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Prospective Member Commitment Document

Brooks College offers a unique learning context and a tradition-rich, community-oriented way of life. To help determine which applicants will be accepted for the upcoming year, we invite prospective college members to indicate the collegiate activities to which they are committed.

The following information supplements the details on the document so that prospective members have as clear and full a picture of what an engaged collegiate way of life entails in our special living-learning community.

ACADEMIC

Three specially designed academic courses are available for incoming students. Limited to Brooks College members only, the courses fulfill a variety of degree plan needs while offering students an opportunity to learn alongside fellow college members. College-specific courses enhance and enrich student learning, and they embody best practices for strengthening first-year success.

Professors teaching college-specific courses relate their classes to the aims, identity, architecture, traditions, and other aspects of life in Brooks College. They also engage students outside of the classroom through co-curricular college activities such as dining in the Great Hall, attending services in Robbins Chapel, and participating in college teas.

Courses available during the Fall 2011 semester include:

ENG 1302 Thinking and Writing
Day/Time: MWF 8:00-8:50 a.m.

Taught by Michael Crews, a Ph.D. candidate in Baylor’s Department of English, ENG 1302 helps you better understand English grammar, rhetoric, and usage for correct and effective writing. Life in Brooks College--with its distinctive aspirations, community bonds, and traditions—provides many resources for the essay assignments used in the course to develop your capacity for logical thought and artful expression.

GTX 1301 Introduction to Great Texts
Day/Time: TuTh 8:00-9:15 a.m.

Taught by Dr. Douglas Henry, master of Brooks College and associate professor of philosophy, GTX 1301 introduces first-year students to the great books by exploring a carefully selected, thematically unified set of significant works. Topics may include the nature of happiness, the quests of heroes and martyrs, modes of love and suffering, images of death and dying, or stories of gods and God.

PHI 1308 Introduction to Ethics
Day/Time: TuTh 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Taught by Dr. Michael Beaty, chair and professor of philosophy, this course is designed for first-year members of Brooks Residential College. In it we will explore philosophical issues related to the moral, social, and political dimensions of our lives. Its aim is to offer students a thoughtful understanding of how to live human life well. We will give special attention to virtues and practices that lie at the heart of our highest flourishing--as human beings, as friends, and as communities. A distinctive feature of the course is combining the study of key philosophical texts with reflection upon the aspirations and practices of Brooks College. In so doing, the course will bridge the gap between theory and practice.   Among the particular virtues examined in the course are the cardinal virtues (prudence, courage, temperance and justice), and some specifically Christian virtues (e.g., faith, hope, love, generosity, humility, patience). Morally significant practices explored in the course include friendship, hospitality, and intentional community building.


 SOCIAL

The collegiate way of life involves togetherness, mutual interdependence, esprit de corps—call it whatever you will, but presence to, with, and for one another is essential. Two central, weekly fixtures in our collegiate way of life are our Sunday College Dinner and our Tuesday College Tea.

Sunday College Dinner. The breaking of bread together is the most universal human experience of community and one of the oldest traditions of the Christian church. Every Sunday evening from 6-7 p.m. the members of the College gather in the Great Hall for a special meal that stands at the heart of our residential college life, It is served family-style in order to help us develop and experience a deeper sense of community and mutual interdependence. Members of the college, regardless of classification, are required to have a meal plan to facilitate this communal aspect of the collegiate experience.

Tuesday College Tea. Our weekly Tuesday afternoon college tea is held from 4-5 p.m. in the master's residence, the collegiate home of our master and associate master, Drs. Douglas and Michele Henry. Tea time always features light refreshments and often features distinguished authors, civic leaders, professionals, or scholars who educate and inspire us. Recent guests have included Virginia DuPuy (mayor of Waco), Michael O’Brien (Canadian painter and novelist), Marilynne Robinson (Pulitzer Prize-winning author), and Kenneth Starr (president of Baylor University).

SPIRITUAL

Beautiful Robbins Chapel features services of prayer each weekday morning and evening. In short services of 10-15 minutes, we emphasize the hearing and praying of the Psalms, the stilling of our bodies and the quietness of our spirits before God, and the joining of our hearts and voices in the Lord's Prayer.

We follow an ecumenical order of Christian prayer prepared for our community in the form of a small printed prayer book. High church Anglicans, non-denominational evangelicals, cradle Catholics, and Bible-belt Baptists all find our shared prayers together to be a welcome means of deepening faith and fellowship. Morning prayer is 9-9:15 and evening prayer is 10-10:15 p.m.

LEADERSHIP

Our college thrives insofar as each member contributes his or her unique enthusiasm, gifts, skills, and vision for the sake of our shared life. So many opportunities for leadership and service abound that it is best to explore them by looking here and here for additional information.

RETREAT

Convened over the first or second weekend after fall classes begin, our college retreats (typically involving two halls on an overnight experience together) are designed to introduce new college members to old college members, inaugurate and sustain, meaningful friendships, develop a sense of shared identity, and simply have fun.

Past retreat participants have identified them among the experiences they especially treasure during their first few weeks at Baylor. Retreats have taken place in quaint bed and breakfast locales, in scenic campground environs, and even at Baylor’s familiar challenge course setting at the Eastland Lakes Retreat Center.