Presidential Perspective - February 8, 2018

February 8, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

February is Black History Month and our students and leadership across campus have a terrific line-up of events planned throughout the month. Tonight at 7, Dr. Tammy Kernodle will present “She Sang Freedom,” a musical tour of black women who document the struggle for equality and social justice. Next Thursday, you can experience “Defamation,” an interactive play in which the audience is the jury for a courtroom drama that explores issues of race, religion, gender, class and the law. Later this month, Dr. John Bracey Jr. will be on campus to present “My Encounters with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.” I hope you will plan to be a part of this celebration of our diverse campus community.

Here are a few additional noteworthy items for this week:

  • Supporting the physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional wellbeing of our students is at the heart of who we are at Baylor. Recognizing that a student’s emotional wellbeing impacts his or her ability to thrive in other areas, the Baylor Counseling Center will host “Hope, Peace, Love” on February 14. The daylong event will help increase awareness of the range of mental health resources available on our campus for students and will feature fun activities and conversations to reframe mental health stigma and provide insight into mental health concerns.
  • Today in the premier journal Nature, researchers from our Institute of Archaeology and departments of anthropology and geosciences have published a compelling article that challenges a widely reported claim for the earliest archaeological evidence of the peopling of the Americas. To bolster their arguments, the Baylor researchers compared bone damage from the Cerutti Mastodon Site near San Diego with that from several non-archaeological mammoth death sites, including the 66,000-year-old Waco Mammoth National Monument. This is a strong example of our commitment to research partnerships across disciplines that will position the University on the path to become a tier one research institution.
  • Next week I will be joined by several members of our leadership team in providing the Board of Regents a progress report on the Academic Strategic Plan, which we are calling “Illuminate.” I sincerely appreciate all of the work of our faculty and deans in submitting multidisciplinary proposals that address many of the greatest challenges facing us today. Interim Provost Michael K. McLendon and I soon will host several on-campus sessions to gather feedback from faculty, staff and students as we work toward a final presentation to the Board in mid-May.
  • We continue to highlight Baylor’s strength and resilience, particularly considering the challenges the University has faced over the past couple of years. Last week we had some good financial news as the University’s A+ long-term bond ratings were affirmed with a stable outlook.
  • In a few weeks we will welcome a team of assessors to campus from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) as the Baylor University Police Department seeks IACLEA accreditation, a highly prized recognition of campus public safety professional excellence. More information is available here about how you can offer comments that address the department’s ability to comply with IACLEA’s standards. Thank you to our Department of Public Safety and Security and professional police force who work 24/7 to keep our campus safe and secure.

Here’s to a great remainder of the week! As always, thank you for being a light and for your dedication and service to Baylor.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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