Toby J. Brooks, Ph.D., Named Director of Baylor’s Academy for Teaching and Learning

Brooks joins Baylor from the Texas Tech School of Health Professions, will serve as Clinical Professor in the Robbins College Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation

April 24, 2024
 Toby J. Brooks, Ph.D.

Toby J. Brooks, Ph.D., will join Baylor University July 15 as director of the Academy of Teaching and Learning and clinical professor in the Robbins College Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation.

Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (April 24, 2024) – Following a national search, Toby J. Brooks, Ph.D., assistant dean of faculty success, program director of athletic training and professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Lubbock, has been selected to serve as director of Baylor University’s Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL), effective July 15, 2024. 

Brooks will succeed Lenore Wright, Ph.D., professor of interdisciplinary studies and philosophy in the Honors College, who has served as ATL director since 2011. He also will serve as clinical professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation in Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.

“Dr. Toby Brooks brings a tremendous amount of passion for high-quality teaching and strong leadership experience to the Academy for Teaching and Learning director position at Baylor,” said J. Wesley (Wes) Null, vice provost for undergraduate education and academic affairs. “He is an excellent mission fit not only in terms of Baylor generally, but also with regard to the role of ATL within an R1 Christian University. I could not be more excited for Dr. Brooks to get started with us.”

“It is an incredible time at Baylor, and I'm thrilled by the opportunities that are all around,” Brooks said. “Whether it be the recent attainment of R1 status, ambitious and inspiring new spaces like the Hurd Welcome Center and Foster Pavilion, or the continual overall growth in depth, breadth and recognition of the academic and athletic programs at Baylor, there is an unmistakable vitality at Baylor that I am both humbled and ecstatic to get to join the team.”

Over his career, Brooks has served as an educator at nearly all levels of higher education, including two community colleges, a large private Christian university, two regional state institutions and two flagship state universities. For the last 14 years, he has been on the faculty of the TTUHSC, the largest producer of healthcare professionals in the state of Texas, and taught primarily in the highly diverse School of Health Professions, which is home to 22 different health-related professions. He has remained active in the general academic campus as an adjunct instructor for a variety of online courses at Texas Tech.

Brooks also led a multi-year effort at Texas Tech to establish a teaching and learning center to serve the entire university. In his role as assistant dean of faculty success within the School of Health Professions, he has worked with faculty from different backgrounds and training to help them become more skilled, confident and effective educators.

A first-generation college student, Brooks earned an A.S. from Southeastern Illinois College, a B.S. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and his M.A. and Ph.D. from The University of Arizona. He is currently wrapping up work on his M.B.A. through Louisiana State University Shreveport. As a certified athletic trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist, he has worked with the Las Vegas Raiders, USA Baseball, the Florida Firecats in the Arena Football League and the Southern Illinois Miners minor league baseball franchise in pro sports, as well as several colleges and universities, including the University of Texas at El Paso and Liberty University, and nearly a dozen high schools over two decades.

Brooks also has published more than 20 books, 30 peer-reviewed articles and 200-plus magazine articles in a diverse career as an athletic trainer, professor and automotive journalist. His podcast, Becoming UnDone, involves interviews and conversations with high achievers and how failure and setback can be springboards to success and has ascended to a global Top 10% show in just 18 months.

The Academy for Teaching and Learning has a two-fold mission: to support and inspire a flourishing community of learning and to promote the integration of teaching, scholarship, collegiality and service in a Christian context. Since its founding in 2008, the ATL has flourished under the outstanding leadership of past directors and staff while providing diverse programming that includes the Summer Faculty Institute, Seminars for Excellence in Teaching and University Teaching Development Grants. By mentoring teachers, facilitating discussions on teaching, and supporting teaching development, the ATL serves Baylor’s instructors with practical guidance and inspiration.

As he prepares to join Baylor, Brooks noted the “incredible work” of Dr. Lenore Wright and team members Dr. Craig Clarkson, Dr. Michelle Herridge and Dr. Christopher Richman, which has positioned Baylor’s Academy for Teaching and Learning to continue playing its critical role in positively impacting teaching for faculty.

“With the significant growth of faculty diversity, expertise and overall number, there is an incredible opportunity right now to play a role in influencing the culture of excellence at Baylor,” Brooks said. “I've long aspired to follow Jesus' model for growth in Luke 2:52, where we read Christ grew mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. My hope is that the ATL can continue and even broaden its charge to become a catalyst for that model of whole-person development in that very same way, connecting and supporting like-minded people who want to become the best possible versions of themselves.

“Through the support of President Livingstone, Provost Brickhouse, Vice Provost Wes Null and the rest of the incredible leadership at Baylor, I truly believe the sky is the limit for the ATL and I cannot wait to get started,” he said.

Brooks serves as a Deacon and drummer at Highland Baptist Church in Lubbock, where his wife, Christi, is a children's minister. They have two children: daughter, Brynnan, a junior Vocal Performance major at Texas Tech, and son, Taye, a senior at Lubbock Christian High School who plans to attend Lubbock Christian University in the fall.

Null thanked the members of the nine-member search committee, co-chaired by Jennifer Good, Ph.D., associate professor of German and division director of German and Russian, and Kevin Pinney, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Serving on the search committee were David Burns, Ron Johnson, Ph.D., Mona Choucair, Ph.D., Laine Scales, Ph.D., Keith Schubert, Ph.D., Bridget Fuselier, J.D. (Faculty Senate representative) and Courtney Norman.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 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 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.