Presidential Perspective - November 2, 2023

November 2, 2023

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

It’s hard to believe that almost two years have passed since we celebrated our attainment of Research 1 (R1) status. This designation has proven to be a springboard to even greater research growth since then, and Baylor will remain a strong R1 institution, even as metrics change.

You may have seen this week that the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is simplifying its R1 metrics in a Chronicle of Higher Education article. Rest assured, Baylor remains firmly among the R1 institutions amidst these changes. A table within the article used old data from FY2021 to project rankings beyond 2025, giving the impression the University might be in danger of losing our R1 ranking. Nothing could be further from the truth. Baylor has enjoyed steep annual research growth since that time, and our current numbers — $82.5 million in research expenditures and 227 research doctorates awarded — elevate Baylor well above the updated R1 thresholds, both in the current year and as a three-year average.

We will remain R1 well into the future, and I’m grateful to all of you whose hard work has elevated Baylor research in such a short time. This gives us the confidence to go forward boldly in our strategic planning efforts and look far beyond minimum R1 standards toward a higher purpose — to positively impact our world as a preeminent Christian research university.

Some updates for this week:

  • NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH:Every November, I look forward to joining all of you in celebrating Native American heritage and culture – even as we learn about and appreciate our own history with Native Peoples. This year, the Mayborn Museum is focusing on Native storytelling, and several activities are planned, including a community conversation with President Terri Parton and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. In addition, there are many unique opportunities for students through our Creative Arts Experience (CAE) program. Whether you are interested in art, music, theatre, film or literature, CAE organizers have something scheduled that you will enjoy.

  • COMPELLING PREACHING INITIATIVE:Baylor and Truett Seminary have received a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of its Compelling Preaching Initiative, which fosters and supports preaching that inspires, encourages and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully. This generous grant will enable Truett Seminary and the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching to address rapid demographic changes and equip intercultural churches with aspiring and active preachers. In addition, congratulations to Jared E. Alcántara, Ph.D., The Paul W. Powell Endowed Chair in Preaching, who will succeed Dr. Joel Gregory as director of the Kyle Lake Center beginning in 2024. 

  • SALUTE TO SERVICE/F&S APPRECIATION: Mark your calendars for 2:30 p.m. Saturday in McLane Stadium! Not only will Baylor football meet up with its third new member of the Big 12 in the University of Houston, but it’s also our annual Salute to Service and Faculty & Staff Appreciation game. It’s a White-out game, too, so wear white in honor of the men and women serving in our Armed Forces.

    Baylor Athletics recognizes the impact our faculty and staff have on our students, including student-athletes. In appreciation, you are invited to the annual SACE Tailgate on Saturday, beginning at noon at the Mattson Tent outside of McLane Stadium. This FREE tailgate is co-sponsored by the Baylor Black Faculty & Staff Association. RSVP by Friday at 3 p.m. You also can purchase special $15 game tickets using the Promo Code: THANKYOU. Sic ’em, Baylor faculty and staff!

  • NATIONAL STEM DAY: Next Wednesday is National STEM Day – a day to highlight STEM opportunities and spark interest among young students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is a day in which Baylor shines! Next week, faculty and students will share hands-on science presentations at local elementary, middle and high schools, making the STEM fields come alive for children in Waco ISD, Transformation Waco and Connally ISD schools. It’s an honor to partner throughout the community and encourage the next generation of STEM leaders.

    Additionally, Baylor is offering a cool STEM Day activity for teachers, students and families to enjoy – a battery circuit card that allows students to illuminate a number of Baylor scenes. Last week, we mailed dozens to Baylor alumni teachers across the country, who overwhelmingly responded to the project, and it’s available for the entire Baylor Family. Downloadable cards and detailed instructions are available online for students and families to enjoy together. Happy National STEM Day from Baylor!

See you at McLane on Saturday. The weather forecast looks incredible this weekend!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


It was a day late, but the Homecoming 2023 bonfire was lit on Fountain Mall Saturday night.