Dr. Darin Davis is Baylor’s Vice President for University Mission, Director for the Institute for Faith and Learning, and faculty member in the Honors Program. He shares how Baylor intentionally seeks to live out its mission and affirm its Christian identity in this post to parents.
From its founding in Independence, Texas, more than 170 years ago, Baylor University has resolutely affirmed its Christian identity and mission. Our motto “Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana” expresses our commitment to God and others, and it inspires Baylor’s teaching, research, athletic programs, student life, and much more. Baylor is a special place. Our Christian faith animates who we are and what we do.
Hannah Byrd, B.A. (Arabic and Middle East Studies/International Studies) ’18, has been awarded a Middle East and North Africa Regional (MENAR) Fellowship, an international program that fosters a new generation of U.S. leaders in service, politics and policy who have experience with the challenges the region faces and the potential it holds. She is the first Baylor graduate to earn the prestigious post-graduate fellowship.
As a MENAR Fellow, Byrd will teach English to children ages 2-14 with Club Anglais in La Marsa, Tunisia.
A Baylor University event marking the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination aimed to shed light on the minister and civil rights leader who is “so often evoked and so rarely studied in any detail,” said Dean Thomas Hibbs, director of Baylor in Washington, the school’s outpost in the capital.
Organizers said they arranged for the discussion of King’s legacy as a display of brotherhood from two people of widely different perspectives. “Their friendship is a counter to so much of what ails our public life,” Hibbs told the audience at the luncheon at a Capitol Hill hotel.
As a Christian institution with the mission to prepare men and women for worldwide leadership and service, Baylor attracts students who are uncommonly mission-driven and determined to face the most pressing social challenges with compassion and creativity. The University began social innovation labs that cross multiple disciplines to engage and inspire such students to become torchbearers around the globe in dealing with some of the most difficult problems facing society, such as child migration in the Western Hemisphere.
At its regular spring meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents accepted the University moving forward with the implementation of Illuminate, Baylor’s Academic Strategic Plan, and took action to approve a $660.1 million operating budget for 2018-2019, five new academic degrees and new Board members.
Alexa Larsen, a senior neuroscience major at Baylor University, has been selected to receive a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to the United Kingdom in global health. Larsen will pursue a master of science in global health at the University of Southampton and conduct research as part of a project concentrating on interventions to prevent early motherhood.
Two Baylor faculty members recently received the 2018 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) Award in Classics. The PROSE Awards annually recognize the best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals and electronic content in 58 categories.
Jeffrey M. Hunt, Ph.D., lecturer in classics and assistant director of the University Scholars Program, and R. Alden Smith, Ph.D., chair of classics and associate dean of the Honors College, along with coauthor Fabio Stok, received the award for their work, Classics from Papyrus to the Internet: An Introduction to Transmission and Reception.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to represent the United States as a cultural ambassador and look forward to experiencing the nation I have learned to love from afar. I am grateful for the assistance of Baylor’s SPARK office, as well as the support and incredible education I have received from Baylor. The Honors College in particular has been formational in my education and I am thrilled to get to take all that I have learned to Mexico. I hope to influence my students there with the same care and excellence I received at Baylor.”
On April 23rd, the McNair Scholars Program at Baylor University inducted its Inaugural Class of 24 scholars. The McNair Scholars Program is in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair who lost his life during the ill-fated U.S. Challenger space shuttle mission. The McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded program (one of the TRIO Programs funded by the Department of Education) mandated by Congress.
Several months before the 2016 election, Harper’s Magazine published an unlikely essay by Alan Jacobs suggesting that in the midst of the fractious punditry gripping the country, we might benefit from the return of Christian public intellectuals. “Their task,” Jacobs suggested, “would be that of the interpreter, the bridge of cultural gaps; of the mediator, maybe even the reconciler.” Such thinkers existed half a century ago and occupied a prominent role in the public square, he wrote, but “they are gone now.”
It was a strange comment coming from Jacobs, who was, in a way, describing himself: a Christian intellectual who has dedicated most of his career to bridging gaps not only between Christians and non-Christians but also between disciplines and audiences.
Sofia Sonner, a senior biology major from South Pasadena, California, has been selected to receive a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Taiwan. Sonner is among three Fulbright recipients this spring and Baylor’s 54th Fulbright recipient since 2001.
“She takes true delight in learning,” Doyle said. “One outcome of that desire to learn was Sofia’s summer field station experience, a requirement on our ecology track, at Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. That selection built on her previous volunteer experience at the Aquarium of the Pacific where she interacted with guests to teach them about marine animals. Sofia is well-prepared academically but also passionate about teaching and service. I look forward to hearing great things from her Fulbright experience and beyond.”
John Ryan Isaacson, a senior international studies major from Muleshoe, Texas, has been selected to receive a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Germany. Isaacson is among three Fulbright recipients this spring and Baylor’s 53rd Fulbright recipient since 2001.
“John Ryan is the student every Baylor professor wants,” said King, part-time lecturer in religion and the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). “He’s intelligent, and he works hard, beyond hard. He is exactly what Baylor needs, and he is exactly what can move Baylor to the next level. If every student was willing to think – critically – about the questions John Ryan is willing to think about, the world would be a much different place... a much more socially just place. I’m grateful to have had John Ryan in class. He made me a better teacher, and I hope – somehow – I helped him become a better student.”
The Honors College is excited to announce that Ben Aguiņaga, BBA ‘12, will provide the keynote address at the Honors Convocation on April 20th. Aguiņaga was recently selected to serve as a law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. During his time at Baylor, Aguiņaga was in the Honors Program double majoring in political science and philosophy with minors in mathematics and history.
As spring graduation and commitment dates for graduate and professional schools approach, many faculty and staff commemorate their students’ achievements. Keller senior Stacy Nguyen started in the Sleep Neuroscience & Cognition Laboratory (SNaC) in August 2015. Nguyen has worn several hats both in the lab and as an undergraduate student.
“I got connected with it by luck actually,” Nguyen said. “A poster at Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) in Spring 2015 caught my eye, and I noticed the logo on top and was intrigued that there was a sleep lab at Baylor.”
The teams were among 14 groups of nearly 250 students, faculty and staff who served in seven countries in early March. Each team had a discipline-specific focus to their missions, actively integrating their faith with service and learning. They were able to use their academic perspective and passions to approach challenges and solutions in Guatemala.
The Honors Residential College partnered with Potter's House, an organization that works with people who live around the Guatemala City trash dump. Senior Jordan Millhollin said they witnessed an incredible level of poverty and human suffering. Neighborhoods of houses were made from tin and scraps of cinder blocks and piles of trash lining the street were sorted by workers hoping to sell the scraps for a little bit of cash.
On Mar. 11, Jo, a University Scholar concentrating in environmental health science received the Pfizer Society of Toxicology undergraduate research travel award at its 57th annual meeting in San Antonio. Jo was one of only 14 recipients of the award recognized.
Jo said that the award and her research has greatly affected her time at Baylor and looks forward to the future.
“I have been working on this project for two years, and even though it’s been quite challenging it has been very worthwhile,” Jo said. “I have learned a lot by working closely with professors and graduate students who are always willing to help and who have become great mentors throughout these two years.”
Dr. Elizabeth Corey, Director of the Honors Program and Associate Professor of Political Science, has an article titled “Defending Disinterest” in the Spring 2018 issue of National Affairs. National Affairs is a quarterly journal of essays about domestic policy, political economy, society, culture, and political thought. It aims to help Americans think a little more clearly about our public life, and rise a little more ably to the challenge of self-government. Each issue features lively yet serious essays on the range of domestic issues: from economics and health care to education and welfare; from the legal debates of the day to enduring dilemmas of society and culture.
PHI BETA KAPPA, the nation’s oldest scholastic honor society and the first American society to have a Greek-letter name, announced its 2018 inductees earlier this month. The Honors College is proud to have 32 students, 40% of the Baylor Honorees, being offered membership this year. This distinction is universally recognized as the most prestigious academic honor awarded at the baccalaureate level.
This spring break, Baylor Missions sent students and faculty to seven different countries: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico and United States. Each team’s mission project was discipline-specific, allowing students to use skills they are developing in their classes to serve in other cultures.
Candi Cann, Ph.D., associate professor in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core in the Honors College who studies death and the afterlife, is quoted in this Acts of Faith column about the Academy Award-winning animated film “Coco” and how Americans remain mostly uncomfortable or unwilling to think deeply or talk with others about what they do believe and imagine, if anything, about the afterlife.
When Rachel entered Baylor University her freshman year, she thought she wanted to pursue a career in Biblical archaeology. She decided to major as a University Scholar, a build-your-own-path program for high-achieving students that would allow her to bring in elements of religion, Biblical languages, anthropology and more. And it was while sitting in her Hebrew I course – taught by Dr. Fulton – that the focus of her academic career (and possibly her life) was changed thanks to a random question.
Baylor University will host The Annual Big XII Conference March 1-3. The Honors College is proud to have a current BIC student, Eniya Richardson, serving as the Transportation Chair on the Conference Planning Committee as well as our Financial Manager, Ryan Reed, presenting during the conference. The Big XII Council on Black Student Government is a regional Black Student Governing Body, which consists of the Black Student Governments from institutions in the Big XII conference.
“The Soundings Project, so generously funded by Lilly Endowment, aims to support the common work of the Christian university and the church, namely to help people lead lives of purpose and significance,” said Darin H. Davis, Ph.D. Darin H. Davis is vice president for university mission and director of the Institute for Faith and Learning (IFL). He holds a faculty appointment in the Honors Program and is affiliated faculty in the Department of Philosophy and Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. “During the next five years, we hope to explore and nurture, along with congregations throughout the state, new models and approaches to the enduring question ‘How is God calling me — and us — to be faithful?’”
This is a question that professor and essayist Garnette Cadogan, regularly asks his students at Massachusetts Institute of Technlogy (MIT). Cadogan, who penned the essays, “Walking While Black” and “Due North,” attempts to answer this question every night as he walks the city streets and interacts with those he encounters.
Senior Junelyn Gamao, BIC Student, couldn’t ignore the draw to do more after assisting with research at Waco’s Family Health Center during her sophomore year.
“I realized how much the city was lacking in terms of access to nutritious foods and having adequate food and nutrition literacy,” she says.