Human Flourishing, Leadership, and Ethics

Human Flourishing, Leadership, and Ethics

Baylor University will be a recognized leader in understanding the conditions by which humans, communities, and societies flourish. To quote noted scholar John DelHousaye, “Human flourishing is not conjured from man-made programs, but emerges from image-bearers of God working creatively and interacting with others for the individual and common good.” As a Christian institution, Baylor reflects the image of God as we study, teach, research, and promulgate the aspects of what it means to pursue a life well-lived. Entrepreneurship and ethics are factors that promote healthy human beings, intact families, stable communities, and a thriving society. Each of these provides the impetus to pursue the virtues, not only for the sake of the individual, but for the purpose of living with integrity in every human endeavor.

The outstanding reputation of Baylor in the areas of entrepreneurship and ethics positions the University to influence generations of leaders. Entrepreneurship is central to human flourishing and leadership. When cities or states lack employers and businesses, the social, psychological, material, and physical aspects of flourishing suffer. Providing goods and services that others in society need is a creative enterprise that is rooted in being created in the image of God.

As a Christian institution, Baylor is committed to the principle articulated by the Apostle Paul that we should not do evil so that good may come (Romans 3:8). We believe this is essential to human flourishing. Because we want our students to not only know the good but to do the good, we ignore at our peril the place of character development in ethics education. Central to the ethical development of students is an appreciation for civil discourse and behavior. Respectful, yet probing debate over complex issues supplies the indispensable occasion for information sharing and collaborative evaluation of facts. Baylor strives to educate students and individuals to engage with any and all points of view put forward in goodwill in a rigorous, civil, and even winsome way.

Equally important to a thriving society and the development of individuals is an appreciation for and expression of the arts in many forms. Arts at Baylor are inextricably connected to Baylor’s Pro Futuris vision and the development of Illuminate. Expressed through the Departments of Art, Film and Digital Media, Theatre Arts, and the School of Music, Baylor will build on the strong national reputations of these programs to continue enriching the artistic life of our community, region, and nation. The arts develop original thinking by blending liberal arts education and professional training. Through intellectual curiosity we will work to create ambitious and rigorous artistic outcomes. Baylor is nationally and internationally competitive in the pursuit of artistic excellence while honoring the Christian ethics of respect, generosity, love, and mutual support.

As noted in Pro Futuris, “Baylor is founded on the belief that God’s nature is made known through both revealed and discovered truth. Thus, the University derives its understanding of God, humanity, and nature from many sources: the person and work of Jesus Christ, the biblical record, and Christian history and tradition, as well as scholarly and artistic endeavors.” Our Christian perspective and transdisciplinary approach to the teaching and research of human flourishing and leadership will equip Baylor faculty, students, and alumni to offer unique responses to social problems in areas such as government and business.

The research and programs that develop around human flourishing, leadership, and ethics will provide a single venue dedicated to addressing the ethical, social, and technological challenges facing the contemporary world. With a goal of becoming a global leader in the field of ethics and questions of human flourishing, Baylor will support bold and distinctive cooperation between a variety of academic disciplines and methodologies charged with advancing teaching, research, and application in the broad aspects of human flourishing, leadership and ethics.

With increasing frequency, undergraduates, recent graduates, and even graduate students and mid-career professionals wish for better pathways toward lives and careers that further the causes of human and institutional flourishing. These students and professionals are ambitious, driven by a sense of life-giving purpose, aspiring to lead institutions across sectors that can achieve high social impact and navigate through a complex and unpredictable world. This is a world in which the big problems increasingly transcend our disciplinary lines, where change happens quickly and turbulence pushes toward perpetual division.

These emerging leaders require a dynamic curriculum to equip them fully with the knowledge, mindsets, networks, skills, and practices for the sort of equilibrium-shifting work they strive to do. Through partnerships, such as the ones established with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program and One Heart Ministries, Baylor is uniquely positioned to propel future leaders toward our Christian calling to help “make all things new,” to serve our neighbors near and far by building and transforming institutions that nurture generative approaches to solving the world’s big problems.

“The trip to Haiti was a chance for me to open my heart to God and increase my proximity to the problems our world faces. I learned with and from the locals about overcoming hardships and perseverance. I utilized my gifts of service, compassion, and engineering to help bring new and appropriate technologies to a place that would benefit from them.” KAYLA GARRETT, CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS, SENIOR, HUMANITARIAN ENGINEERING

Within Baylor’s Human Flourishing and Ethics programs, students would choose a global, national, or community track, which would include an embedded internship and applied research semester, leveraging partnerships with public and private organizations (governments,NGOs, private sector companies, foundations, and advocacy groups) in three areas:

  • A global context abroad (through partnership with the Center for Global Engagement, Study Abroad, and Baylor Missions)
  • A national context in Washington, DC, (through partnership with Baylor in Washington and our semester leadership programs there)
  • A local context in Waco (through a partnership with the Texas Hunger Initiative and its extensive local networks)

Collaborative programs will be revenue-generating, both because of the inlaid financial model as well as the increasing market demand for this type of program. With built-in applied research dimensions, programs will yield opportunities for sponsored research and increased outputs, both by our faculty and graduate students. They will enable Baylor to build dense networks of global, national, and local partners across sectors and will significantly enhance the efforts of Global Baylor, the University’s recently developed Quality Enhancement Plan. Programs will foster collaboration across schools, colleges, and student life, and they will embody the very essence of Baylor’s “worldwide leadership and service” mission by equipping students for the types of collaborative, cross-sector leadership and service that the future demands.