Presidential Perspective - January 27, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
The “Spring Sprint” is definitely underway, and it’s hard to believe Feb. 1 is this Tuesday. As I mentioned prior to the start of the semester, we will provide an update regarding our COVID-19 measures to the campus community next week. I appreciate everyone’s attention to a successful beginning of the spring semester. Yes, we have experienced days of high COVID-19 case counts, but we have been able to manage these effectively. And most all cases have been mild and short-lived. More to come next week as we continue in COVID-19’s transition from pandemic to endemic.
Some updates for this week:
- Baylor University’s 177th Birthday is this Tuesday, Feb. 1! Please join us in the celebration with a special Dr Pepper Hour – complete with birthday cupcakes – from 3-4 p.m. in Barfield Drawing Room.
- I am looking forward to the Spring Faculty Meeting later today from 3-4:30 p.m. as we celebrate the faculty’s many contributions toward the University achieving R1 status. Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., will also lead discussions with several members of the President’s Council as we plan for the next five years of Illuminate. Additionally, we’ll announce the winner of the next Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. The meeting will be held virtually, and faculty should have received an email link to the meeting yesterday.
- At the Spring Staff Meeting earlier this week, we were joined by Thasunda Brown Duckett, MBA ’01, Baylor’s Alumna of the Year and CEO of Fortune 100 financial powerhouse TIAA, which provides retirement and investment solutions to millions of employees nationwide, including Baylor staff and faculty. Duckett discussed Baylor’s “extremely generous” 10.8% retirement contribution – a mark that’s 4% higher than similar-sized higher education plans. I encourage all of our staff and faculty to watch this incredible Baylor alum and her advice for personally contributing more toward retirement. I hope you will consider the specific suggestions to actively participate in your retirement planning.
- Baylor University School of Music will commemorate its 100th anniversary with a non-stop concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Waco Hall that shines the spotlight on a dazzling parade of ensembles, chamber groups and soloists. Free tickets are available, during regular business hours, in the front lobby of the Glennis McCrary Music Building, the Waco Hall box office and the BDSC ticket office. For information, call 254-710-3571.
- Academic freedom and free expression are two core tenets of higher education as we espouse to provide a “marketplace of ideas” and encourage personal growth and knowledge. Our Baylor in Washington program under the leadership of David Corey, Ph.D., has pulled together several leading higher education organizations for a Feb. 9 virtual event titled “A Roadmap for Campus Free Expression.” I am honored to be a part of the distinguished panel discussing such an important topic and reflecting our work on a recent free expression task force. More details and RSVP information can be found here.
- For Faculty and Staff – Earlier this week you should have received an email to complete your annual, mandatory Title IX training. We must be intentional about building a caring Christian community in which our members feel safe, respected and supported – a commitment that lies at the core of our mission to transform lives and serve others. The deadline to complete this updated online training is Feb. 25.
Following up on our impressive appearance at the Sugar Bowl, it’s time for us to Go Gold once again! Be sure to wear your GOLD for next Wednesday’s home women’s basketball game against Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Sic ’em, Coach Collen and our Baylor Bears!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Baylor’s light now shines even brighter as an R1 institution. Dr. Zhenrong Zhang is creating a powerful nanoscale microscope to illuminate chemical reactions as small as 1/100,000th the width of a human hair.