Presidential Perspective - November 30, 2017

November 30, 2017

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Although I missed the opportunity to communicate with all of you last Thursday, I hope that you had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends. Brad, Shelby and I have recently experienced several firsts at the Allbritton House: first Thanksgiving, first Christmas tree and the first time our new puppy, BU, escaped from the backyard! Like many of you, we are excited about the holiday season and the end of the fall semester.

Here are a few noteworthy items for this week:

  • Congratulations to 24 early-career Baylor faculty members who have been selected as Rising Stars, a program in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research that provides an intensive mentorship experience and helps put these scholars on the fast track toward an independent, externally funded research program. Participants meet regularly with their peers and former Rising Stars to discuss their research and share best practices for navigating the highly competitive funding environment.
  • Also on the faculty front, my thanks to Interim Provost Michael K. McLendon and his team for the recent introduction of the Baylor Faculty Opportunity Hiring Program. This is an important program to recruit, retain and reward a diverse faculty that is committed to excellence, as part of our strategic vision outlined in Pro Futuris. A reminder that tomorrow is the first day for the acceptance of faculty proposals.
  • As I was scrolling through Twitter yesterday, I ran across a tweet from @a6solutely_luna, who in 280 characters told an incredible story about her Baylor experience: "-two drug addicted parents -removed to a domestic abuse shelter at 12yrs old -homeless and independent minor at 16-17yrs old -accepted to Baylor University 2013 -contractually signed to a Law Firm at 20yrs old -Baylor University graduate 2017: 3.0< GPA Things I did: THAT." A little research led me to learn that this post is from Denise Anderson of Harker Heights, Texas … thank you, Denise, for sharing your powerful story and congratulations!
  • As many of our students look toward Commencement on December 16, I want to extend my appreciation to our faculty and staff for the many ways they contribute to Baylor's graduation ceremonies. You truly make Commencement special for our students and their families during such an important time in their lives.
  • If you were unable to attend the Nov. 9 Baylor Conversation Series for faculty and staff or the Nov. 20 dialogue for the Waco community, videos of both events have now been posted online. Chair of the Board Joel T. Allison and Dr. McLendon joined me for nearly 90 minutes as we provided updates on the University's strength and resilience, the academic strategic plan and how Baylor is aggressively moving forward on several fronts. We will continue the Baylor Conversation Series in 2018 with Texas stops in Houston, Dallas and Austin and a nationwide tour that includes Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
  • Earlier this week, I sent an email to the campus community outlining implications of the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We continue to monitor the bill closely as it moves through the legislative process. Also on the Congressional horizon is the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which is the federal law governing higher education.
  • A final word of congratulations to our women's soccer team on its historic run to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament! And I hope to see you at the Ferrell Center at some point this weekend for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, as well as for ranked basketball matchups as the men host Wichita State and the Lady Bears host Stanford.

Here's to a great remainder of the week, and thank you for your continued support and dedication to Baylor.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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