Communication means not only speaking and listening, but also writing, persuading, and knowing how to adapt communication to a specific audience. Success in life is greatly influenced by one’s ability to speak and write persuasively. All students at Baylor are required to complete courses in writing and speaking, and are expected to use these courses to strengthen their ability to communicate with elegance and power.
Critical reasoning is the ability to calculate accurately, evaluate evidence for truth and validity, justify conclusions with data, and reason through problems to arrive at solutions that are rooted in fact and truth. Science and mathematics requirements are designed to strengthen one’s ability to calculate, reason, and think critically. Many other courses, however, also nurture the ability to reason in both theoretic and practical ways. As significant as it is, the ability to reason must also be viewed within the context of community. At Baylor, we want students to learn to reason not just for themselves, but for the communities they serve.
Baylor graduates should become civic leaders in whatever field they enter. Civic leaders are the kind of people who can build consensus among diverse populations and then lead communities toward the ideals they uphold. Whether the profession is medicine, engineering, business, law, or teaching, communities need professionals who can provide civic leadership by placing the needs of communities above their own. The ideal of civic leadership is woven throughout Baylor’s curriculum, but it is particularly evident within social science and humanities courses. Baylor students are taught that they are acquiring knowledge not just for themselves, but also for the broader goal of building communities that flourish.
Baylor students have the opportunity to explore the subject of faith throughout their undergraduate experience, but one way in which Baylor promotes Christian perspective is through our core requirements. Chapel and two required religion courses have been part of Baylor's curriculum since the University's founding more than one hundred sixty-five years ago. Courses in Christian heritage and scripture provide students with the knowledge necessary to understand the Christian narrative, reflect on how this narrative has shaped human history, and consider how Christ’s message relates to each of us personally. These core requirements offer students the opportunity to grow in their faith and reflect on God’s calling for their lives.
The College of Arts & Sciences, the oldest and largest academic unit of Baylor University, retains central responsibility and leadership for the institution’s mission "to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community."
This commitment is realized primarily through two obligations. First, the College provides general education and electives for more than 12,000 undergraduates in eight of the University’s schools and colleges. Over one-fourth of the courses taken by undergraduates pursuing degrees outside of the College are taken within the College. Second, the College provides baccalaureate programs for over 6,500 undergraduate majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. Currently, the College offers over 75 undergraduate programs of study in 27 academic departments which house over 460 full-time faculty members and 144 staff members. The College awards over 1,300 baccalaureate degrees annually, approximately one-half of all undergraduate degrees.
By offering classes and degrees in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and selected professional areas, the College fulfills its principal obligation to provide liberal education to future leaders in America and the world. Students who are awarded degrees from the College meet the following competencies: knowledge of human culture and the natural world, intellectual and practical skills, individual and social responsibility, and integrative learning. Baylor was one of only 16 universities nationwide to receive an "A" from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in a report that gauges an institution’s commitment to liberal education. During the 2011 Strategic Planning Process of Baylor, one of the principle themes that emerged was liberal education and the core curriculum: "[t]he group documents voiced strong support for Baylor’s continued excellence in liberal education and enhancement of the Core Curriculum" with “the consensus opinion . . . that Baylor’s mission should not merely be to train but to educate the whole person."2 The engendering of liberally educated graduates who integrate faith-based commitments with civic engagement and community service, provide, perhaps, the nation’s best hope for the preservation and transformation of society, for the continuation of democratic processes which contribute to peace and justice, and for environmental preservation and sustainability in the 21st century. The stakes could not be higher for our nation and for our world.
The undergraduate enrollment goals and strategies of the College for the next 10 years are based on multiple vision proposals submitted in the spring of 2011, including those of by the Dean, academic departments, programs, and administrative offices. Strategic details rely on the experience and results of plans, programs, and best practices initiated and tested by the Retention Taskforce of the College of Arts & Sciences (2008-2012) in the areas of recruiting, freshmen engagement, sophomore engagement, transfer engagement, and suspensions.
The Retention Taskforce has met two of its three primary goals -- a four-year graduation rate of 54% (now at 59.5%) and a freshman retention rate of 86% (now at 85.5%). The committee has concluded that the College has now maximized its current resources and refined its best practices to full strategic advantage for undergraduate retention. Further improvement will only occur through major resource allocation and strategic internal restructuring.
1. Enroll a freshman population that includes 50% high-ability students.3
2. Retain 90% of freshmen.
3. Achieve an 82% six-year graduation rate.
The three goals support Aspirational Statement One of Baylor’s new strategic vision: Baylor will be a place where academic excellence and transformational educational experiences ignite leadership potential. "Over the course of our history, Baylor’s graduates have held leadership positions across a broad spectrum of fields including law, business, industry, the arts, education, religion, medicine, and public service."4 Baylor’s impact on the state and the world can be enhanced if the College of Arts & Sciences’ goals are met.
While the University fell short of its Vision 2012 objective to become a Top 50 institution by 2012, the goals which were achieved from 2002 to 2012 have provided a platform to propel the University into top tier status. A Top 50 ranking (based on U.S. News and World Report metrics) is achievable if the University is able to move forward on multiple fronts, but we cannot meet this goal without extending our achievements in what is often perceived as a major strength -- undergraduate education, particularly in the University’s largest academic unit -- the College of Arts & Sciences. More than 40 percent of the USNWR ranking is determined by measures of undergraduate education: freshman retention rate (4%), graduation rate (16%), graduation rate performance (7.5%) and student selectivity (15%).
While each strategic initiative moves us in measureable ways towards our goals, three initiatives are foundational to success:
(1) In concert with Admissions Services, shape the size and profile of the incoming A&S freshman class;
(2) Reorganize academic advisement in the College of Arts & Sciences; and
(3) Appoint a Director of Enrollment Management for A&S.
These three foundational initiatives support Aspirational Statement 5 of Baylor’s New Strategic Plan: Baylor will be a place where value generated by and derived from a Baylor experience is supported through a diversity of revenues and judicious stewardship of our resources. Specifically, we note the call to: "increase the degree to which the cost of a Baylor education is met by endowed scholarships, discover new sources of program support, and identify improvements in operational efficiencies."5
Without implementation and execution of these three initiatives, the College’s student quality, freshman retention rate, and graduation rates should still improve incrementally but our enrollment goals for 2022 will not be reached. If A&S enrollment goals are not met, it will not be possible for the University to reach Top 50 status as defined by US News and World Report by 2022.
Shape the size and profile of the incoming A&S freshman class.
By 2014, the College, in concert with Admissions Services, will shape the size and profile of the A&S freshman class.
Size. While the College’s 2011 undergraduate population, currently at 6,5146 is near capacity,7, some departments have limited ability to increase their undergraduate populations. Some, particularly the larger departments, are oversubscribed. For faculty to offer outstanding teaching and mentoring to undergraduates while engaged in research and creative productions, manageable course loads, class sizes, and advising loads must be maintained.8 Unplanned growth is just as detrimental to the College’s educational enterprise as abrupt declines in student population.
Profile. Guided by the unique needs and aspirations of each of its departments and programs, the College will advise and assist Admission Services in recruiting students who have the appropriate interests, compatibilities, and aptitudes for success in the College’s departments and programs. This effort will be leveraged as the College intensifies collaborative projects with Student Financial Services, Development, and the Provost Office to develop "boutique" scholarships (e.g., Baylor Squared Dual Admission Program, Baylor to Baylor Law Dual Admissions Program, Huebler Scholarship for Ministry Students in Religion, etc.) for targeted student populations for A&S departments and programs.
1. Reorganize academic advisement in the College of Arts & Sciences by 2014.
Present. The College reaffirms its current policy to determine the advisor of record for all A&S majors. The College also reaffirms its requirement for mandated advisement for all freshmen and sophomores.9
New Policy. Beginning in summer of 2014, A&S students will be assigned one professional advisor for their freshman and sophomore years and one faculty advisor for their junior and senior years.10
Exemptions. A&S Chairs or program directors may request an exemption to this policy. Exemptions may be granted by the Dean for up to three years at a time for departments or programs which wish to appoint their faculty advisors as advisors of record for their freshman and/or sophomores. It is the responsibility of the Dean’s Office to coordinate training, approve compensation, and monitor the quality of service of the faculty advisors who receive stipends.
Secondary Advisement. Many students have secondary advisement from ancillary programs (e.g., PreHealth Sciences, PreLaw Program, BIC, Honors, Student-Athlete Services, Academic Support, OALA). Where conflicting choices arise over course selection or sequencing, the advisor of record’s guidance should always be consulted and entered into UAS "Advise Notes."
2. Appoint a Director of Enrollment Management for A&S
By summer of 2013, appoint a director to coordinate recruitment, enrollment, retention, academic advisement, degree planning, and assessment. The director will coordinate all effort towards the achievement of the enrollment goals for 2022. A job description is included as an addendum.
Some of Baylor’s schools (e.g., School of Education and School of Computer Science and Engineering) already have professional staff positions dedicated to enrollment management. The size alone of the College would indicate a need for a full-time professional manager of this complex task.
Other Initiatives for Goal One (Size & Profile of Freshman Class):
1. Impose policies to manage enrollments in BIO and PSY/NSC beginning in fall 2013. Since one-third to one-half of freshmen declare a Pre-Health care intention, the departments of BIO and PSY/NSC are oversubscribed with majors.11 Nearly one-half of freshmen in A&S begin in BIO, CHE, and PSY/NSC. Data indicate that freshmen in these departments retain at a slightly lower rate than other students in A&S.12 Limiting enrollment in these majors to students who have a higher probability of success will have the following positive results: (1) students lacking the academic background for medical school and/or sciences will become aware of their academic aptitudes early in their academic careers, (2) less qualified pre-health care students may choose to attend other Universities, and (3) these departments will be better able to provide advising and mentoring services to those majors who remain.
2. Impose limits on enrollments in Medical Humanities by 2014.
3. Continue current policies of limited enrollment in THEA, ART, and MUS.
<4. By 2013, in concert with Admissions Services, determine the number of Summer Study students (formerly called provisional students) admitted to A&S.
5. Expand Baylor Squared Dual Admission Program: Currently, Baylor College of Medicine accepts four students a year into this early admissions option which allows students to advance to the Baylor College of Medicine upon graduation from Baylor University. Expand admissions to 15 by 2014. Host 150 HS seniors on campus each year to compete for these 15 scholarships. The enrollment yield on this event is currently 30%.
6. Begin Baylor to Baylor Law Dual Admissions Program. Establish an early admissions option with the Baylor Law School similar to the Baylor Squared Dual Admission Program. Initially, three scholarships would be offered beginning in fall 2012. By 2017 offer 10. Host 150 HS seniors on campus each year to compete for these scholarships. A 50% enrollment yield of students who compete would be a realistic goal; this would produce a net of 50 high-ability students.
7. Participating A&S departments, in concert with Spiritual Life, International Education, Development, and Admissions Services, will develop academic scholarships for rising sophomores participating in summer mission programs. Award scholarships to 100 high-ability high school seniors accepted to Baylor. The scholarship would be applied during summer following the successful completion of the freshman year. Scholarship includes full Baylor tuition for three hours of summer school, plus a $1,000 stipend for a Baylor-sponsored mission trip. Need approximately $2 million endowed monies to cover this.15 Not only would this program aid in recruiting high-ability students but should further freshmen retention.
8. Begin Baylor to Truett Dual Admissions Program. Establish scholarships and early seminary admissions program for high-ability ministry students by 2013.
9. Support and help facilitate the "secondary major" initiative of the Provost. Offering a catalogue of "secondary majors" is an important recruiting tool for high-ability students who have broad academic and vocational interests.
1. By 2013, review and revise A&S departmental job search strategies in order to promote the recruitment of underutilized minorities and women faculty and staff into hiring pools. Review and revise A&S departmental strategies to promote the retention of underrepresented minority and women faculty and staff. The fall 2011 minority undergraduate freshmen population in A&S is 37.86%, yet our full-time faculty minority population in A&S is 12.79% and our full-time minority staff population is 16.27%. Studies have shown that minority students retain at higher levels on campuses where there are comparable minority faculty and staff populations.[i] While it is unlawful to use "race" as a factor in hiring, a goal of increasing the number of minority candidates in applicant pools is legitimate and desirable.
2. In concert with New Student Programs, expand Summer Orientation with an emphasis on academic transition: (1) Offer Program-specific Line Camps (e.g., Pre-Med, Pre-Law, Ministry, BIOS [Biology Intensive Orientation for Students], Ministry) by 2014. (2) Offer STEM Bridge program for first generation and minority students in the sciences to introduce them to the rigor of college academics.16 (3) Offer scholarships for underrepresented students to attend Line Camp.
3. Maximize New Student Experience (NSE) courses by
4. Offering at least one FAS in all A&S departments by 2016. Some FASs (e.g., subs for REL 1350, ENG 1304 would be offered in the spring of the freshmen year).
5. Offering GESMOs (General Education section for Majors-only): ENG 1302, HIS 1305, JOU 1303, SPA 1401, PSC 1305, PSY 1305, and REL 1310. Course size would be capped at 30. Students would meet one extra hour per week with a student mentor to cover U1000 materials. (Note: these courses would need two student mentors to cover the 30 students.) Faculty would devote part of one class period to introduce students to the professional student organization for majors.
6. Offer bridge course in BIO similar to CHE 1300. Offer a pilot in 2014 and, if successful, expand by 2016.
1. By 2015, pre-register all A&S freshmen in 10 hours of core 1000-level courses required for any degree at the University before students arrive for summer orientation. Freshmen will be required to register for the following courses during their first semester: ENG 1302, REL 1310, a mathematics course (3 hr), an HP (1 hr), University 1000, and Chapel.17 Furthermore, there will be a recommendation that foreign language be started in the freshman year. Exceptions may be granted by the advisor of record with guidance from the Dean and Department Chairs.
2. Create a Degree Plan division of the A&S Advising office. A&S’s 1,700 juniors will be required to have one meeting with a planner during their junior year (fall or spring) by 2014-15 school year.18
3. Establish a Pre-Law Center by 2016.
4. Upgrade service provided by faculty advisors.
Addendum: Draft Job Description for Director of Enrollment Management, College of Arts and Sciences, March 28, 2012
Ad hoc Committee for Enrollment Management, College of Arts & Sciences members: Blake Burleson, Carrolle Kamperman, Viola Osborn, Frank Mathis, Rich Sanker, David Schlueter, Frank Shannon (ex officio), Sinda Vanderpool(ex officio), Dianna Vitanza, Chuck Weaver.
An Initiative for Second Majors
Baylor University Retention Study, Summer 2010
Biology Intensive Orientation for Students (BIOS)
College of Arts and Science Retention Plan, 2008-2012
Health Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences
New Student Experience Components
Prehealth Sciences Program Assessment Report
Proposal for Pre-Law Living-Learning Center
Recommendations, Retention of Underrepresented Student Group Ad Hoc Committee
Strategic Input Report, 2011 Baylor University Strategic Planning Process
Strategic Plan Proposal, Office of Prehealth Studies
Summary of A&S Departments Assessments of capacity
University Advising Proposal, College of Arts and Sciences (CASA)
"Vision Statement: College of Arts and Sciences" (includes appendices with Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences proposals)
1In 2011, Baylor is ranked 75.
2Synopsis of Group Documents Input, 2011 Strategic Planning Process, p. 9.
3High Ability students have an SAT comprehensive score >=1300 or an ACT comprehensive score >= 30. Based on the distribution of SAT total scores for first-time freshmen in Arts & Sciences for the fall of 2011, we estimate that if we can increase the percentage of high ability students to 50%, then the mean SAT score for the entire group will reach 1300.
4"Our New Strategic Plan: Draft," p. 2.
5"Our New Strategic Plan: Draft," p. 8.
6Fall 2011 figures.
7Summary of 2009 Survey of A&S Department Capacity. A&S enrollment (number of majors) in 2009 was 6,451. Departments estimated capacity at 6,607.
8Address enrollment in highly enrolled departments through targeted hiring, particularly permanent lecturers. In addition to limiting enrollment in these majors, the hiring of new faculty is essential. This is especially necessary given the large number of classes taught by senior tenured faculty. As they begin to retire, replacement tenure-track faculty will likely have teaching loads half that of the current faculty members, exacerbating problems over over-enrollment. Full-time lecturers would partially address current problems of class size while allowing new tenure-track faculty to establish and develop successful programs of research.
9These policies were established in 2006 by the A&S Dean: A&S departments determine the "advisor of record" for their majors; (2) Advising flags must be lifted by an authorized advisor before A&S freshmen and sophomores are allowed to register.
10This recommendation was from PreHealth Consulting Report and University Advising Proposal, College of Arts and Sciences (CASA).
11“Summary of A&S Assessment of Capacity
12The freshman retention rate in BIO, CHE/BIOCHEM, & PSY/NSC is 80% compared to the A&S average of 83%.
13Prerequisite change for CHE 1301, BIO 1305 and BIO 1306: "satisfactory performance on the ACT or SAT or completion of CHE 1300 and MTH 1304 with grade of B."
14Although the faculties of PSY/NSC have initiated their review of the precise criteria, these have not been finalized as of February, 2012.
15Assumes a 5% yield.
[i]See for example: Easton, J, & Guskey, T. (1983). Estimating the effects of college, department, course, and teacher on course completion rates. Research in Higher Education, 19, 153-158; Gudeman, R. H. (2000). College missions, faculty teaching, and student outcomes in a context of low diversity. In Does diversity make a difference? Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms. Washington, DC: American Council on Education and American Association of University Professors; Marin, P. (2000). The educational possibility of multi-racial/multi-ethnic college classrooms. In Does diversity make a difference? Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms. Washington, DC: American Council on Education and American Association of University Professors; Maruyma, G. and Moreno, J. F. (2000). University faculty views about the value of diversity on campus and in the classroom. In Does diversity make a difference? Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms. Washington, DC: American Council on Education and American Association of University professors; Milem, J. F. (1999, January). The importance of faculty diversity to student learning and the mission of higher education. Paper presented at A Symposium and Working Research Meeting on Diversity and Affirmative Action, American Council on Education, Washington, DC; Milem, J. F., & Hakuta, K. (2000). The Benefits of racial and ethnic diversity in higher education. In D. J. Wilds (Ed.), Minorities in higher education, 1999-2000 (pp. 39-67). Washington, DC: American Council on Education; Milem, J. F. (20030. The educational benefits of diversity: Evidence from multiple sectors. In M. J. Chang, D. Wit, J. Jones, & K. Hakuta (Eds.), Compelling interest: Examining the evidence on racial dynamics in higher education (pp. 126-169). Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
16Recommendations, Ad Hoc Committee on Retention of Underrepresented Student Group.
17Note: advisors will schedule U1000 or NSE equivalent during the advising session during Orientation.
18The name of the current Degree Plan Office in A&S would change to the Graduation Office, reflecting its purview.
1. Compile comparison data on core curricula from the following institutions:
2. Answer the following questions: