Presidential Perspective - October 13, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
This is one of those weeks in which I’ve had an opportunity to fling Baylor’s green and gold afar. I’ve traveled from Waco to California to participate in the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit and join alumni and parents in a Give Light event and then cross-country for tonight’s football game at West Virginia. Needless to say, I’m ready to be back at my Baylor home!
Some news from around campus:
- Baylor is one of only 22 U.S. colleges and universities – and only two in Texas – to receive an “A” in the annual What Will They Learn? report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni that assesses the strength of a university’s rigorous core curriculum. Baylor requires B.A. and B.S. degree students to complete coursework in six essential liberal arts and sciences disciplines, including composition, literature, intermediate-level foreign language, U.S. government or history, mathematics and natural science. The core curriculum in our College of Arts & Sciences is the foundation for a Baylor degree, serving to educate men and women to become informed and productive citizens of a democracy and servant leaders of faith communities.
- I am looking forward to the work of the newly charged faculty and staff Spiritual Wellbeing Task Force. I loved the quote in yesterday’s Baylor News Digest by Co-Chair Burt Burleson, D.Min., University Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Life: “Baylor should be a place where those working here are nurtured towards transformation and spiritual wellbeing, so they are able to say someday, ‘I think I’m more like Jesus because I worked here.’”
- I extend my deepest gratitude to Ronald Angelo Johnson, Ph.D. (history), Rebecca Flavin, Ph.D. (political science), and Luke Winslow, Ph.D. (communication), for sharing their thoughtful, insightful and actionable perspectives on civil discourse in our classrooms, on campus and in everyday conversations during Tuesday’s virtual Baylor Conversation Series event. If you weren’t able to watch the event live, you can access the discussion on-demand on the Conversation Series website.
- If you missed the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night last Saturday, know that we appreciate you from the bottom of our hearts. Be sure to check out the special opening video message, as well as complete a form for a special employee gift.
- Pablo Rivas, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science, is principal investigator on a $314,284 grant from the National Science Foundation to use technology to identify and disrupt illicit transactions online, ranging from human trafficking to the sale of stolen goods and more. An AI expert at the intersection of machine learning and ethics, Dr. Rivas will lead a multidisciplinary team that includes Baylor computer scientist Tomas Cerny, Ph.D., who focuses on data science and software engineering, and other colleagues from around the country. The award is an NSF EAGER SaTC grant, which promotes a secure and trustworthy cyberspace, and Rivas’ team will seek to determine if natural language processing can identify suspicious listings online.
- It’s never too early to start thinking about the Christmas holidays! The 2022 Baylor Traditions Ornament features a beloved campus tradition, Christmas on Fifth Street. The brilliant red ball brings to mind memories of horse-drawn carriages, hot chocolate, Christmas carols and a campus covered in a seemingly endless trail of lights. Additionally, in commemoration of its 90th Anniversary, this year’s special edition ornament features Diadeloso. All proceeds will benefit the President’s Excellence Fund and projects that directly benefit students.
- Baylor Homecoming is next week, beginning on Monday night with a worship service on Fountain Mall, followed on Tuesday night with another of my favorite events: Dinner with the Livingstones! The First Gent and I look forward to sharing a meal with current students from 6 to 8 p.m. Waco’s favorite food trucks will line 3rd and 4th Streets, and students may select from their choice of specialties to receive a free meal to enjoy. Eat, engage in quality time with friends and visit with us as we celebrate the start of Homecoming together.
Speaking of our ongoing Baylor Conversation Series, in 2019, we hosted nationally renowned speakers and friends Robert P. George, Ph.D., and Cornel West, Ph.D., for a spirited dialogue about the importance of learning to agree to disagree with respect, civility and humor. Both Dr. George and Dr. West are distinguished scholars who come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they provided us with a great example of civil discourse. I encourage you to revisit that conversation here.
My weather app says that Waco temperatures hit 90 degrees this week. Where did our fall weather go?
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
I was excited to be with TIAA CEO and Baylor’s Distinguished Alumna of the Year, Thasunda Brown Duckett, earlier this week at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. And no, we did not coordinate our green and gold attire!