October 4, 2012

Grads selected as Lilly Graduate Fellows

Two Baylor graduates were awarded participation in the prestigious Lilly Graduate Fellow Program. Sarah Berry, BA '10, and Stephen Margheim, BA '12, will participate in the three-year postdoctoral program.

"Sarah and Stephen were selected from a large number of nominations nationally because they embodied the academic excellence, faith commitment and overall dedication to teaching that the Lilly program seeks to support," said Dr. David Jeffrey, a Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities at Baylor's Honors College and Distinguished Senior Fellow at Baylor's Institute for Studies in Religion.

Dr. Darin Davis, MA '95, director of Baylor's Institute for Faith and Learning and assistant professor of philosophy, said that the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program "is an intensive mentoring program that seeks to nurture the next generation of Christian scholars and teachers in the humanities as they pursue graduate education at some of the country's finest universities."

Berry received her master's in English at Boston College and began doctoral work at the University of Connecticut this fall.

Margheim is attending the University of Pennsylvania to work on a doctorate in classical studies.

Music prof named best in texas

Dr. Michael Alexander, an associate professor of string music education, has been named the 2012 Orchestra Director of the Year by the Texas Orchestra Directors Association and was honored at its recent convention in San Antonio.

Alexander joined the faculty of Baylor University in 2006 after 22 years of teaching orchestra in the public schools of Houston. His duties at Baylor include supervising string student teachers, instruction in classroom string pedagogy, directing the Baylor String Project and conducting the Baylor Campus Orchestra.

"Dr. Alexander's impact on the School of Music and Waco has been profound," said Dr. William V. May, BM '69, dean of Baylor's School of Music. "His Waco String project has provided stringed instrument instruction to a host of Waco school children who otherwise would not find such instruction affordable, while at the same time giving our Baylor students immensely valuable 'real life' teaching experience. The Baylor Campus Orchestra, under his direction, is larger and more proficient now that at any time in the group's long history. And the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra, under his leadership, is a flourishing part of the artistic culture in Waco."

Baylor, DBU reach nursing enrollment agreement

In June, Baylor and Dallas Baptist University officials announced the creation of a program that will expand nursing education opportunities at Baylor for DBU students. The agreement will allow DBU students to transfer their undergraduate course credits to Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing in order to complete their bachelor's degrees.

"Baylor and DBU share a strong Baptist heritage, and so we appreciate especially the opportunity this agreement gives us to partner with the pre-nursing program at DBU," said Dr. Elizabeth Davis, BBA '84, executive vice president and provost at Baylor.

All DBU students who seek admittance to the LHSON must apply to Baylor, qualify for admission and meet LHSON prerequisites, including the required competitive grade point average. It is expected that approximately 30 percent of students admitted to the LHSON for each spring class will be transfers from DBU.

Survey reveals strong Baylor image in Waco

Follow-up results to a 2008 survey on Baylor's image in Waco and McLennan County show a dramatic increase in how local residents rate Baylor. The survey was conducted by the Center for Community Research and Development (CCRD) at Baylor.

From March 19 through April 21, the CCRD interviewed 701 adult residents of McLennan County. The CCRD findings were analyzed by Phil Davignon, MA '11, a CCRD research analyst and doctoral student in the Baylor Applied Sociology Program, and Dr. Larry Lyon, BA '71, CCRD director, dean of the Graduate School and professor of sociology.

"While some change is to be expected, the magnitude of this improvement is greater than I anticipated," Lyon said. "A lot of the increase is clearly due to athletics, but given the large and across-the-board increases, some of the other changes at Baylor -- the projected economic impact of the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), a popular new president, reconciliation among various Baylor constituencies -- may have contributed as well."

In 2012, the percentage of McLennan County respondents who rated Baylor "very favorably" increased to 60 percent from 43.5 percent in 2008. Those responding "somewhat" or "very unfavorably" declined to 3 percent in 2012 from 6 percent in 2008. Those rating Baylor "very favorably" rose from 30.9 percent in 2008 to 63.8 percent among African American residents, from 45.1 percent to 54.2 percent among Hispanic residents, and from 45.6 percent to 61.1 percent among white residents.

The percentage of local residents who "strongly agreed" with the statement "Baylor builds community pride through athletic excellence" rose sharply from 15.6 percent to 46.5 percent.

Philosophy professor's book wins C.S. Lewis Prize

Dr. C. Stephen Evans, university professor of philosophy and humanities, has won first prize in the C.S. Lewis Book Prize competition for his book Natural Signs and Knowledge of God (Oxford University Press, 2010). Funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the award is given for the best book published in the philosophy of religion or philosophical theology for a general audience in the last five years. This prize is awarded by the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and carries with it a cash award of $15,000.

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