Biology Professor Appointed Director Of Baylor's Honors Program

April 1, 2004

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. has announced the appointment of Dr. F. Ray Wilson II, professor of biology and Master Teacher, as director of the Honors Program, effective June 1.

"As a Baylor faculty member with a reputation for excellence in teaching, Dr. Wilson will bring his infectious enthusiasm for Baylor and its students to his new post as director of the Honors Program," said Dr. Thomas S. Hibbs, dean of the Honors College. "Dr. Wilson's guidance and advice will prove especially fruitful in these early stages of the development of the Honors College."

Two years ago, Baylor established the Honors College, which was one of the first major academic initiatives to be implemented as part of Baylor 2012, the university's 10-year vision. The Honors College brings together four innovative interdisciplinary undergraduate programs: the Honors Program, University Scholars, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and Great Texts. Created in 1959, the Honors Program supplements traditional degree requirements and majors in all departments and schools of the university by offering more challenging classes, encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to learning and providing opportunities for students to pursue independent study and research with individual faculty mentors.

During his three decades at Baylor, Wilson has mentored hundreds of students pursuing graduate degrees in the sciences, while also directing countless undergraduate honors theses.

"I have devoted my life at Baylor University to working with premed and honors students. Now I have the opportunity to interact with all of the honors students from the beginning of their academic careers," Wilson said. "A lot of times during that first year, bright premed students don't opt for the Honors Program because they did not know how it would help them. I will do my best to get them fired up."

A 1966 graduate of Texas Wesleyan University, Wilson earned his master's degree in biology from Texas Christian University in 1969 and his doctorate in physiology and biophysics from the University of Illinois in 1973. That year, Wilson joined the Baylor faculty as an assistant professor of biology and was named full professor in 1989.

Wilson has been honored with numerous teaching awards, including his selection by the 1997 senior class as the Collins Outstanding Professor. He also has been honored seven times by Mortar Board as "Top Professor" and named to the academic honor society's Circle of Achievement for Outstanding Professors eight times. In November 2003, he was designated as Master Teacher, the highest honor granted to Baylor faculty members.

"As it begins to determine its role in the wider academic culture of Baylor, the Honors College will need to discover creative ways to interact with, and build upon the academic excellence of, the sciences and the professional schools. As a biologist, Dr. Wilson is in an ideal position to help us in this very important task," Hibbs said.

Wilson has served as a member of the Baylor Faculty Senate and on many university committees, including the University Tenure Committee from 1997-99 and the Arts and Sciences science facilities planning committee in 1999. He currently chairs the faculty advisory committee for student life and serves as co-director of the summer study aboard program, Baylor in Great Britain. Fully involved in the life of Baylor, Wilson also has served on committees involving biology scholarship and awards, summer orientation, Welcome Week, BaylorPlus, United Way and Diadeloso. He is a member of Highland Baptist Church and on the board of advisers for Young Life.

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