Please take note of the following news, recognitions, and opportunities within our community:
• I sent around a good word last month about establishment of the James Robert Parker Endowed Chair in Health Science and Leadership, the first endowed chair within the Honors College. Yesterday, the University publicly announced the gift
and expressed gratitude to Dr. Parker for his generous support of honors education. Even as we celebrate this important milestone, I am already collaborating with Hope Loomis and colleagues in University Advancement to elicit support for additional chairs and professorships that will underwrite our excellence and future growth.
• Between the unanticipated interruption of our spring semester and an emptied-out campus in April and May, I lost track of a regular highlight of life in the Honors College: The Pulse. Under the faculty sponsorship of Melinda Nielsen
, associate professor of classical literature in the Great Texts Program, The Pulse’s stellar student leadership and editorial staff published the 2019-2020 edition of our long-running undergraduate journal. I encourage you to take a look at it here
and take pride in the important questions and perceptive work of student authors Jonathan Chew, Claire Gostomski, Caleb Graham, Sarah Henn, Grayson Jackson, Connor Porter, Lawson Sadler, Nicole Salama, Michaela Scott, and Natalie Widdows.
• Congratulations to David Corey
, professor of political science in the Honors Program, for an insightful and timely piece in National Affairs: “Political Philosophy as Apprenticeship and Practice
.” In the article, David accounts for the prevalence of weakened political reflection and seeks to revitalize a wisdom-oriented study of politics, finding therein an antidote to “dogmatism, and the fierce struggle for power that attends it, that now threatens our future.” David’s bel esprit, scholarship, and devotion to the art of teaching are all in evidence in his lucid analysis.
• Sam Perry
, associate professor of communication in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, deserves recognition for work with the Waco Community Race Relations Coalition to place a historical marker in memory of Jesse Washington. In writing and speaking of Washington’s 1916 lynching, W.E.B. Du Bois described the brutal mob action as “The Waco Horror.” KXXV recently reported on the CRRC’s efforts and interviewed Sam
. Of his efforts and others akin to them, I’m mindful of Hotspur’s dictum in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1
: “tell truth and shame the devil,” a fine outworking of Christian conviction whether in our scholarship, teaching, or service. Alan Jacobs
once wrote a book inspired by those lines (Shaming the Devil
), in which he cites another relevant maxim, a Russian proverb recalled by Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “dwell on the past and you’ll lose an eye; forget the past and you’ll lose both eyes.”
• A social media comment by one of our colleagues was recently referred to the Equity Office as inappropriate. With this incident in mind and as a word to the wise, please remember that we represent Baylor, the Honors College, and our respective programs; our words and deeds matter; hateful, prejudicial, or racist pronouncements are unacceptable, harm our community, and damage a good name we rightly safeguard; and we must exercise care, especially with social media, to exemplify the Christian conviction, grace, and wisdom for which we want to be known. On these matters, a friend recently recommended Baylor alumnus Dallas Willard’s book, The Allure of Gentleness
. This is a book I have yet to read, but I wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of the title.
• This past year, eleven of fifteen students receiving prestigious post-baccalaureate scholarships and awards hail from the Honors College: Maren Brady (Fulbright), Daniel Burch (U.S. State Dept. Critical Language), Rahul Dadwani (Fulbright), Kyle Derosiers (Fulbright), Cat Haseman (Pickering), Annie Huntington (Freeman-Asia), Gabbi Mucerino (Rangel), Micheal Munson (Fulbright), Lawson Sadler (Marshall), Anne Walker (Boren), and Zane Zovak (Schwarzman). These students would be the first to thank you for preparing them so well, and I know you share my pride in their accomplishments and potential. We owe appreciation to Andy Hogue
and his colleagues in A&S’s Office of Engaged Learning for guiding and supporting students through competitive application processes.
• As we plan for a return to campus this fall, adjustments to our usual routines will be necessary, including a compressed academic calendar, mandatory face coverings inside buildings, social distancing, and online and hybrid instruction accompanying face-to-face classroom teaching. Changes and challenges notwithstanding, I can’t say enough how grateful and proud I am for your devoted work with our students. We can and will continue to teach, mentor, and support them well. To that end, I want to point again to Keep Teaching
as a compendium of helpful resources. Jeffry Archer
, Dean of University Libraries, recommends Flower Darby and James M. Lang’s Small Teaching Online
, the animating principle of which is that “small, everyday decisions we make in teaching” can have a major impact on students’ learning. Rather than a wholesale retooling of course design, Darby and Lang point to little things that matter greatly in high-quality online, hybrid, or traditional classroom instruction.
My last college-wide note included lines from Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins
, a book that opens on a late-twentieth-century July 4 and concludes five years later on Christmas Day. It was on July 4, 1776, of course, that the Declaration of Independence was adopted, and we do well to celebrate its honorable appeal to equality and the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet I’m convinced Percy had it right. In the ruins of our world, the United States included, Christians’ greatest hope always lies in joyful confidence that, as Dr. Tom More finally remembers during his dread latter days, “the Lord is here, a holy night and surely that is all one needs.” Love in the ruins, indeed.
All the best,
Douglas V. Henry | Dean
Honors College | Baylor University
baylor.edu/honorscollege | 254.710.7689