Cultivating a diverse campus community

Baylor University is committed to building a community of respect, character, cultural literacy and leadership. In December 2015, Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr announced the appointment of the President's Advisory Council on Diversity (PACD) to help facilitate a contemplated period of reflection and discernment with respect to deepening the university's unapologetic Christian commitment to racial, ethnic and gender diversity.

"Our Christian mission calls us to prepare culturally competent leaders for service in a diverse and interconnected society," Starr said. "We are committed to providing our students a place where we celebrate the diverse heritage of our entire community; where guest lecturers, artists and speakers challenge us to embrace our unity in Christ; where opportunities for female and male faculty and staff of all backgrounds find a safe and supportive work environment where they may flourish; and where a committee such as the PACD can hear the voices of students, faculty and staff and work together to help shape a future in which our diversity is our strength."

Chairing the PACD is Lori Baker, PhD, Faculty Regent, past chair of the Faculty Senate and associate professor of anthropology in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences. Serving with her in this important work are:

  • Juan Alejandro Jr., EdD, vice president for governance, risk and compliance and chief compliance officer
  • Andy Arterbury, PhD, associate professor of Christian Scriptures, George W. Truett Theological Seminary
  • Michael Beaty, PhD, chair and professor of philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Pearson Brown, student body president, senior professional selling major, Houston
  • Ronald L. English, academic support advisor for referrals, Paul L. Foster Success Center
  • Cindy Fry, senior lecturer in computer science, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Erin A. Gaddis, president of the NAACP Texas Youth and College Division, senior communications specialist major, Rowlett, Texas
  • Dominque Hill, assistant director of intramural sports, Student Life Victor J. Hinojosa, PhD, associate professor of political science in the Honors Program, Honors College
  • Tonya B. Lewis, assistant director of media communications, Division of Marketing and Communications
  • Callie A. Schrank, assistant athletics director of personnel and administration
  • Jonathan Siktberg, Student Regent, senior Baylor Business Fellow from Nashville, Tenn.
  • Rishi Sriram, PhD, assistant professor and graduate program director in educational administration, School of Education

Starr also has named Elizabeth Palacios, PhD, dean for student development in the Division of Student Life and a Baylor faculty member, to the post of special assistant to the president on diversity. Palacios, who has been instrumental in collaborating with students, faculty, staff and the community on a variety of diversity-related advancements, will immediately begin spending a portion of her time working closely with the president and the PACD.

Additionally, the Regents' Task Force on Diversity has been established with former Board of Regents members Albert Black, Ramiro Peña, BA '88, Donell Teaff and Regent Emerita Sue Getterman, BA '50, serving to gain a better understanding of the issues and environment at Baylor and to deepen the dialogue with university administration on how to better support initiatives to increase diversity among students, faculty and staff. The Task Force will report to the Board of Regents.

"The Board of Regents is incredibly grateful to these former Regents for their willingness to commit their time to better understanding the campus conversations about diversity and inclusiveness," said Richard Willis, BBA '81, MBA '82, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. "The work of this group will help the Board learn more about ways we can support the administration and offer resources that move Baylor forward."