Five-Year Strategic Plan

Baylor University Libraries
Five-Year Strategic Plan
FY 2023-2027

[NB: Illuminate Pillars are indicated by Roman Numerals and Academic Initiatives by Arabic Numerals in order according to the arrangement on the Illuminate website]

The Baylor Libraries fulfill the university’s mission by leading as an innovative research library that undergirds scholarship, fosters teaching and learning, and builds communities. The Libraries partner with researchers to create innovative solutions that enhance research methods and the quality of teaching. They combine expertise and resources within dynamic spaces to produce collaborations that create new knowledge. Library faculty and staff provide digital, print, archival, human, and additional resources that empower research and teaching, and develop partnerships that establish learning communities.

As a result, Baylor faculty, researchers affiliated with other institutions, graduate students, and undergraduate students have offered substantial contributions to international conversations in their respective fields, confirming the university’s standing as an R1 institution (III). Faculty and graduate students who received library fellowships have enhanced their curricula through engagement with primary resources in Baylor’s collections and transformed classroom instruction by learning to leverage the latest in instructional pedagogies and technologies (II). Renovated spaces, the recent opening of the Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center, and engaging academic events have created welcoming environments where people at Baylor and beyond can learn together (I).

The Baylor Libraries look forward to building upon these foundations during the next five years, using Illuminate to light the way forward as we continue to “educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”

Innovating Research

To enhance accessibility for researchers and learners, we will continue to foster a “digital-first” collection strategy (I, III). Working with vendor partners directly and through state, regional, and national library consortia, we will prioritize acquiring electronic journals and e-books, reserving print purchases for works where print is of higher research value for the discipline. We will leverage capabilities within vendor platforms to expand our online holdings through demand-driven acquisition, which allows for library purchases that are triggered through usage in a managed environment. We will enrich this growing set of e-resources by continuing to digitize materials in our special libraries, making these primary research materials available to researchers world-wide.

We will enhance competency among Baylor faculty and students in the areas of data and digital scholarship through our Data Scholar Program and Data Research Fellows initiatives (2, III). We will offer services and programming in data mining, data visualization, and data management. We will continue offering summer fellowships in data research to faculty and graduate students that will develop skills in data science and enhance the quality and integrity of research. To enhance the Libraries’ offerings in these areas, we will acquire additional content and platforms that support data and digital scholarship methods.

The Libraries will continually assess the reach of its instruction and outreach efforts to ensure the success of information literacy initiatives. We will leverage text data mining strategies to analyze the Baylor course catalog and syllabi to identify opportunities to engage with faculty or courses to support research and learning. This innovative, proactive approach to faculty support developed by the Baylor Libraries will enable us to bring the breadth of our collections, personnel resources, and spaces to enhance the quality of both faculty research and student learning experiences (2, II, III).

We will support faculty and graduate research through the expansion of our tiered systematic reviews program, including training, consultation, and collaborative research and authorship (III). In addition to co-authoring systematic reviews, our faculty and staff will seek opportunities to directly contribute to research and scholarship either in partnership with ongoing faculty research projects or through other interdisciplinary partnerships.

The Libraries will increase access to the unique materials in special collections and digital collections beyond OneSearch by ingesting them into national resources such as the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), OCLC ArchiveGrid, the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) cooperative, and by leveraging our existing library subject guides (III). Through exhibits, events, library instruction sessions, and targeted marketing within and beyond the university, we will spotlight Baylor’s unique special collections so that they may be a source of future research.

As "the light of the world” and “a city built on a hill” (Matthew 5.14) within the realm of R1 research institutions, the Libraries will foster a climate of open access where faculty are empowered to “freely give” (Matthew 10.8) the results of their research (I, III). To realize this missional vision and enable faculty to meet federal and foundational grant requirements for open access, we will leverage our existing BEARdocs and BEARdata research data repositories, seek additional open access platforms, pursue transformative agreements with publishers to allow for open access to faculty publications, support the creation of open access journals, and work with Faculty Senate to encourage the expansion of open access initiatives. The programming and services will help faculty meet the increasing open access requirements of funding agencies.

Finally, we will continue to participate in initiatives that advance and enhance resource sharing, including migrating to a cloud-based interlibrary loan system that is more fully integrated with our library system.

Enhancing Teaching and Learning

The Libraries will support the continued growth and quality of Baylor’s online graduate and professional programs and the development of undergraduate instruction by training faculty in pedagogical methods and providing production expertise in collaboration with our Learning Design and Experiential Learning Commons teams (II). In order to support both faculty and students in these programs, we will add staff and develop appropriate production and creative spaces. We will invest in systems and structures that assist with the implementation and assessment of online programs and that provide technical support to faculty who teach and students that enroll in these programs.

We will encourage faculty to increase adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) in place of commercial textbooks to enhance the university’s support of students (I, II). We will offer summer fellowships to incentivize faculty to seek out and find library resources or free digital resources that support their courses. Librarians will work alongside faculty in this process and encourage the adoption of Pressbooks and other platforms that enable the creation of OER collections.

We will strengthen our historic partnership with the Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL) and work collaboratively with their team to develop Baylor faculty (II). During Summer 2022, the ATL will relocate to the second floor of Moody Library, bringing another important campus resource and drawing additional faculty into library spaces. We will work with the ATL to develop research collaborations around the scholarship of teaching and learning: developing fellowships, learning design consultations, and other faculty enrichment programs.

In partnership with the ATL and other campus partners, we will continually evaluate and improve the user experience of digital learning environments and implement Universal Design (UD) principles to the best of our ability (I, II). In order to support faculty and students who need digital learning tools to support curriculum and learning, we will develop and manage a portfolio of digital learning tools. Through summer fellowships and other forms of engagement, we will enhance pedagogy at Baylor by training faculty on the possibilities created within active learning environments such as Moody 104 and 304 (II). Our Learning Spaces team will continue their work with campus departments to transform identified classrooms and other spaces into these technologically-enhanced, flexible learning environments.

The Libraries are re-imagining spaces on the garden level of Moody Memorial Library to extend the capacity of the Experiential Learning Commons to develop media and “making” literacies among Baylor students and faculty (3, III). We will continue to invest in these resources so that the materials and tools necessary for research and innovation are more immediately accessible.

We will work with our partners in Student Success and Career Services to explore the implementation of a comprehensive student portfolio initiative (II, III). This digital portfolio will include academic information to measure the quality of their instruction and learning, student employment and internship records to assess career direction and readiness, and a program assessment to test the student’s overall preparedness and placement at the time of graduation.

Building Communities

The Libraries will continue to develop spaces and programs that reflect hospitality. (I, III). We will expand spaces for group and independent learning within Moody and Jones Libraries to accommodate 15% of Baylor’s student population. To accomplish this goal, we will reduce the size of our overall print holdings by approximately 5%. We will continue to work with the SmithGroup in collaboration with university administration, the Mayborn Museum, and other entities to create effective additional off-site storage that will enable us to develop learning environments that accommodate more students. Throughout this process, we will work collaboratively to ensure that everything we develop accommodates a range of learning styles, our increasing campus diversity, and emerging pedagogical approaches.

We have already initiated a process to re-think the spaces and programming of the Graduate Research Center (GRC) (I, III). We will re-imagine how spaces are used throughout the GRC so that they better accommodate the needs of Baylor’s growing graduate student population. Leveraging input from the Graduate School, academic departments, and the Graduate Student Association, the GRC will develop resources and programming, and host events in the GRC that support graduate student success.

The Libraries will curate and feature museum-quality exhibits in collaboration with collection directors and Baylor faculty (I, II, III, IV). These exhibits will reflect the diversity within our library holdings and throughout the community of research at the university with the intent of creating communities of learning among passersby or intentional events or course-based conversations.

The Libraries will also continue to develop public events that feature our research materials, engage with contemporary events of academic interest, or grow out of collaborative partnerships with Baylor faculty (I, II, III, IV). We will also leverage our spaces to host academic events in partnership with schools and colleges across the university (I).

As a reflection of Christ’s call to “love one another” (John 15.12) and in full awareness that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female” (Galatians 3.28), as we design new spaces, revise our collection policies, develop public exhibits, and plan academic events we will ensure that we include and reflect historically and culturally underrepresented people within our university and local communities (I). The Libraries will implement findings from a recent ClimateQual survey that will impact operations and the culture within our organization. We will also participate in a university wide LibQual study in 2023 and operationalize the results of that assessment. As we hire new Library faculty and staff we will intentionally work toward diversifying our workforce.

The Libraries will continue to position itself at the heart of the Academy by fostering collaborative relationships with academic departments, individual faculty, graduate and undergraduate students across the university with the goal of ensuring that the Libraries both reflect and shape the trajectory of academic conversations that drive an R1 Christian institution of higher education.

In support of the initiatives set forth in our mission and this strategic plan, the Libraries will continue to demonstrate faithful stewardship of financial resources, personnel, and facilities. We will continue to develop existing faculty and staff and increase personnel as essential to accommodate the ongoing expansion of Baylor’s degree programs. The Libraries will foster our relationships with the Office of Advancement and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research to secure grants and donor funds to support the growth and development of the Baylor Libraries.

University Libraries

One Bear Place #97148
Waco, TX 76798-7148

(254) 710-6702