Presidential Perspective - November 11, 2021
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
Last week was big for Baylor as the Board of Regents affirmed the next five years of our Illuminate strategic plan. This important action ensures that we continue our accelerated progress toward Research 1 status and ultimately being recognized as the preeminent Christian research university. Across our campus from 2022-27, you will see:
- The addition of 100 new faculty members aligned with Baylor’s Christian mission and in support of our R1/Tier 1 aspirations;
- Renovated residence halls and living spaces, as well as labs and classrooms;
- New facilities, including the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, a true home for the Honors College, the Fudge Football Operations Center and the basketball pavilion; and
- A University positioned for the future through financial strength and stability.
Please join me in thanking our Regents for their ongoing strategic support of Baylor as we shine a light in teaching, research and engagement in Texas, across the United States and around the world.
Some updates for this week:
- You may have noticed the yellow ribbons tied to the memorial lampposts throughout campus today in recognition of Veterans Day. Baylor boasts more than 1,000 military-connected students, including veterans, active duty, those serving in the reserves or National Guard, or dependents or spouse of a military service member. We also have many faculty and staff who have served our country in such a capacity. Thank you – Baylor Veterans – for defending the freedoms we enjoy and for the bravery you exhibit. I hope we all have a moment today to thank a veteran personally or sign the thank-you banner in the lobby of the Bill Daniel Student Center.
- The FOX Big Noon Kickoff is coming to Waco this Saturday in advance of our Bears’ key Big 12 matchup with Oklahoma at McLane Stadium – and we need you there! We’re giving away prizes such as premiere campus parking, bowl tickets and autographed athletics gear to students who attend the men’s basketball game on Friday night, show up at Big Noon Kickoff Saturday beginning at 8 a.m., and attend the 11 a.m. game versus Oklahoma. Let’s be loud and represent Baylor well on FOX’s live national pregame broadcast from McLane’s South Plaza.
- Today we announced the naming of the Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice, part of a $2.5 million expansion within Baylor’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. Made possible through a gift from Bill Robbins in honor of his wife Mary Jo, the expansion will double the current capacity for providing speech, language and other services to individuals affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis (ASD). The clinic also will provide space for research into early identification and intervention of ASD. We are grateful for the generous support of the Robbins and for their passion to champion research and resources for the ASD community.
- And tomorrow is monumental for Baylor’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project as we join together for the unveiling of the Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center in Moody Memorial Library. The center houses thousands of vinyl records and other materials in the project’s permanent collection and also features a centerpiece high-end sound isolation pod and full keyboard for researchers who want to play along with sheet music or recordings. The dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. in the garden level of Moody Memorial Library will feature Black Gospel music performances by Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir and other speakers, followed by a lecture at 1 p.m. on “Why Gospel Music Matters” with project founder and journalism professor Bob Darden and Robert Marovich, founder and editor of the Journal of Gospel Music and a major collector of historic gospel recordings.
- We are celebrating Know Your Neighbor Week in recognition of the distinct student populations on our campus and the many contributions they make to our Baylor Family. When we spotlight the experiences of others and learn more about who our neighbor is, we also bring awareness to the particular challenges and obstacles they may face. Food insecurity is one of these challenges, and I invite you drop by the Free Farmers Market today through 3 p.m., or take action by giving directly to The Food Security Endowment created by the Faculty Senate and Staff Council.
- Baylor’s online MBA program in our Hankamer School of Business received some great news this week: a top 10 ranking at No. 8 in the Poets&Quants list of Best Online MBA Programs, based on school and alumni surveys about admissions standards, academic experience and employment outcomes. We know how important the Baylor experience is, even with 100% online delivery. Our online MBA allows working professionals to continue to work while they earn their degree from anywhere in the world, learning from the same nationally acclaimed faculty who teach in our on-campus MBA program while accessing full career services and the Baylor Alumni network.
- If you are a “streamer” with a log-in to Amazon Prime TV, be sure to check out Baylor on season two of The College Tour, which debuted earlier this week. Filmed on location in May throughout campus and Waco, our 30-minute episode features real Baylor students who share their college experiences through their own eyes and words. There also are guest appearances by faculty member Jonathan Tran, Ph.D.; Joy and Lady, of course; and men’s basketball coach Scott Drew with the Bears’ national championship trophy.
Here’s to a great Friday and Saturday wrapped in Green and Gold!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Beating the University of Texas never gets old. Baylor’s now sixth-ranked volleyball team downed the then-No. 1 Longhorns last Saturday at the Ferrell Center and spoiled their undefeated season.