At Baylor Law, the switch to online & hybrid learning was surprisingly smooth for our faculty and students due to the immense effort by the Department of our Information Technology team in getting dozens of classes and hundreds of faculty and students up and running remotely at the outset of the Coronavirus outbreak in March.
Multiple years of technology modernization efforts by our I.T. team, and planning for what-if strategies to wargame potential scenarios prior to the pandemic, allowed Baylor Law to continue its rigorous academic programming with less than one week’s notice of the closing of Baylor’s campus in the Spring.
The transition to online and hybrid classes was just the beginning for Director of Technology Rick Sowell and his dedicated team of tech and A/V specialists, whose workload has increased exponentially during the pandemic. During the first week of November alone, the team of three full-time employees was able to host 29 exams in online or hybrid mode, including the labor-intensive Practice Court exam, support dozens of Baylor Law students as they competed virtually at national Mock Trial and Moot Court Competitions, and support the technology needs of dozens of students, judges, and other officials as Baylor Law hosted one of the premier law school Mock Trial competitions, the Tournament of Champions (TOC). All this was accomplished while supporting the ‘day-to-day’ tech needs of the law center’s partially remote / partially in-person faculty and staff with professionalism and grace.
“The current pandemic has strengthened our commitment to serve our local veterans,” said Josh Borderud, Director of Baylor Law’s Clinics, and added “It is an honor to be able to work alongside a group of dedicated Baylor Law students and local attorneys who are devoted to offering critical legal services to honor those who have served our country.”
“We strive for excellence in everything we do,” stated Sowell, who added, “The goals of the past several months would have been impossible to accomplish without the work ethic of my team members Nathaniel Jones and Ricky Lovecky, who have worked tirelessly to do whatever work needed to be done to keep the law center up and running.” Rick’s team is quick to point out that without his leadership, the past several months could have gone in a negative direction. “He works right alongside us in the trenches,” remarked Ricky Lovecky, and added, “his management skills were instrumental in making everything so successful.”
During the Fall Quarter, the I.T. team played an integral part in the incredibly successful online conferences and seminars that Baylor Law hosted. Hundreds of law school deans, faculty, and other staff participated in the “2020 Vision for Leadership” Conference that brought together high-profile speakers from law schools from across the nation along with distinguished attorneys to discuss the role of lawyers as leaders in their communities charged with protecting the rule of law. A few weeks later, the team flawlessly supported the technology needs of author Talmage Boston and former Secretary of State, James A Baker, III at the Federalist Papers Lecture Series. The latter will be rebroadcast soon on C-SPAN as part of their ‘American History TV’ series.
As the Winter Quarter gets underway at Baylor Law, there is no time for the IT team to rest on its laurels, as all of the classrooms that were converted to courtrooms for TOC needed to be restored to classrooms prior to the start of classes; dozens more students who will participate in this week’s national interscholastic competitions will need A/V and tech support; and a new quarter of hybrid classes begin. Baylor Law’s Department of Information Technology gets IT done… and gets it done right.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Nelson, Director of Marketing & Communications
ABOUT BAYLOR LAW
Established in 1857, Baylor University School of Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, Baylor Law is one of the leading smaller law schools in the nation, known for its rigorous, results-oriented legal training. With more than 7,600 living alumni and a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service, the Law School boasts among its notable alumni two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as among the best in the nation at No. 2, while the Law School is ranked in the Top 50 of the 2021 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the “Best Schools for Practical Training,” and in the top 15 “Best Law School Facilities” in the country. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award’s inception in 1984. Learn more at baylor.edu/law
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at baylor.edu