Aspirational Statement One: Baylor will be a place... where academic excellence and transformational educational experiences ignite leadership potential, increasing our students' desire for wisdom, understanding of calling, and preparation for service in an interconnected global society.
Baylor has established a long tradition of excellence in undergraduate education in the liberal arts and in its professional schools. In addition, Baylor has made a significant impact in its areas of strength in graduate studies and post-baccalaureate professional education. During the last decade, we have enhanced academic opportunities for undergraduates in many ways, including the establishment of an Honors College, the creation of a School of Social Work, and the strengthening of our faculty ranks in size, breadth, and quality. Our graduate school has grown with the addition of forty-two PhD and masters programs, many of which already have achieved recognition with respect to research productivity and student placement. We are now in a position to build upon those strengths and to make significant new strides in the sciences and engineering. All of these pursuits must be undergirded by attention to the effective recruitment and retention of students, coupled with scrupulous care for the development of competencies that they will need to succeed and flourish in the twenty-first century. Therefore, in OUR NEW STRATEGIC PLAN, we aim to:
- Continue to attract, retain, and reward outstanding faculty who build on our rich tradition of outstanding teaching, mentoring, scholarship, and service;
- Recruit, retain, and graduate an academically excellent and culturally diverse student body;
- Deepen our excellence in the liberal arts, enhance the undergraduate core curriculum, and expand our interdisciplinary opportunities;
- Continue to support and cultivate excellence in undergraduate and graduate professional programs;
- Enhance the integration of faith and learning in undergraduate and graduate educational experiences;
- Approve new graduate programs that strategically build on existing strengths within departments and schools;
- Emphasize academic programs within the health sciences;
- Increase our funding and support of academic programs in science and engineering; and
- Utilize technology strategically and selectively to enhance the University's learning environment and educational offerings.
Leadership and Experiential Learning
We understand leadership as one's ability to influence others while maintaining a commitment to doing what is right and what is best, even in the face of competing priorities. 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. Other graduates have chosen to live out their calling in contexts that are not typically associated with leadership, but for which the qualities possessed by strong leaders are still valuable and relevant. We will continue to graduate students who are prepared and committed to impact the world through intercultural understanding and ethical and compassionate service to others.Our students' educational experiences must connect their academic and creative strengths to a world beyond the classroom. In particular, students should be inspired to connect their classroom learning to experiential opportunities that help them view their education as a whole that ties together reflection and action in a meaningful way. Experiential learning opportunities strengthen liberal and professional education; they also develop Baylor students into leaders who can resolve challenging problems in our state, nation, and world. To achieve these aims, we will:
- Build a robust and coordinated set of activities and programs that help all students navigate the path from matriculation to their initial and future vocations;
- Enhance programming to help students develop as ethical leaders;
- Increase opportunities for students to engage in research with faculty;
- Strengthen and support experiential learning programs that foster the development of the mind, body, and spirit (e.g., internships, service-learning courses, discipline-specific mission trips, and student organization involvement); and
- Increase opportunities for students to develop cultural competency through studying abroad and engaging locally.
Student Life Programming
The heart of the Baylor experience rests in the communion of ideas, experiences, and relationships that develop on campus. Student life has long been a vibrant part of the Baylor experience, and many developmental moments and fond memories for our alumni have occurred as a result of student life programming. The transformation that occurs in the residential facilities, on the intramural fields, and within student organizations is a fundamental component of the educational experience. This transformation promotes an interconnectedness through which friendships form, trust is cultivated, and understanding and respect transcend cultural and socioeconomic boundaries.During the past decade, stronger, more coordinated ties between student life and academic affairs have been forged to create a more holistic experience for students. Perhaps most visible among our initiatives has been the creation of several living and learning communities and two residential colleges in which faculty live among students in a community that is bound together by academic, developmental, and spiritual pursuits. This initiative has yielded plans for the East Village, a multi-phase residential community that will serve as a bridge project between Baylor 2012 and OUR NEW STRATEGIC PLAN. To reinforce the on-campus experience, we will:
- Further enhance engagement between students and faculty and between students and staff;
- Continue to increase the percentage of undergraduate students who live on campus and who participate in exemplary living and learning and residential college communities;
- Provide additional community-building opportunities for graduate and professional students;
- Enhance spiritual life programming to provide additional opportunities for students to explore and discern beliefs, convictions, and vocations;
- Create a coherent set of undergraduate learning experiences that foster student success, involvement, and completion;
- Improve the quality, convenience, and delivery of integrated learning and student support services through a focus on assessment and the use of technology; and
- Provide greater opportunities for students to learn from the rich cultural diversity of the student body and surrounding community.