Presidential Perspective - October 6, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
Election Day is one month away on Tuesday, Nov. 8, providing an opportunity for us to exercise one of our most important privileges and rights as Americans. We want to encourage all of the Baylor Family – and particularly our students – to take part in our local and nationwide elections. But planning ahead is very important, as next Tuesday, Oct. 11, is the last day to register to vote in Texas. We’ve developed a website to assist both Texas and out-of-state students with this process. As we look forward to Election Day, Baylor will provide free shuttle service from campus to our nearest voting location at the Waco Convention Center. Be on the lookout for more information in the weeks ahead.
As we all know, we are entering election season during one of the most divisive times in U.S. history. Whether in politics, church congregations, on the Baylor campus or even within our own families, there is a significant need for civil discourse in today’s society. While we may not agree, civil discourse requires mutual respect and objectivity without hostility, while demonstrating appreciation for the experiences of others.
Three of our faculty members will participate in a panel discussion on civil discourse as part of a Baylor Conversation Series event next Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 4 p.m. I hope you will join Rebecca Flavin, Ph.D.; Ronald A. Johnson, Ph.D.; and Luke Winslow, Ph.D., for what should be an enlightening virtual discussion. We will email a Zoom link to all students, faculty and staff a day prior to the event.
Some additional information of interest:
- October is one of the busiest times of year for university counseling centers across the nation. This Monday – which is World Mental Health Awareness Day – the Baylor Counseling Center will be at Fountain Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to share resources and provide opportunities to get involved and increase mental health awareness on campus. Throughout the month, watch for a series of communications and engagement opportunities to practice mental health wellbeing and learn more about the mental health resources available to our students, faculty and staff. Students, if you are struggling with mental health concerns, please contact the Counseling Center at 254-710-2467. Additionally, CARE Team Services is dedicated to helping students connect to mental health resources that best meet their needs. On this week’s Baylor Connections podcast, Meghan Becker shares how students and faculty can use the CARE Team’s case managers to find the assistance that they or others need.
Faculty and staff also have many resources available through our employee assistance program. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of these learning opportunities and resources and hope the coming weeks will help us all adopt best practices to stay well spiritually, physically and mentally.
- The Dave Thomas Foundation today recognized Baylor on its annual top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list, which honors national organizations with the most robust adoption benefit programs. Baylor also appeared on several breakout lists, including No. 2 among U.S. education institutions that offer the best overall adoption benefits, such as paid parental leave and financial assistance for adoption-related expenses, and on the foster care benefits list for offering paid parental leave to foster parents. Baylor’s investment in our parental leave and adoption assistance benefits, including for foster care, align with the University’s Christian mission and reflect our deep commitment to supporting and strengthening families.
- It was such a joy to attend last Friday’s inaugural Achievement Awards Ceremony hosted in Barfield Drawing Room by the Baylor Black Alumni Alliance. The beautiful evening benefited the Dr. Vivienne Malone-Mayes Scholarship, celebrated the BBAA’s Founders and honored the recipients of the Rev. Robert L. Gilbert Distinguished Baylor Black Alumni Award: Col. Patrice Holmes, BS ’97, commander of the 28th Mission Support Group, Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.; Larry W. Coffer II, BSEd ’00, MSEd ’06, research administrator at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Pearlie Beverly, BA/BS, MSEd ’01, director of Multicultural Affairs at Baylor. The BBAA also celebrated the bright future ahead by recognizing the student recipients of the University’s Trailblazer Scholarship and the Dr. Malone-Mayes Scholarship.
- The Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching at Truett Seminary hosted its fourth annual African American Preaching Conference last week, an event “Where the Pulpit Meets the Academy.” We welcomed more than 300 ministers, leaders and laypersons from around the country to the Baylor campus for worship, exceptional preaching and lectures by eight leading pastor scholars, breakout sessions led by Truett faculty and a Legacy Award luncheon honoring Rev. Dr. Robert Smith Jr., The Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala. I’m grateful for this annual event that centers on the rich legacy of African American preaching in relationship to today’s culture, church and the academy. Next up for Truett will be our National Preaching Conference Nov. 15-17 – learn more here.
With our Bears taking a break from the gridiron this week, let’s all catch up on some rest and academic work as well as a little soccer!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Maestro Miguel Harth-Bedoya made his debut Tuesday night as only the third conductor of the Baylor Symphony Orchestra in University history.