Presidential Perspective - August 25, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
We're nearly through the first week of the fall semester! It has been so exciting to see the enthusiasm and hustle and bustle return to the Baylor campus – along with some much-needed rain. If you are a new Baylor student, parent, faculty or staff member, I post a Presidential Perspective each Thursday afternoon to spotlight various Baylor happenings, accomplishments and important information. I look forward to communicating with all of you on a weekly basis as the semester progresses.
Onto some updates for this week:
- In fall 2018, Baylor researchers launched the longitudinal Faith and Character Study to track the long-term impact of a Baylor education on a person's faith and character development from when they arrive at Baylor, when they graduate and a decade after graduation. The findings inform our practices, including some truly groundbreaking work in Christian higher education involving mission-centric Chapel experiences at the start of a student’s Baylor journey. Because we are engaging students early, our new Chapel model through Spiritual Life is an orienting experience. Students are getting a spiritually formative, practice-centered experience that begins where they already are, among peers and mentors in their residence halls, and through campus ministries and academic cohorts, to name a few. Chapel isn't just a stand-alone practice; it is intentionally woven into the student experience and the life of the University.
- Leading quantum materials scientist – and 1993 Baylor graduate – Julia Chan, Ph.D., has been appointed as the inaugural holder of The Tim and Sharalynn Fenn Family Endowed Chair in Materials Science. An international leader in the discovery of new families of quantum materials, Dr. Chan will provide multi-disciplinary leadership for Baylor's materials science efforts, engaging and inspiring additional research among faculty and students. She returns to Baylor after 22 years at R1 institutions LSU and UT-Dallas, where she earned numerous awards and significant external funding for quantum materials science research. As a deputy editor for Science Advances, she plays a leading role in evaluating trailblazing scientific research from around the world. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Chan back to Baylor and grateful for the Fenns' generous support of this endowed chair and our Materials Science initiative within Illuminate.
- Baylor marine biologist Sarah Kienle, Ph.D., and her research team recently published a fascinating first-of-its-kind study in Frontiers of Marine Science that provides baseline data on the ecology and physiology of leopard seals – one of the most difficult apex predators to study. They're solitary and lethal and live in an extreme polar climate. Undeterred, Kienle and her team studied 22 leopard seals off the Western Antarctic Peninsula, documenting the flexible behaviors and traits that may offer leopard seals the resilience needed to survive the extreme climate and environmental disturbances occurring around Antarctica. Fun fact: The team measured one of the largest leopard seals ever, an adult female nicknamed "Bigonia," who weighed 540 kg (1,190 lbs.)!
- For Faculty and Staff: I look forward to visiting with each group in the upcoming weeks as we share priorities and chart our path for the current academic year. The Fall Staff Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 3 p.m, while the Fall Faculty Meeting is set for Thursday, Sept. 8, at 3:30 p.m. Both events are virtual, and a Zoom link will be provided in advance.
- For Students: The first distribution for student football tickets begins this Monday. Members of the Baylor Line – that's you, freshmen – will receive an email today on how to set up your ticket account. We want to see McLane Stadium packed with students for the home opener against Albany Sept. 3, and I hope to see you at the Ferrell Center for volleyball and Betty Lou Mays Field for soccer throughout the fall.
Sic 'em, Bears!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Hugs have been the theme on the Baylor campus this week as students have returned for the start of the fall semester. This makes me so happy!