In February, the administration of Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr presented to Baylor Regents for consideration a set of specific University-level goals to undergird implementation of Pro Futuris, Baylor’s strategic vision adopted in 2012.
After receiving feedback from the Board and input from areas across the campus, the administration presented—and Baylor Regents endorsed in May—a final set of detailed goals which represent a future course of action that will advance high-level aspirations of Pro Futuris over the course of the next five years. These goals, available online at baylor.edu/profuturis, will inform the way Baylor focuses its institutional resources and energies in the years to come and permit the University to meaningfully demonstrate and measure its forward progress.
In June the Baylor Board of Regents welcomed new Regents—three elected by the Regents and one appointed last fall by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. They are:
“We are blessed to be able to add to our Regent membership these extraordinarily talented and dedicated servant leaders who love Baylor and want to see the University prosper in its impact on the world and in the lives of our students,” said Richard Willis, BBA ’81, MBA ’82, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “These individuals bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Board, as well as a deep understanding of and commitment to the University’s mission and vision. We look forward to serving alongside them in support of Baylor’s powerful upward trajectory under Pro Futuris.”
Elected by the board to serve one-year terms respectively as non-voting Faculty and Student Regents are Dr. Todd D. Still, professor of Christian Scriptures and holder of The William M. Hinson Chair of Christian Scriptures at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and Jay Fields, a sophomore University Scholar from Kingwood, Texas.
The Board also has elected non-voting Regent members of the “B” Association and the Bear Foundation to serve one-year terms. Phil Duren, BBA ’72, of Woodway, Texas, from the “B” Association, will attend the Athletics and Conference Affiliation Committee meeting, while Chris Manning, BBA ’84, of Dallas, from the Bear Foundation, will attend both the Athletics and Conference Affiliation Committee and the Board meetings.
The State Bar of Texas and its Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee has selected Baylor Law School as the recipient of the 2014 W. Frank Newton Award for Pro Bono Excellence. According to the state bar and the committee, Baylor Law was honored for its “truly exceptional” commitment to the “provision of legal services to the poor.”
The W. Frank Newton Award recognizes the pro bono contribution of attorney groups, including law school faculty, whose members have made an outstanding contribution in the provision of, or access to, legal services to the poor.
Under the guidance of faculty members, Baylor Law has created an immigration clinic, a military veterans’ assistance clinic, National Adoption Day and its popular People’s Law School. Students also have an opportunity to serve the community on an individual basis. This individual-focused program is called the Pro Bono and Public Service Program. The work includes both public interest (government, prosecutors, public defenders, direct services, law reform, public interest law firms, and judicial internships) and community service. Since the program’s inception, students have performed more that 2,300 hours of service.
Each year, Baylor honors three professors with major awards based on slightly varying criteria.
The senior class votes to determine the Collins Outstanding Professor Award. This year’s recipient is Dr. Paul La Bounty, PhD ’07, an associate professor of human anatomy, physiology and nutrition in the School of Education. La Bounty joined the Baylor faculty in 2007.
Dr. Joe McKinney, a professor of economics in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business since 1976, is the 2014 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year. The award honors a professor who “makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor,” based on teaching, research and service.
Dr. Alfredo Colman, associate professor of musicology and ethnomusicology in the School of Music, was named the 2014 Baylor Centennial Professor. Funded by the Centennial Class of 1945, each year the award provides financial support to aid one professor with a specific project. Colman, a specialist in Latin American music, plans to use the award to study the works of prolific composer Florentin Gimenez in Paraguay.
As West, Texas, continues to recover from last year’s devastating fertilizer plant explosion, many of the most pressing needs are being addressed this summer through a more than $270,000 grant to Baylor University from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
The CNCS grant allowed the Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative (BIPI) and the city of West to establish an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates Program, to provide young people with a summer job while they create and participate in projects that will leave a lasting legacy on their hometown.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this to the West community as a resource to assist them as they define what they want to do in the recovery process,” said Rosemary W. Townsend, director of business affairs and community partnerships in Baylor’s Office of Community Engagement and Service. “Baylor publicly said, ‘We will be with you as you walk through this process.’ This is a tangible thing that the University can do in partnership with our neighbors in West and the Corporation for National and Community Service as the city determines its needs and priority areas.”
Fifteen people lost their lives, including 12 first responders, in the explosion on April 17, 2013. According to the Insurance Council of Texas, the catastrophic event caused more than $100 million in damage to West, destroying key infrastructure and damaging or destroying more than 150 homes and local businesses. The destruction led to several unique challenges for the residents of West, including the lack of local jobs, decreased access to quality and affordable housing and childcare options, and severely damaged school facilities.
Under the VISTA Summer Program, Baylor has hired 35 Summer Associates from West who are recent high school graduates or currently attending a college or university and have to returned to West for the summer.
Students work 40 hours a week from June 9 through Aug. 17, earning $928 per month. Each will be eligible for an additional education award of $1,175 at the program’s end.
“The VISTA Summer Associates program is a wonderful fit for West on a number of levels,” said Dr. Jan Hungate, chief administrative officer for West ISD. “Besides the fact that we now have a new summer employment opportunity for our graduates, the projects require brainpower and ingenuity and are creating positive contributions to the community in this time of recovery and growth.”
In June, Baylor University and Tyler Junior College (TJC) announced the creation of a formal Baylor Bound program that will help students transfer more easily between the two institutions and continue to expand educational opportunities for young people all across Texas.
TJC President L. Michael Metke and Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr signed the partnership agreement during a ceremony in the board room of TJC’s White Administrative Services Building.
As one of its goals under the Pro Futuris strategic initiative, Baylor intends to create 10 Baylor Bound partnerships with strong Texas community colleges over the next five years. The University signed its first Baylor Bound agreement last fall with McLennan Community College in Waco.
Beginning in fall 2015, the Baylor Bound program will serve highly motivated Tyler Junior College students who, upon meeting the program’s criteria, will transfer to Baylor toward the goal of completing their undergraduate degree.
“Across our country, it seems as though the door of opportunity is closing for our young people as the cost of a quality education rises,” Metke said. “Partnerships such as Baylor Bound provide seamless transfer and open the door for joint scholarship opportunities as well, making a quality education affordable for those students who work hard.”
“As a nation, we depend on a strong system of higher education to prepare students for success in an increasingly global economy. For many, a community college can be the preferred access point for a college education and an important first step to economic mobility,” Starr said. “While Baylor has long welcomed transfer students from Tyler Junior College, we desire to strengthen this relationship by establishing a formal transfer agreement that will ensure a smooth transition to Baylor for these wonderful students.”
TJC students who become part of the Baylor Bound program can choose a plan from 65 distinct majors, all of which are articulated through specific MAPS—or Major Academic Planners—that will assist them as they move toward timely degree completion. More information about these majors and course transfer equivalency between Baylor and TJC is available at baylor.edu/advising/bbmaps
KWTX Media announced in May the formation of a long-term partnership with Baylor University, in association with IMG Sports, that will allow KWTX Media and Baylor to bring coverage of the school’s top-ranked athletics and academic programs to viewers throughout Central Texas and beyond. KWTX Media will also work with Baylor to promote a variety of community awareness programs and initiatives.
“This partnership will serve to take Baylor’s message to a larger platform in Central Texas and with national reach through KWTX.com,” said Mike Wright, KWTX Media vice president/general manager.
The partnership includes the creation of “Baylor Game Day,” a live pre-game show airing prior to each home football game from Touchdown Alley at McLane Stadium. The show will feature exclusive interviews, analysis, and special features from Baylor and the KWTX team.
The first installment of “Baylor Game Day” will air Sunday, Aug. 31, on KWTX-TV and will stream live online at KWTX.com as Baylor hosts SMU for the opening of McLane Stadium.
Earlier this summer, Baylor became the No. 4 most-followed college or university on Pinterest, a social media site filled with project and interest ideas, and the No. 6 most influential higher education institution on Instagram, a way to share photos and more with others.
Connecting with friends, old and new, can be quite easy.
Baylor’s official Facebook page has more than 140,000 followers, and growing. Our site is one of only 45 colleges and universities to achieve that mark.
With about 165,000 living alumni, such a Facebook following indicates a strong connection in the Baylor family. More numbers to bear that out:
Last fall, Baylor checked in at No. 16 among the nation’s top 30 universities on social media. StudentAdvisor.com looked at engagement across a variety of platforms.
One of the great things about social media platforms is that they allow for two-way communication. In the last year, for instance, Baylor fans have left more than 22,000 comments on the official Facebook page, and another 6,000 comments on Baylor Instagram photos. On Twitter, Bears have addressed or mentioned @Baylor a minimum of 10,000 times and @BaylorProud adds 5,000 mentions to the mix.
For a complete list of Baylor’s social media efforts, visit baylor.edu/socialmedia.