Baylor Regents Approve New Doctoral Degree Programs, Hear Presidential Search Update

Oct. 23, 2009

The Baylor University Board of Regents today approved two new doctoral degree programs - a Ph.D. in social work and a doctor of science in occupational therapy (DScOT) - and heard an update on the progress being made to select the university's 14th president.

The Ph.D. in social work is the first doctoral program within the Baylor School of Social Work, which has become a national leader for the social work profession in the integration of Christian faith with professional education and rigorous scholarship. The innovative "hybrid" program - which includes both on-campus and distance coursework using university-sponsored technology - will focus on preparing professional social workers as leading researchers and educators in the areas of intergenerational relations (child and family studies and aging), the ethical integration of religious faith and social work theory and practice, and social work in congregations and religiously-affiliated organizations. The first cohort of students will be admitted in fall 2011.

The DScOT - an affiliated degree program between Baylor and the U.S. Army at the Army Medical Department Center and School and Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio - will follow the model of Baylor's successful doctor of science in physical therapy at BAMC. The DScOT is an advanced-practice post-professional clinical doctorate designed to meet the professional development and specialty area needs of Army occupational therapists. Graduates of the program will be able to advance the practice of occupational therapy and expand the scope of care provided warriors and military healthcare beneficiaries through the application of evidence-based practice and research. The program will begin this year.

"I am pleased that the Board of Regents continues to invest in our 2012 goals of expanding and strengthening our graduate programs, especially those that fit our mission and afford the greatest opportunities for national success," said Dr. Elizabeth Davis, interim provost and professor of accounting at Baylor. "The Ph.D. in the Baylor School of Social Work is the only doctoral program at a Christian university that focuses on the integration of religious faith and ethical social work practice. The Baylor-U.S. Army DScOT will be among the first of its kind to advance the comprehensive practice of occupational therapy by producing advanced clinicians who are vital to our military's health care system."

In other board news, Baylor Regents were provided with an update on the university's presidential search, which included meetings of the Regents' Presidential Search Committee on Sept. 25 and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee on Oct. 5.

National advertising of the position began in August, as the Presidential Search Prospectus became available. Regent and search committee chair Joe Armes, BBA '83, MBA '84, said the quality of candidates being forwarded to the committee is excellent, indicating that recruitment efforts under way are attracting a robust candidate pool that matches the needs of the university. As nominations and recommendations continue to be accepted, Armes said the committee has begun the process of conducting initial interviews.

"We are seeing a strong pool of candidates coming together," Armes said. "The candidate profiles are diverse and demonstrate that we are drawing candidates who have the attributes commensurate to the qualifications we have laid out in the Presidential Search Prospectus."

The presidential search committee is working with Jerry Baker, principal of the national search firm of Baker and Associates of Atlanta, to collect and review information submitted by presidential candidates.

"Our review process is deliberative, and the Presidential Search Committee is committed to identifying candidates who are committed to maintaining Baylor's national preeminence in Christian higher education and who are passionate about the university's mission and vision," Armes said.

The Presidential Search Committee will continue to review candidates and has established the Baylor Presidential Search web site at, which is updated with the latest news as the search process continues to unfold. The site also includes an online form for members of the Baylor family to provide input, audio podcasts of the open listening sessions and the Presidential Search Prospectus.

In addition, in a special meeting held Thursday night, Baylor's Board of Regents voted to commit $10 million to support the initial renovation phase of the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), the first project of the newly created Central Texas Research and Technology Park.

The announcement was made during a news conference Friday afternoon at Baylor Law School.

BRIC will be housed in the former General Tire facility in Waco, which was given to Baylor by Waco business and civic leader Clifton Robinson, his family and H. Bland Cromwell to help make the park a reality. In addition to Baylor's commitment, the Texas Legislature appropriated $10 million to Texas State Technical College for "capital expenditures and renovations for collaborative research projects" in partnership with Baylor.

BRIC will provide graduate research space for Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science and for select Baylor interdisciplinary research centers and institutes. In addition, it will provide space for anchor industry partners, advanced technology training and workforce development.

"The Baylor Board of Regents had a very eventful and successful Homecoming meeting that began with our action on Thursday night and continued up to today's announcement of an exciting and historic collaboration between the university and its community partners," said R. Dary Stone, Regent chair. "Our fall meeting is unique in that the board works very hard on the business of ensuring the university's future success, but when our meeting concludes, we join the Baylor family in celebrating one of our most beloved traditions, Baylor Homecoming. It is an exciting time to be back on campus and visit with so many people who truly love Baylor University."

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