A&Spire to Illuminate Pillar 3

Research

The University seeks “to accelerate its quest toward preeminence as a Christian research university” recognized by achieving the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as an R1 university. Faculty at R1 universities are more often participants in national conversations on matters that are critical to the well-being of society as reflected by their cutting-edge research. With R1 status, Baylor will become a co-equal participant in such discussions and bring the Christian perspective to this forum.

Achieving R1 requires growth according to three principal criteria: research expenditures, number of doctoral graduates, and research staff. In recent years, we have made positive strides, but more work is ahead.

Currently, the College of Arts & Sciences accounts for approximately 60% of external research expenditures from granting, and A&S graduate programs collectively account for 73% of STEM doctorates, 88% of social science doctorates, and 100% of humanities doctorates awarded at Baylor during the 2019-2020 academic year.

In Arts & Sciences the number of doctoral degrees awarded will dramatically increase as existing doctoral programs expand and as new programs are developed. We seek to double external funding, and we plan to increase dramatically the number of postdoctoral fellows engaged in research. 

Much of this growth will come through increasing faculty and postdoctoral researcher hiring, as well as accepting additional doctoral students into our programs. We will seek to promote practices that will lead to diverse pools of applicants which should lead to the overall goal of increasing diversity among our faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and doctoral students.

Vision: Elevate the research profile of the College of Arts & Sciences to align with the research profiles of arts & sciences colleges at R1 institutions.

Goal 1: Double external funding in STEM and more than double external funding in the Humanities and Social Science departments.

Year 1: In 2019, Arts & Sciences achieved $7 million in external research expenditures. To double this level of expenditures by 2025 will require expenditures of $14.5 million. In 2020, A&S had $9.9 million in external research expenditures and we expect to equal that amount this year.

Action Steps

1.1    Hire more than 100 new and replacement faculty in A&S.

    Year 1: During the 2020-2021 academic year, A&S was not able to conduct searches for new faculty lines. Based on searches conducted in 2019-2020, however, 12 faculty representing eight replacements and four new positions joined the Sciences in 2020-2021. The Humanities and Social Sciences gained 14 faculty, representing 10 replacements and three new lines, plus one targeted hire. This group included colleagues of diverse backgrounds (African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and Latino).

1.2    Revise departmental tenure and promotion guidelines in STEM departments to reflect funding expectations comparable with the level achieved by faculty in their disciplines at R1 universities without medical schools.

    Year 1: All A&S departments have submitted revised tenure guidelines that have been reviewed and accepted through both the Dean's Office and the Provost's Office. Departments are in the final stage of revising their guidelines for promotion to full professor; thus far, four sciences departments (Chemistry, Geosciences, Physics and Statistical Science) have achieved versions accepted by the Dean.

1.3    Revise departmental tenure and promotion guidelines in the Humanities and Social Science departments to increase the number of externally funded fellowships and research grants.

    Year 1: The following humanities and social sciences departments have finalized their promotion documents: Art & Art History; Classics; Communication; English; History; Journalism, Public Relations and New Media; and Sociology. All Humanities and Social Sciences departmental tenure and promotion guidelines now require faculty to seek external funding.

1.4    Develop a Five-Year Core Facilities Plan for the Baylor Sciences Building to ensure that growth among research faculty is supported by our infrastructure.

    Year 1: A&S has formed five faculty user groups to contribute input into the fee structure of shared facilities and to develop a five-year plan.

Goal 2:  Increase the number of external research proposals in the Humanities and Social Science departments by a factor of four.

Year 1: In 2021-2022, Arts & Sciences will begin monitoring the number of external research proposals in these departments.

Action Steps

2.1    Include granting expectations in position advertisements for the Humanities and Social Sciences departments.

    Year 1: A&S is monitoring job ads and has requested that departments include language regarding granting expectations. A majority of departments are complying with this requirement.

2.2    Increase resources and support for Humanities and Social Sciences faculty to identify funding opportunities.

    Year 1: The Associate Dean for Research distributes books on funding sources to faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences, regularly meets one-on-one with faculty to discuss their ideas, and works with Brandi Phythian, the URA for this division. A significant aspect of communication with faculty involves identifying the institutional channels, primarily through OVPR, available to faculty as they apply for grants/fellowships, rather than faculty applying independently without institutional recognition and guidance.

Goal 3: Within a decade, double the number of doctorates awarded annually in STEM programs, while increasing the number of Humanities doctorates awarded by one-third and the number of Social Sciences doctorates awarded by one-half.

Action Steps

3.1    Collaborate with the Graduate School to increase the pool of doctoral students in existing doctoral programs targeted in areas that have a positive outlook for employment.

    Year 1: The departments in the A&S Science Division have all received additional doctoral lines from the Graduate School. The departments in the Humanities and Social Sciences are continuing with the current level of doctoral lines due to job market considerations.

3.2    Design and launch new Ph.D. programs with interested departments in the Humanities and Social Sciences in areas that have a positive outlook for employment.

3.3    Streamline or re-organize graduate offerings to decrease the number of low-enrollment sections and decrease students’ time to degree.

    Year 1: A&S is monitoring faculty workloads and enrollments in graduate courses, as well as encouraging chairs and graduate program directors to achieve threshold enrollments in graduate courses. During 2020-2021, 81% of our graduate courses met minimum enrollments in the eight science departments.