Baylor's Collins Outstanding Professor Shows Authentic Leadership

April 20, 2012
Blair Browning, Ph.D.Blair Browning, Ph.D., assistant professor in Baylor's department of communication studies, will present the Collins Outstanding Professor Award Lecture at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in Room 101 of Castellaw Communications Center, 219 Baylor Ave.

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WACO, Texas (April 20, 2012) - Every spring since 1994, Baylor University's graduating class has selected one outstanding Baylor professor, and this year's star is Blair Browning, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication studies.

As a recipient, Browning will present a special lecture entitled "Authentic Leadership: How Critical Life Events Act as Catalysts for Change" at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in Room 101 of Castellaw Communications Center, 219 Baylor Ave., on Baylor's campus.

Browning, who earned a bachelor's of business administration and a master's in organization communication at Baylor before receiving a Ph.D. in organizational communication from Texas A&M University, said he "stumbled" into teaching and found it to be a perfect fit.

"I was finishing my master's when I had an interview for a management leadership position with Dell, and one of the faculty members (in communication studies) asked what I was doing in the fall and asked me to teach under a one-year contract," Browning said. "My wife Jordan was a junior then, so one year was perfect. It went well and I was offered another contract, and it went from there. Teaching was not an intentional pursuit, and yet I very quickly realized that it was an unbelievable fit and that I absolutely loved the interactive relationships with students. I'm so thankful that the Lord provided that initial opportunity."

After earning a doctorate during his 13 years of teaching at Baylor, Browning moved from a lecturer position to a full-time assistant professor teaching classes such as Conflict and Communication and Leadership and Communication.

"I enjoy fostering an environment in which the students are excited to come to class," Browning said. "They know that they're valued, and their opinions are valued. Having students who both sharpen and challenge me and having students wanting to be sharpened and challenged, how could you not love it?"

Browning was still a student when the Collins Outstanding Professor award first began, and he said he was honored by the senior class when he first heard the news.

"I was ecstatic," Browning said. "I look at that list and it's the hall of famers at Baylor. I know almost all these people and being mentioned with them is an incredible honor, and when I see the list I can't help but be humbled and grateful to the senior class. I would rather be honored by students, because that's why I do what I do."

Browning said he hopes to continue teaching at Baylor for years to come since the experience has been a continual blessing for him and his family.

"What a joy it is to be teaching at my alma mater; every day I feel blessed to be at Baylor and I've felt that way since I stepped foot on the campus as a high school junior when I was a prospective student. Jordan graduated from Baylor in 2000 and we always joke our kids will be in the classes of 2027, 2030 and 2033," Browning said. "We love Baylor and we are daily thankful for our university and what it represents. It's a dream job, and I'm exactly where I want to be."

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

by Carmen Galvan, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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