Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
As I mentioned in last Thursday's email, we had a team of administrators from institutions across the country on campus this week as part of our SACSCOC Decennial Reaffirmation, which is a key component of our accreditation renewal process. This week's visit was very successful. In particular, the team was extremely impressed with our institution-wide commitment to Baylor's Christian mission. The visiting team met with approximately 150 Baylor representatives throughout the past four days, and this commitment was evident in every conversation. I would like to express a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who was involved in the visit. I continue to be impressed with our great University, and I appreciate you living our mission each and every day.
Here are a few noteworthy items to share for this week:
- The Chronicle of Higher Education has released its list of Colleges with the Greatest R&D Spending in the Humanities, FY 2016, and Baylor is ranked No. 20 among private institutions in research-and-development spending in the humanities. Throughout the 2016 fiscal year, the Chronicle noted that Baylor invested more than $2.8 million in R&D in the humanities, which is more than 10 percent of all R&D spending at the University. Baylor historically has emphasized the importance of the arts and humanities, and we will continue to do so as part of Illuminate, our upcoming academic strategic plan.
- We are proud to announce that another member of our outstanding faculty has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Caleb D. Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry and a two-time Baylor Rising Star researcher, has received a five-year, $650,000 grant through the NSF's Chemical Synthesis Program. This grant supports his research into synthesizing boron compounds to advance the technology used in common electronic devices, such as smart phones and tablets, reducing both cost and energy. His work also has the potential to bring a durable and portable energy source to millions of people living in remote or underdeveloped regions.
- Baylor's Truett Seminary has announced it will launch an extension campus in August in Houston – the nation's fourth-largest city – as we seek to reach students who aren't able to pursue in-residence education, while also addressing the evolving landscape of higher theological education. Truett's Houston campus will initially offer two degrees with classes at Tallowood Baptist Church during evenings and weekends. Houston's cultural and economic diversity also will allow for unique field education opportunities for Truett students tailored to the needs of the city.
- Our students have been flinging their Green and Gold afar as they've competed successfully at many regional and national competitions. Baylor's Model United Nations broke the team record for the most awards received in the 10 years they have attended the National Model United Nations Conference. Our Cyber Security Student Organization team won the Southwest Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition and will represent Baylor this weekend at the national level. Finally, Baylor's nationally ranked Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum advanced to the Sweet 16 of the National Debate Tournament. We are proud of your great work and that you are representing Baylor in such a positive and powerful way.
- April is Workplace Violence Prevention and Awareness Month. Baylor provides several tools to help keep our work environment safe, such as anonymous, online reporting; an Employee Assistance Program, which provides employees and their family five free face-to-face sessions with a counselor for a variety of issues; mental health seminars and public safety training sessions. Our faculty and staff are an integral part of the University and Baylor Family, and it is important that you have access to resources, support and programs to assist you and your families.
- A reminder that we continue to solicit feedback from the campus community on the academic strategic plan. Presentation materials, audio and video from recent campus presentations are available on the Illuminate website, along with a webform for you to provide input directly to our strategic planning team.
I am blessed to serve as your President, and I truly appreciate your prayers and support.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.