Jonathan Tran, Ph.D., Appointed Honors College Associate Dean

January 15, 2023
Baylor University’s Honors College has appointed Jonathan Tran, Ph.D., formerly Associate Professor of Philosophical Theology and George W. Baines Chair of Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences, as Associate Dean for Faculty. In addition to his administrative role, Dr. Tran now holds a tenured position as Associate Professor of Theology in the Great Texts Program. Tran’s appointment was effective January 1.

“Jonathan is a gifted scholar, teacher, and academic citizen,” Honors College Dean Douglas Henry, Ph.D. said. “As associate dean for faculty, he will lead by example, and he will expand our ability to support the highly accomplished, interdisciplinary faculty of our Honors College. It is an easy and joyful thing to add him to our faculty ranks and to welcome his leadership as associate dean.”

Dr. Tran has longstanding connections to the Honors College community. Over the course of his 16 years at Baylor, he has taught multiple honors sections of religion courses for our Honors Program students, directed nearly 20 honors theses to completion, and served as the Honors Residential College Faculty Steward from 2015-2018.

"I’ve been lucky that throughout my time at Baylor I’ve been surrounded by wonderful colleagues and students, and the Honors College feels like home going into this next season of life,” Tran said. “The particular role I’ve been given allows me to come alongside a spectacularly gifted group of folks. There is a long legacy of outstanding leadership in the Honors College, from Dean Henry and Dean Tom Hibbs before him to the many staff and faculty who make this a truly exceptional place. Great leadership makes for great things, and anyone who gets to be around great things is lucky indeed."

In this role, Dr. Tran will take on duties related to personnel administration; initiatives advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, including cultivation of theologically robust language and practices; and work on behalf of exemplary faculty recruiting, hiring, mentoring, and development.

“Jonathan Tran exemplifies all the things I have come to love and treasure about Baylor,” Honors College Dean Emeritus and J. Newton Rayzor Sr. Professor of Philosophy Thomas Hibbs, Ph.D., said. “He is a leader who recognizes and fosters the gifts of those around him, even as he cultivates initiative, friendship, and joy. I am delighted that Honors College staff, faculty and students will now have even more opportunities to be blessed by his many gifts.”

Originally from Southern California, Tran holds a B.A. in political science from the University of California at Riverside, an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School; and a Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Duke University. In addition to authoring many invited and peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, he has to his credit three single-authored books: The Vietnam War and Theologies of Memory: Time and Eternity in the Far Country (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Foucault and Theology (T&T Clark, 2011), and Asian Americans and the Spirit of Racial Capitalism (Oxford UP, 2021).

“Not only is Dr. Tran an exceedingly brilliant mind, but he is also an incredibly kind soul,” Director of Black Church Studies and Special Advisor to the President for Equity and Campus Engagement Malcolm Foley, Ph.D., said. “His work in theology and ethics bears witness to a precision that I would hope every Baylor professor exhibits, and he himself is suffused by a love of neighbor that will benefit the Honors College and the students who pass through its doors.”

Dean Henry gratefully acknowledges the favor and support of Provost Nancy Brickhouse, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Lee Nordt, Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Kim Kellison, and Religion Department Chair Doug Weaver in making possible the transfer of Dr. Tran’s faculty line.