Baylor Graduate School, BGCT, Texas Baptist Universities Establish Doctoral Program Partnership

June 25, 2008

by Paige Connell, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321

Seeking to further strengthen ties between Texas Baptist universities and the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baylor University's Graduate School has partnered with the BGCT and affiliated Texas Baptist institutions to establish the Texas Baptist Universities (TBU) Scholars program at Baylor.

Through the TBU Scholars program, Texas Baptist universities will identify promising undergraduate or graduate scholars for doctoral studies in multiple disciplines offered through the Graduate School at Baylor.

"This is an important initiative for our growing research and graduate school status and a special way to be of service to Texas Baptists," said Baylor President John M. Lilley.

The TBU Scholars program was created to:
• increase the number of Baptist-educated doctoral students staying in Texas Baptist universities
• connect Texas Baptist universities by partnering in graduate education
• retain bright doctoral students in Texas Baptist universities as students and, subsequently, as faculty
• increase loyalty and involvement of Ph.D. graduates with the BGCT and Texas Baptist universities
• stem the "dying of the light" by providing a continued education for bright students in a Baptist university committed to its religious identity

"This is a tangible and important way that Texas Baptist universities will work together for the benefit of all," said Larry Lyon, vice provost for institutional effectiveness and dean of the Baylor Graduate School. "Baylor benefits by increasing the number of applicants to our doctoral program who value the distinctive, faith-centered, approach to higher education offered by Baptist universities. All Texas Baptist universities benefit by increasing the number of new Ph.D. students who are more likely to want to teach at our universities, who understand and embrace the role of Christian faith and Baptist traditions, and who can help ensure that our Baptist universities continue to play an important and distinctive role for higher education in Texas," he said.

At Baylor, TBU Scholars will be able to seek doctoral degree in biology; biomedical studies; chemistry; church-state studies; ecological, earth and environmental studies; educational psychology; English; exercise, nutrition and preventative health; geology; information systems; mathematics; philosophy; physics; political science; psychology; religion; religion, politics and society; sociology; and statistics.

If other BGCT schools develop a Ph.D. in the same discipline, the student will not be eligible for this award.

The cost of the program will be shared among the partners. The BGCT will provide $1,000 per scholar, the sponsoring college or seminary will contribute $1,000, and Baylor's Graduate School will provide the balance of tuition and a stipend for each student.

Currently, Baylor has 24 doctoral students from BGCT partner schools and hopes to have five to 10 new TBU Scholars per year through the proposed program.

Participating Texas Baptist universities include the Baptist University of the Americas, Dallas Baptist University, East Texas Baptist University, Hardin Simmons University, Houston Baptist University, Howard Payne University, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Wayland Baptist University.

These universities will recommend qualified undergraduates in their junior or senior year or graduate scholars pursuing a master's degree in their first year, using criteria set by the TBU Scholars program. Potential TBU Scholars will travel to Baylor with a faculty mentor to participate in the annual Scholars Day celebration or another university activity.

After going through Baylor's regular application process, accepted students will receive a Texas Baptist Universities Scholars Enhancement Fellowship and will take part in special programs emphasizing the connection between Baptists and higher education, such as:
• traveling to the BGCT annual fall meeting, where they will be able to network with faculty and administrators of Texas Baptist colleges and universities
• participating in a one-hour doctoral seminar called "The Professorate," which will introduce students to the teaching, scholarship and service roles of faculty in Christian universities
• attending a workshop on the integration of faith and learning, sponsored by Baylor's Graduate School and Institute for Faith and Learning
• meeting with Baylor's Graduate School deans, president, provost, and provost emeritus for a luncheon on campus
• being identified at commencement and at the doctoral dinner as a Texas Baptist Universities Scholar with the BGCT and their partnering university

TBU Scholars also may have the opportunity to attend the annual Seminar on Leadership in Baptist Universities, sponsored by Baylor's Center for Ministry Effectiveness and Educational Leadership; attend a retreat on vocation and calling at Laity Lodge, co-sponsored by the Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning; and visit other BGCT-affiliated colleges and universities.

"We are anxious to recruit our first group of Texas Baptist University Scholars and introduce them to the rich experience of Ph.D. studies at Baylor," said Dr. T. Laine Scales, associate dean of the Graduate School and a professor at Baylor's School of Social Work. "In addition to programming on Baylor's campus designed to deepen ties with Texas Baptist university life, TBU Scholars will explore the various Texas Baptist colleges and universities by visiting other campuses and attending the BGCT Annual Meeting," she said.

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