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The Convergence of Research and Institutional Mission: A Faculty Perspective

Owen Lind, Professor of Biology

In "The Convergence of Research and Institutional Mission: A Faculty Perspective," Owen Lind traces the evolution of research and scholarly expectations of Baylor faculty members over the past forty years, roughly the timeframe of Lind's career at Baylor. He notes three distinct phases in the evolutionary process: the McCall years, a period when research was neglected; the Reynolds years, a period when research was encouraged; and the Sloan years, a period when research has become a requirement. Lind applauds the Sloan years, excited that his own calling as a research scientist and the Baylor 2012 vision for scholarship have finally met in their "converging journeys." However, Lind argues that, given the anti-religious bias in most scientific fields, if we are to be successful in achieving the aspirations of our vision, the religious requirements for hiring, especially as applied to scientists, need to be somewhat relaxed, without our abandoning the worthy goal of "building a world-class community of scholars who are Christian."

Excerpt

... If we accept the idea that the transmission of knowledge developed through "scholarship with a Christian perspective" describes Baylor's mission, then I again affirm that that mission has not changed during my years here. No, I do not think the mission has changed, but the interpretation, the emphasis, and the proclamation have continually changed, in my opinion, for the better. In the following, I describe and comment on these changes (primarily scholarship) as perceived by this scientist. For convenience I sequence my historical remarks in three periods corresponding to the tenure of Baylor's presidents-the McCall years, the Reynolds years, and the Sloan years, although I think the continuity and the trend-lines are more important than any single and obvious difference in the manner by which each of the presidents approached the mission. To refer to a "scholarship discouraged, encouraged, expected" sequence as some have, while convenient and reasonably accurate, is overly simplistic.




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