A Welcome from Dr. Lee C. Nordt
Dean of the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences
Welcome to the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor University! The demand for a Baylor education has never been greater, the breadth and depth of our student body and faculty is ever increasing, and we are ranked as one of the nation’s “best places to work” and as a “best buy.” We are also ranked as a “High Research Activity” institution, while at the same time having a nationally recognized core curriculum. Our campus facilities continue to expand to accommodate program growth at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
The College of Arts & Sciences has been honored to play a significant role in the success of Baylor through the years. We are not only the university’s oldest academic unit, but with 25 departments representing the sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and the arts, we are Baylor’s largest and most diverse academic unit. Our departments, organized along the lines of each academic discipline, prepare our undergraduates to excel in research and innovation and to thrive as they pursue graduate and professional studies, leadership positions in the workplace, and lifelong learning opportunities.
Our undergraduate core curriculum emphasizes a liberal education characterized by critical thinking, communication, civic engagement, and Christian commitment. Our faculty take seriously the responsibilities this calls for –– to deliver excellent core courses, to inspire and mentor all Baylor students to master core competencies, and to provide effective teaching, aided by the cutting edge technology in our classrooms.
In addition, we confer numerous degrees each year at the masters and doctoral levels, and as with undergraduate studies, across the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and fine arts. Nearly one-half of all doctoral degrees are conferred each year in the College of Arts & Sciences, and many of our graduate programs are nationally ranked.
Among other things, Pro Futuris and A&Spire, the university and Arts & Sciences strategic plans, respectively, state that we will emphasize the health sciences in the coming decades. “Baylor” is the preeminent name in health care across the state of Texas. It is reflected in entities that include not only Baylor University in Waco, but the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the Baylor Health Care System in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and now Baylor Scott & White in Temple as well.
To that end, almost one-half of the freshmen entering the College of Arts & Sciences each year declare some sort of prehealth career track. To be a leader in the health requires an ability to see the challenges ahead in a highly competitive and ever-changing enterprise. To do this, the College of Arts & Sciences will emphasize during the coming decade the hiring of health faculty to build strengths in undergraduate and graduate course offerings, to provide greater opportunities for undergraduate research experiences and to produce more scholarly research important to society.
Preparing the next generation of healthcare leaders is only one of the goals of the College of Arts & Sciences, however. Over the years we have educated tens of thousands of students who excel as ministers, educators, artists and writers, lawmakers and public servants, researchers, counselors, diplomats and attorneys. A significant number of Arts & Sciences graduates also go on to play significant roles in the private sector as business leaders and entrepreneurs.
As Baylor continues on the path to become a nationally recognized research university, we have developed expertise in a number of scholarly disciplines within the College of Arts & Sciences. We have made it a priority to build our research profile without abandoning our emphasis on excellent teaching as an important expectation of our faculty. In fact, teaching and research should be viewed as one in the same –– one informs the other. We should not only be disseminators of information to our students, but also the creators of new knowledge that we bring into the classroom, and to society as a whole.
As you become part of a proud tradition that extends back to 1845, I encourage you to enjoy your time at Baylor, both inside and outside the classroom. It is our great desire that when you leave here, you will reflect our university’s mission by being well prepared for worldwide service and leadership. May your years at Baylor be ones of joy, growth and fulfillment.