Baylor Regents Approve New Master's Degree Programs, BRIC Information Technology Infrastructure Project, Hear Reports on Strategic Planning Process

Feb. 10, 2012

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At its February meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents approved two new master's degree programs, a master of arts in Christian ministry at George W. Truett Theological Seminary to assist primarily second-career students as they pursue church ministry, and a joint master's of social work/master's of business administration degree program through the Baylor School of Social Work and Hankamer School of Business.

Board members also authorized $2.9 million in maintenance and capital projects, including an information technology infrastructure project funded in part by a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to provide high-speed Internet connectivity from the Baylor campus to the under-construction Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC).

In addition, Regents heard a number of reports, including an update on the university's Strategic Plan, which will be finalized at the end of May, and celebrated recent student-athlete successes at a Thursday night dinner.

"We are in the midst of a remarkable period in the history of Baylor University," said Buddy Jones, BA '73, JD '75, chair of the Board of Regents. "We are expanding our academic degree and research programs, and enjoying tremendous amounts of successes in the classrooms and on our athletic fields of play. We are also moving forward in the development of a dynamic strategic plan that will chart our course over the next decade and strengthen our position as a national research university demonstrating academic excellence and Christian commitment."

Master of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is recognized by the Association of Theological Schools as a degree that provides a basic foundation of study in biblical and theological disciplines, while also preparing students for ministry within and alongside the church. Truett Seminary's master's of divinity degree (MDIV) is a 93-hour program that takes about three years to complete. The new MA degree in Christian ministry will require a minimum of 60 hours that can be completed with two years of full-time study.

"This degree will provide training in practical ministry for persons who wish to serve the church in areas other than the pastorate. In addition, it provides a new and much-needed option for second-career students, who often have families and work in addition to attending school," said David E. Garland, dean of Truett Seminary and The William M. Hinson Chair of Christian Scriptures. "Baylor is the largest Baptist university in the world, and we should be the institution leading the way in preparing those called to the ministry at any stage of life. With this new program, we seek to provide a more flexible, rigorous and innovative curriculum, because we believe churches need outstanding leaders, who have been educated at top-tier institutions, to face the complexities of ministry in today's world."

Joint MSW/MBA Degree Program

As the demand for social workers increases with the privatization of social services, so does the need for social workers to be prepared to serve as leaders of human service organizations. The joint MSW/MBA degree program through the Baylor School of Social Work and Hankamer School of Business will prepare graduates to assume higher positions of authority and responsibility within their respective organizations by incorporating social work values of faith and practice with ethical business practices. Graduates will be prepared to effectively and faithfully implement financial strategies, transform organizational behavior and activate marketing strategies to sustain and improve human service organizations.

"The joint MSW/MBA degree will provide an opportunity for graduate students to increase their knowledge and understanding of the relationship between social work and business administration," said Diana Garland, Ph.D., dean of the School of Social Work. "The combined degrees will prepare social work and business administration graduates to serve as administrators, executive directors and innovators in human service organizations nationally and internationally, serving in developing countries or underserved urban areas where human needs are great and resources are scarce."

The MSW/MBA program is expected to begin in fall 2012.

BRIC Information Technology Infrastructure Project

Regents also approved the next phase of work on an IT infrastructure project that connects the Baylor campus to the BRIC, one of the first ventures of the new Central Texas Technology and Research Park. The fiber network - which runs under the Brazos River from campus to the BRIC and is funded by the EDA grant announced last March by the U.S. Department of Commerce - will provide full access for BRIC researchers to Internet2 and additional technology resources available on campus.

Strategic Planning Update

Board members also heard reports on the university's strategic planning process, which is nearing completion. The university has published an online draft of the plan and has invited Baylor alumni, students, faculty/staff, parents and friends of the university, to review the draft plan and provide feedback through the March 31 deadline.

"We have made tremendous progress in the development of our strategic plan, and as we have from the beginning, we encourage continued active participation among the Baylor family as our efforts move forward," said Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D., executive vice president and provost. "A wide range of very good input is reflected in the quality of the draft plan we are now sharing with the Baylor community."

The draft plan can be accessed on Baylor's strategic planning website, which includes a range of other helpful and informative resources related to the university's planning efforts.

Thursday Dinner Salutes Success of Baylor Student-Athletes

At a Thursday night dinner at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Baylor Regents and special guests celebrated what is being called the "Golden Age" of Baylor athletics, hearing firsthand from four Baylor student-athletes - Quincy Acy (men's basketball), Lindsay Palmer (women's basketball), Kayce Walker (softball) and Woodrow Randall (track and field) - who are successful in the classroom, in their sports and in leadership roles on their teams and at the university.

In addition to the two team national titles (men's tennis, 2004, women's basketball, 2005), Baylor has won 41 Big 12 Conference titles (26 regular season and 15 tournament) in eight different sports. Over the last eight academic years (2003-04 through 2010-11), Baylor has won a combined 32 Big 12 regular-season and tournament championships in six different sports to rank behind only Texas and Texas A&M. In 2011, Baylor's Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy, college football's most prestigious award.

"While we give thanks for the Lord's many blessings, reflected in this season of accomplishment, we are committed to continuing our forward progress and to increasing the impact in the world of Baylor University. With God's grace, our best days are still to come," said Baylor President Ken Starr.

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 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 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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