Presidential Perspective - November 9, 2023
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
While Waco is certainly not on the fall color tour, I have noticed in the past few days that some of our trees are beginning to have glimpses of yellow, orange and rust. What a wonderful reminder of the changing season as we move toward Thanksgiving and Christmas! The Thanksgiving holiday is a favorite time for my family, and I can’t believe it is only two weeks away. The family gatherings and good food, pumpkin pie and football games all combine for a wonderful time to relax and enjoy.
It's so easy to think about Thanksgiving as simply a one-day event from which we quickly move to all things Christmas. This year, I want to encourage all of us to slow down, truly be thankful and express our gratitude to God and to the people who impact our lives. Over the course of the next two weeks, you’ll see a Baylor emphasis on celebrating this Thanksgiving season with a thankful heart. As you have opportunity, I hope you will join in these acts of thanksgiving and that doing so brings new meaning to the Thanksgiving holiday for you and your family.
Some updates for this week:
- NEW LAW DEAN: Please join me in congratulating Professor Jeremy Counseller, J.D., The Abner V. McCall Chair of Evidence Law at Baylor Law School, on his selection as dean, effective July 1, 2024. As a Baylor Law graduate and longtime faculty member, Professor Counseller understands the special characteristics that have made our law school so successful, from its focus on practitioners and litigation to exacting standards in preparing students for the Bar exam and advocacy callings. I look forward to supporting him as he not only works to maintain those “Baylor Law Distinctives,” but also as he leads our law school into the future, fully aligned with Baylor’s Christian mission to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service.
- EXCELLENCE IN COMPLIANCE AND ETHICS: As a Christian university, it is natural for Baylor to pursue excellence in scholarship and research, but also in the application of high ethical standards to that work. This week is National Compliance and Ethics Week, and I'm grateful to all Baylor faculty who are dedicated to compliance and ethical approaches in their research. I'm likewise appreciative to Baylor's Office of the Vice Provost for Research for their efforts to enhance research infrastructure and resources, such as the new online system, Compliance and Research Administration (CARA), which debuted this year. Our faithfulness in these areas matters, and I look forward to Baylor’s continued growth and leadership in conversations surrounding research compliance and ethics.
- FIRST IN LINE: Yesterday, our First in Line program led a celebration of national First-Gen Student Day, a recognition of the incredible journey of our students who are the first in their families to attend college. Over the past four years, about 17-18% of incoming freshmen have been First-Gen students. These young men and women show incredible determination and are blazing new trails for their families. Our first-generation students inspire us with their tenacity and commitment to achieving their dreams.
- BOWLING ALONE: In 2000, political scientist Robert Putnam released his groundbreaking book, “Bowling Alone,” about America's decades-long decline in community connections and its impact on our democracy. Given the state of civil discourse in our world today, Baylor and community partners have joined together to screen a new documentary about Putnam’s seminal book called “Join or Die,” why you should join a club – and why the fate of America depends on it. The film will be shown Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fudge Family Auditorium in the Hurd Welc0me Center. After the screening, the film’s directors will take part in a Q&A and talkback with faculty from Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion and Truett Seminary, moderated by Baylor film alumnus Christian Oliveira, B.A. ’16, M.A. ’19. Tickets are free and available here.
- ADOPTION BENEFITS RECOGNITION: Baylor’s parental leave and adoption assistance benefits, including for foster care, align with our Christian mission and reflect our deep commitment to supporting and strengthening families and their capacity to flourish. We learned yesterday that Baylor has been recognized by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption as one of the nation’s top education institutions offering robust adoption benefits On Nov. 14, Baylor Human Resources will host an Adoption and Foster Seminar from 6 to 8 p.m. in Foster 107 or via Zoom. Baylor employees can register here for the seminar, which provides information about adoption and foster care processes and the University’s adoption assistance benefits.
- WBB AIMS FOR RECORD: A Top-20 matchup is coming to the Ferrell Center on Tuesday, Nov. 14, as the Baylor women’s basketball team hosts No. 5 Utah for Eras Night at 6:30 p.m. The Bears are looking to break the student attendance record and will have Eras Tour (Baylor Women’s Basketball Version) T-shirts for the first 1,000 students in attendance, as well as student giveaways every quarter break. All fans in attendance are encouraged to wear their best Taylor Swift-inspired costume to the game.
- FOSTER PAVILION TICKETS: As we plan for the opening of the new Foster Pavilion this January, there is great excitement and energy amongst our teams and the Baylor Family. Season-ticket sales indicate the number of complimentary faculty and staff walk-up tickets available for men’s basketball games in the Foster Pavilion will be limited – and potentially unavailable for marquee games. In response, Baylor Athletics is offering faculty and staff an additional opportunity to purchase season tickets at a discount. A limited number of tickets are available, starting at $600, with a minimum contribution to the Baylor Bear Foundation of $150. In addition, Baylor faculty and staff receive a discount of 20% on a maximum of two season tickets. Visit the Baylor Ticket Office at the Ferrell Center or call 254-710-1000. The deadline for faculty and staff to purchase is Nov. 15.
Please remember to take care of yourself mentally and physically as we near the end of the semester!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Baylor faculty and students celebrated National STEM Day yesterday by taking their research out into local schools for hands-on interactions with students from 4th grade to high school. This week’s picture of the week is a video compilation of STEM Day activities. Thank you to all who planned and participated in this meaningful engagement in our community.