Presidential Perspective - September 28, 2023
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
I am excited to share with you that Baylor will be the host site for the 2024 Collegiate Day of Prayer on Thursday, Feb. 29. The annual event is an evening worship and prayer service focused on college students and live streamed around the world. Many churches and pastors across Waco have already committed to supporting this special moment for the University and the city. We will have more information soon for students about how you can be inside Waco Hall (or a simulcast location) during the broadcast, as well as for the rest of the Baylor Family about how you can pray before, during and after the event. Go ahead and mark your calendars!
Some updates for this week …
- FALL ENROLLMENT: Baylor’s official fall enrollment was released yesterday with an overall population at 20,824 students, headlined by rising diversity, retention and graduation rates, as well as growing graduate and professional programs, including online programs. You will notice a slightly reduced undergraduate enrollment of 15,155 students, which aligns with our Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) plan of intentionally cycling down to an undergraduate enrollment of around 14,500 students. We will be monitoring our undergraduate enrollment and financial budgets closely over the next few years as the two large “COVID classes” reach graduation and we work campuswide to reach our overall enrollment targets.
- CELEBRATING HISPANIC HERITAGE: Hispanic Heritage Month is observed each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, and we at Baylor have been celebrating the rich heritage of Hispanic and Latino Americans across our campus. I invite you all to explore the calendar of events and join in the festivities and conversations as we develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of others to strengthen our Baylor Family through celebrations of our diversity.
- STRATEGIC PLANNING UPDATE: Our Strategic Planning Group will continue to host listening sessions across campus through early November, but this week, they passed the halfway point in completing the 90-plus listening sessions scheduled. Thank you to all who have given and will give of your time to participate in this important first step in the University’s strategic planning process. In addition, beginning this Monday, Oct. 2, the Strategic Planning Input Survey will open to all faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and friends of the University. This survey will collect your feedback around the same four questions that have been used in the listening sessions. You will find the survey on the Strategic Planning website.
- CIVIC INNOVATION CHALLENGE: Baylor researchers have advanced to stage 2 of the Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC), a national research and action competition that flips the community-university dynamic by inviting civic leaders to identify priorities ripe for innovation and then partner with universities to develop community-driven solutions. Thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, in partnership with Department of Energy, the Baylor team – led by Principal Investigator Lulin Jiang, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering – is partnering with the City of Waco to pilot a climate-smart multi-fuel combustor that transforms local waste with minimal processing into ultra-clean energy. This pilot combustor can be scaled up for various heat and power platforms and transferred to other cities, creating a cleaner and more sustainable society overall.
- WORK ZONE AHEAD: Next week we will see the ramping up of pre-construction activities ahead of widening University Parks Drive from La Salle Avenue/Hwy 77 to Loop 340/Hwy 6, an area that includes several off-campus student apartment complexes. This is a priority project to improve safety and mobility by widening the road, adding a middle turn lane and installing pedestrian ramps, crosswalks and street lighting. Also in the current plan is the addition of a traffic signal at the busy Third Street and La Salle Avenue intersection. We expect construction to last 12 months with much of the work planned to occur at night. We will keep you updated with any developments as this important road work begins.
Our first non-home football weekend of the semester – Be sure to catch up on sleep and studying!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of Baylor’s Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir, which has blessed the Baylor Family through many concerts, services and events throughout the years.