Guided by input from thousands of members of the Baylor family, university leaders continue to carry forward the process of creating the institution's next strategic plan, a document that will develop Baylor's direction over the next decade or more.
After five months of input from individuals all over the country, a committee of Baylor faculty, students and staff (more than half of them BU graduates) spent the spring summarizing the feedback received between December and April. The resulting report was presented to President Ken Starr and Baylor's Executive Council in June.
The committee, chaired by Hankamer School of Business professor Dr. Mitchell Neubert, dug into the responses from the 19 Community Input Sessions (representing more than 725 attendees), 299 individual submissions and 165 group documents (collected from faculty, staff and student groups).
Over time, 12 major themes emerged from the responses, focused on issues such as Baylor's Christian identity, approach to education, finances and affordability, community and alumni engagement, and facilities.
"We tried to go into this without any preconceived ideas about particular themes, instead allowing them to emerge from the data," said Neubert. "Three different subgroups of our committee suggested themes based on what they saw in the responses, and then the committee as a whole met to boil those down to the final 12."
A clear consensus arose in many areas, such as the distinctive nature of Baylor's Christian identity, support for expanded learning in global contexts, the importance of service, and the need to depend more on the endowment than on tuition for funding.
On other topics, responders raised difficult questions and important issues. Would distance learning engage more students or detract from Baylor's campus spirit? How does Baylor balance the growing research interest with its historic emphasis and personal approach to educating the whole person?
The 117-page report explains further how the committee approached its work and goes into great detail on each of the 12 major themes, breaking down respondent answers and even including sample input quoted verbatim.
Based on this data, Judge Starr, Provost Elizabeth Davis, BBA '84, and other members of the Executive Council are now in the process of together writing a first draft of the university's strategic plan. That draft will be presented to the Board of Regents at Homecoming, and once approved by the Board will be released to the Baylor community for additional feedback.
The report referenced can be read online at www.baylor.edu/strategicplan/inputreport.