Theme 4

Investing in the Health Sciences

Act of Determination 6 -- Building Collaborations across School Boundaries and among Medical Schools

Based on the quality of our undergraduate prehealth program and on both long-standing research and graduate initiatives, Arts & Sciences will play a pivotal role in the achievement of the University’s stated health science goals. However, this success will be limited without cooperation between Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), the Division of Health, Human Performances, and Recreation (HHPR) in the School of Education (SOE), and the Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSNU). This collaboration is necessary because the number of faculty in these areas is relatively small compared to those of our aspirant institutions. Establishing Bioinformatics is a logical first step in building synergies with the ECS and will require the hiring of additional faculty from both units to build critical mass in terms of faculty and programs. Enhancement of Nutrition Sciences is another logical step that would require Arts & Sciences faculty to collaborate with the faculty of HHPR and the LHSNU, and with other clinical programs. The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) has a strong Child and Family Studies program that supports both the SOE and the School of Social Work (SWO).

Additionally, Arts & Sciences must forge stronger relations between our faculty and entities beyond Baylor. Plans are underway for Baylor and the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) to develop joint faculty and adjunct appointments to create research teams between the two institutions. The National School of Tropical Medicine is the first division at BCM to develop such relationships with Baylor, with cancer research being another likely area for collaboration in the near future. Baylor Scott & White Health is seeking research collaborations to build upon its strong clinical programs. The Baylor Research Institute, as part of the Baylor Scott & White Health Care System, provides collaborative opportunities for the study of infectious diseases. These relationships will enhance our ability to hire nationally recognized faculty in the field of health sciences and to create centers of research excellence.

Action Steps:
  • The Dean, in consultation with the Dean of ECS, will appoint a taskforce consisting of Arts & Sciences and ECS faculty to explore the creation of a research center focused on bioinformatics and/or other related health science initiatives. The taskforce will develop a plan of action to be submitted to the deans of these two academic units by Spring 2015.
  • The Dean’s Office will encourage faculty from FCS, HHPR, and the LHSNU to explore possible research initiatives in Nutrition Sciences and other clinical programs and for faculty from FCS and SWO to explore possible research initiatives in Child and Family Studies. By Spring 2015 these groups will provide a report of their activities to the Dean’s Office.
  • The Dean’s Office will continue working with the Provost’s Office to establish contractual agreements on joint and adjunct faculty appointments between Baylor and BCM and Baylor Scott & White Health. This work will be completed by Fall 2015 and presented to the Council of Chairs.