University, and Wichita State University.
In making the announcement, Engelhardt said, “While I am in great health, remain excited about all that we are doing—and can yet do at Baylor—and enjoy the challenges of Baylor, community, state and national leadership, there comes a time for each of us to move on to the next phase of life.”
Engelhardt said he expects to remain in office through the 2014-15 academic year as Baylor conducts a national search for his replacement. Concluding his 27th year as a dean, seven at Baylor, Engelhardt said, “I like to say I saved the best for last in coming to Baylor.”
Baylor School of Education has gained much from Engelhardt’s service and experience, said Dr. Doug Rogers, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Student Services and Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction.
“Jon was the first dean of the Baylor School of Education who came to us with previous deanship experience, and the School benefited from that,” Rogers said. “Jon elevated the School’s profile within the university, the state, and at a national level because of his experience and his influence in all of those arenas.”
During his tenure at Baylor, Engelhardt has worked to strengthen partnerships between universities and public schools to improve the effectiveness of both schools and teacher preparation. He organized an award-winning collaboration locally between the School of Education and the superintendents of school districts in the area. The Greater Waco Area Superintendents group meets monthly to advise the dean; develop peer relationships; pursue a common vision, challenges, and opportunities; and collectively promote legislative agendas that support preK-12 education in the state legislature.
Engelhardt also established a Dean’s Advisory Council for the School of Education that represents a variety of constituents in Texas and beyond. The group meets twice each year.
Dr. Janet Bagby, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Educational Psychology and Coordinator of Baylor VETS (Veteran Educational and Transition Services), said Engelhardt was instrumental in developing the university-wide veteran support program that she directs.
“Jon is a servant leader who has always been supportive of my endeavors and facilitated opportunities for me to grow as a professional,” Bagby said. “Jon has led the SOE with strong dedication to our mission and has inspired those of us who have had the good fortune to work with him.”
Under Engelhardt’s watch, the School of Education grew in student numbers, faculty numbers, endowment, and programs. A new PhD program in Higher Education began this year. Two new master’s programs and a minor in leadership studies were also developed during his time, with a new, innovative EdD program in K-12 educational leadership ready to be proposed.
Engelhardt has helped expand the School of Education’s Professional Development School network to include Midway ISD in addition to longtime partner Waco ISD. Two new PDS campuses will begin operating in Midway ISD in fall 2014.
Engelhardt also played a pivotal role in the new partnership between Baylor University and Baylor Scott & White Health that culminated in the opening of a new facility and entity, the Baylor Center for Development Disabilities. That center grew out of programs offered through the School of Education for children with autism and represents an effort by both the university and health-care system to develop a new approach to helping children with developmental disabilities and their families.
Engelhardt has served nationally in a variety of professional leadership roles, including helping to found two professional/research organizations, serving on the executive boards of national associations for educator preparation (AACTE and CPED) and Education School accreditation (NCATE, now CAEP), and chairing a national representative organization (ACSR) in support of state associations of Education Schools.
He has led major developments in redefining teacher education as a clinical enterprise—both nationally and at Baylor—and received a variety of recognitions, including the Distinguished Administrator award for Higher Education from the Arizona School Administrators Association. He has worked to develop an understanding of how Schools of Education are part of the systemic development and improvement of preK-12 public education and the critical nature of community engagement and support for schools.
Engelhardt received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education (music and math) from Arizona State before earning a PhD in mathematics education from the University of Texas in 1972. He began his career in education as a middle-school math teacher in Tempe, Ariz., and served for seven years in the military during the Vietnam War period.