Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
As the grass and trees turn green and the temperatures begin to warm, I am always reminded that spring is a time for renewal. During my Inauguration this past fall, we focused on Romans 12:2, which states: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." As we enter the season of spring and the midpoint of the spring semester, this is my prayer for all of you.
Here are a few noteworthy items to share:
- Earlier this week we announced a wait list for the incoming freshman class due to strong demand and the high rate of deposits made at this stage of the admissions cycle. We are working toward a slightly larger incoming class than last year's freshman class – but about 300 students smaller than the graduating senior class – as we aim to keep the undergraduate enrollment steady around 14,000 students. We are hearing that prospective students are interested in Baylor's "midsize" in comparison to our peers, personal attention from faculty and staff, undergraduate research opportunities and our unapologetically Christian mission. I look forward to welcoming #BU22 to campus this fall.
- Baylor will launch a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) this August called Global Baylor: Addressing Challenges to Human Flourishing. As part of our SACSCOC reaccreditation process in April, we will submit a 10-year plan to address global challenges through the QEP in ways that enhance international experiences for all students, increase student diversity abroad and foster a Global Baylor culture among Baylor students, faculty and staff. Dr. Jeff Hamilton, who leads the QEP development team, recently provided a good overview of the initiative on Baylor Connections, our weekly podcast and radio program in conjunction with KWBU.
- Today the Texas Hunger Initiative released the fourth edition of its Texas School Breakfast Report Card, which captures breakfast participation data for Texas counties and more than 1,000 school districts. We talk often about "big data," and this report serves as a powerful example of how data can be used to fight hunger. School breakfast plays a vital role in helping students improve nutrient intake, increase attendance and improve test scores, and we appreciate the good work of THI and its stakeholders in helping reduce food insecurity among students and families in Texas and throughout the United States.
- For the second year in a row, the Baylor School of Education has won a prestigious national honor. On Saturday, Baylor and Waco ISD will be presented the Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement Award from the National Association for Professional Development Schools. The award is given to a small number of school-university partnerships each year whose work creates and sustains genuine collaborative relationships between pre K-12 schools and higher education. In fact, Baylor has the only university teacher preparation program to win this award back-to-back, as last year's award recognized Baylor's partnership with Midway ISD.
- Baylor will join the Waco Community Race Relations Coalition and the Waco NAACP on Wednesday, April 4, for a community reconciliation service commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The entire campus community is invited to Truett Seminary for light refreshments at 5:30 p.m., with the event following at 6 p.m.
- To our staff: I hope you are able to attend the upcoming Spring Staff Forum on Thursday, April 5, from 2-3:30 p.m. at Truett Seminary. The event is an opportunity to recognize our outstanding staff and their numerous contributions to the University. And I know you will receive an uplifting, motivating message from gifted speaker and author Bob Beaudine. I truly appreciate all of our great staff who support our students and faculty every day.
If you've driven around Waco this week, you've probably noticed the crazy traffic, as an estimated 350,000 people (!) are in town to visit Magnolia and attend a variety of events in our community. Be sure to be patient and extend a little Baylor hospitality wherever you go. Thanks for all that you do, and I am so glad to see you back on campus.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.