Presidential Perspective - September 15, 2022

September 15, 2022

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

This has been a week of big news for the University, so let’s get right to the headlines!

  • Baylor’s transformational undergraduate academic programs and experiences were highlighted among the nation’s best “Programs to Look For” in the 2023 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. These well-regarded academic programs promote student success and positive learning outcomes while fostering a successful undergraduate student experience. Baylor made the grade in these national categories:
    • No. 10 for First-year Experience
    • No. 16 for Learning Communities
    • No. 16 for Best Undergraduate Teaching
    • No. 20 for Most Innovative Schools
    • No. 21 for Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects
    • No. 46 for Best Colleges for Veterans

    Overall, Baylor ranks second in the Big 12 and among the top five in Texas at No. 77, just one point away from a No. 72 ranking and two points away from No. 67 due to ties. Our undergraduate academic programs also were recognized by U.S. News, including Entrepreneurship at No. 8 nationally (and tops in Texas!); Accounting at No. 44; Business programs in the Hankamer School of Business at No. 64; Nursing programs in the Louise Herrington School of Nursing at No. 39; and Engineering and Computer Science programs in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at No. 104 and No. 114, respectively.

  • Yesterday we announced Baylor’s official fall enrollment at 20,709 students. The University’s overall student body reflects 38.3% underrepresented minority enrollment, with students from out-of-state at nearly 43%. An intentionally smaller fall 2022 freshman class of 3,296 students maintained its high academic quality with SAT and ACT test scores and the percentage of high-ability students all up year over year. The decision to bring in a smaller class was due to two large “COVID classes” that enrolled in fall 2021 (4,271 freshmen) and fall 2020 (3,731 freshmen). Overall undergraduate enrollment was reported at 15,213 students, with enrollment in Baylor’s expanding graduate and professional programs, including online programs, increasing to 5,496 students.

  • For the 11th time, Baylor is one of only 42 universities to have attained elite Honor Roll status as a 2022 Great College to Work For. One of the most respected workplace recognition programs in the country, the Great Colleges to Work For program honors the colleges and universities that get top ratings from their employees regarding great workplace engagement through practices and policies. Thank you to all Baylor employees who shared their thoughts and completed the surveys and for your sustained commitment to creating a caring community dedicated to leadership, service, academic excellence and Christian commitment.

  • We welcome to Baylor another Foster Academic Challenge Scholar – Aaron Wright, Ph.D., our inaugural holder of The James R. Schofield Endowed Chair in Biomedical Studies. An interdisciplinary researcher who focuses on the relationship between the microbiome, environmental factors and human health, Wright joins Baylor and the Department of Biology – bringing along his highly funded lab – from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. He will provide leadership and promote cross-disciplinary research partnerships to address global challenges in biomedicine as part of our Health Initiative in Illuminate. Dr. Wright said he was motivated to come here by research opportunities with fellow faculty, as well as the integration of faith and scholarship, saying, “It became clear Baylor not only talks about this but embodies it.”

  • Congratulations to Baylor Regent Michael P. Heiskell (J.D. ’74), who was presented with the 2022 Baylor Lawyer of the Year award by the Baylor Law Alumni Association earlier today. Heiskell, who focuses his practice on criminal defense and representing civil rights litigants, is one of the three founding partners of the Fort Worth-based firm of Johnson, Vaughn & Heiskell, where he now serves as the senior attorney.

Some additional information of interest:

  • Career Day Fall 2022 for students in all majors – including arts and humanities – is next Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 2-7 p.m., centrally located at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. Students looking for internships and full-time positions can network and explore career opportunities with a record number of nearly 150 employers from industries from across the country. Register for Career Day through Handshake and make an appointment with the Career Center to prepare for this outstanding event and the next steps on your career journey.

  • Each year, Provost Nancy Brickhouse and I host a series of discussions spotlighting recent publications by Baylor faculty. We will kick off this season with our first installment in the Readers Meet the Author series with Jonathan Tran, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophical theology, The George W. Baines Chair of Religion and author of “Asian Americans and the Spirit of Racial Capitalism.” Come learn more about Dr. Tran’s work, have a conversation about big ideas and participate in a Q&A with the author next Friday, Sept. 23, from noon to 1 p.m. at Armstrong Browning Library’s Cox Reception Hall. Lunch will be served, and we ask that you register in advance.

  • Baylor Athletics has a special offer for faculty and staff to attend Saturday’s home football game against Texas State. With the code APPRECIATE, you can buy $40 stadium tickets or $20 berm tickets. Also, prior to the game, the Baylor Student-Athlete Center for Excellence will host a tailgate to celebrate its Academic Champions from 9-11 a.m.

  • Last Saturday I made a guest appearance on the BYU-TV Sports Nation GameDay show. We had a wonderful conversation about our new friendly, but competitive rivalry with BYU and the exciting future of the Big 12. After spending a week filming on the Baylor campus, BYU-TV debuted a feature of how we integrate faith into Athletics and across the University. There’s also a fun segment featuring both BYU and Baylor students. You can see the full show here.

Sic ’em, Bears!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


Photo of the Week - 15Sep22

Officially presenting Baylor University’s Class of 2026!