A&Spire at a Glance
• Aspirational Statement and Preface
• Theme 1: Advancing Liberal Education in the 21st Century
• Theme 2: Becoming a Nationally Recognized Research Institution
• Theme 3: Strengthening Community Engagement
• Theme 4: Investing in the Health Sciences
• Theme 5: Building the Financial Foundation
• Summary of Acts of Determination
Theme 1 Acts of Determination
• AOD 1--Evaluating the Strength of the Four Cs in the Core Curriculum
• AOD 2--Implementing the 10-Year Enrollment Management Plan
• AOD 3--Investing in Teaching
• AOD 4--Developing Strategies for Engaged Learning and Merit Scholarships
• AOD 5--Assessing the Structure and Function of the Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum
A liberal education requires a thorough grounding in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences. It illuminates the connections unifying the modes of inquiry characteristic of each discipline and provides the foundation for students to acquire wisdom. A liberal education will help students to become better citizens, better professionals, and better family members and friends. While recognizing that teaching, research, and service are all crucial to the fabric of Arts & Sciences, and that any one of these without the other two weakens our mission, we affirm that undergraduate education has traditionally been and remains central to the identity and purpose of Baylor University. Within this culture of learning, therefore, we affirm our commitment to an undergraduate core curriculum and experiential learning opportunities that embody the aims and practices of liberal learning.
We will ensure that the Arts & Sciences core curriculum aligns with the four Core Competencies -- Communication, Critical Thinking, Civic Leadership, and Christian Perspective -- identified by the University General Education Committee (refer to Appendix 1A).
In May of 2012 the Council of Chairs in Arts & Sciences adopted a 10-Year Enrollment Management Plan, which states that by the year 2022 we will achieve a six-year graduation rate of 82 percent, a freshman retention rate of more than 90 percent, and a freshman class consisting of 50 percent high-ability students. If met, these enrollment management goals will substantially increase Baylor’s ranking in U.S. News & World Report. While Baylor is currently ranked No. 77, our goal is to enter the top 50. Specifics for the implementation of this plan are presented in Appendix 1B.
As the landscape of higher education continues to shift, faculty must have appropriate technology to implement cutting-edge pedagogies. Faculty members will assess these choices strategically in light of Baylor’s goals and the traditional emphasis on student-faculty interaction, both in students’ majors and in general education courses.
Recruiting and retaining high-ability students is fundamental to Baylor’s strategic vision. Arts & Sciences guides and supports engaged learning activities in ways that enhance our academic programs. Thus far, we have done so primarily through workshops and presentations made on behalf of educating high-ability students and their departmental leaders regarding national and international scholarships. Such competitions demand that students become involved in intense engaged learning activities throughout Arts & Sciences, with the resulting self-awareness and leadership skills that enable students to be competitive for these prestigious awards. Another key component of this initiative is faculty mentoring, including supervision and engagement of undergraduate students in thesis writing or independent research, as appropriate.
The first four Acts of Determination of Theme 1 are immediate steps that will improve the delivery of a liberal education and the impact that our graduates have on the world. Faculty agree that these initial steps are desirable and achievable and may be attained through interdisciplinary collaboration. This AOD entails an assessment of the core curriculum, which requires a considerable commitment of time and resources. Following this assessment, the faculty may recommend whether restructuring is needed.