Presidential Perspective - January 13, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
As I’ve looked out my office window this week, I’ve enjoyed seeing our campus steadily come back to life with the return of more and more students. I am excited about the new semester and everything the next few months will bring.
Also, I am pleased to confirm that the spring semester will indeed begin in-person this Tuesday, with face-to-face classes and the full range of normal activities and events. I hope our students can drop by the Allbritton House on Tuesday from 9-10 a.m. to join me for a “welcome back” breakfast treat on their way to class.
In terms of COVID-19, we are beginning to see the predicted and anticipated spike in cases on our campus, but the good news is that the infections tend to be mild and short-lived. We continue to fine-tune our plans across the University to ensure that academic instruction proceeds as planned and that key operational services are uninterrupted.
I would encourage everyone to review our roadmap for the first two weeks of the semester, which was sent to you last Monday. The only update to this email is that our health professionals have shortened the University’s quarantine and isolation guidelines to be more consistent with the CDC’s latest recommendations, which is great news.
I ask for your patience and understanding as we work through these next couple of weeks together and request that you please monitor your health symptoms very closely for the benefit of our entire campus community. The COVID-19 outlook for February continues to look very promising with a projected sharp decline of the Omicron variant.
Some updates for this week:
- This Monday we will join millions across the nation to honor the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a Day of Service that includes both drive-through and virtual service opportunities. The annual MLK Day holiday has been called a “day on, not a day off,” and is an opportunity for us to actively support our community and respond to the needs of those around us. As a part of this observance, we will collect supplies for local non-profits at a drive-through collection site at the Bobo Spiritual Life Center beginning Monday at 9 a.m. You can find a list of needed supplies and sign up to volunteer at the collection site here. Other campus events and opportunities to learn about and celebrate Dr. King are planned throughout the week, complementing several community observances beginning tomorrow with the 35th Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at Waco’s MLK Memorial Park.
- It has been incredibly exciting to celebrate Baylor’s attainment of R1 status with the Baylor Family over the past few weeks. Reaching the highest level that the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education recognizes is certainly important, but it’s even more meaningful to consider what this means for Baylor’s future as the preeminent Christian research university. R1 status makes Baylor a more appealing destination for faculty, students, industry partners and more — we’re now one of only 137 R1 universities, only 60 of which are private institutions. And I believe more faculty will see Baylor as a place to combine their Christian faith with their top-tier research aspirations. Additionally, R1 will elevate the institutional opportunities we have to address societal challenges and bring a Christian voice to the table among the nation’s leading universities. We’ll see more research opportunities, more grants and research funding, and more exciting projects campus-wide, but you’ll also see a multiplier effect as Baylor and our students, both graduate and undergraduate, bring their talents to bear for the glory of God and the good of our world.
- Faculty – Please mark your calendars for the Spring Faculty Meeting, scheduled virtually for Thursday, Jan. 27, from 3-4:30 p.m. We will focus our time on discussing the vision and next steps of Illuminate and celebrating the outstanding work of the fall semester. There’s no need to RSVP as the link for the meeting will be emailed to all faculty the day before the event.
- Staff – I am looking forward to joining our HR colleagues for the annual Spring Staff Meeting to be held virtually on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 3 p.m. Like above for the faculty, log-in information will be emailed to all staff the day before the event. The meeting will cover University updates, significant accomplishments and more.
Here’s to a great Spring Semester 2022! I look forward to seeing you on campus and updating you on Baylor’s progress each Thursday.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
One of the four future “light towers” now dots the campus skyline as construction of the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center continued over the Christmas break.