Text title treatment: Dialogue with the Deans

Graduate School

Larry Lyon, Dean & Vice Provost

Larry Lyon

What is the greatest challenge or opportunity that students in Baylor's Graduate School will face, and how is Baylor preparing them to face/address it?

The increasingly global, increasingly competitive labor market is both a challenge and an opportunity. Very bright, exceptionally hard working young people come to the United States for graduate study and, more recently, many remain in their home country and still compete for jobs via tech-based networks. The world is, indeed, increasingly "flat." By the way, Baylor, as a university, is also competing globally, with the rise of world-class research universities, especially in Asia.

What do you hope students in the Graduate School gain during their time at Baylor?

I hope they receive the highest quality mentoring from graduate faculty who are leaders in their fields, and I hope they grow spiritually as well as intellectually. We work every day in the Graduate School to make these hopes a reality.

What is the most significant thing Baylor graduates from the Graduate School offer to the world?

An exceptional skill set enhanced by faith-based values.

What is the most exciting/meaningful thing about being dean of Baylor's Graduate School?

Helping Baylor become a great Christian research university, what Pro Futuris calls Baylor’s most distinctive characteristic. Strong graduate programs are absolutely necessary for us to reach that goal. It’s an ambitious and perhaps even audacious goal, but we’re making progress with more graduate students and graduate faculty, more PhD programs and more funded research.

Do you have a mentor/memory or experience from your time at Baylor (or elsewhere) that deeply influenced who/where you are today?

In 1995, then President Herbert H. Reynolds asked me to gather comparative data for Baylor's Council of 150, a "think tank" for taking stock of the University after 150 years. The data painted a sobering picture and helped me realize how much Baylor needed to improve and expand our graduate programs. At that point, I began to seek ways to help build graduate education at Baylor. Three years later, I was fortunate to become dean of the Graduate School.

Is there anything you want alumni or parents to know about you or your plans for the Graduate School? Please explain.

Our parents need to know that our graduate students can and do make excellent role models for our undergraduates. They bring a level of seriousness toward academics that can often counteract some of the undergraduates’ temptations to "enjoy" rather than "learn." Our alumni need to know that because our graduate programs are so distinctive, our graduate students are remarkably loyal to Baylor, with a pride and attachment to the University that is rare among graduate programs. They attend our athletics events, have Baylor decals on their cars, come back for homecoming, donate to their departments--they are Bears!