Presidential Perspective - May 17, 2018

May 17, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Well, it's officially summertime on the Baylor campus! The hustle and bustle marking the end of the spring semester has transitioned into sparse pedestrian and vehicle traffic and, of course, near 100-degree temperatures. I look forward to keeping you apprised of Baylor-related happenings each Thursday throughout the summer months.

Here are a few noteworthy items to share for this week:

  • I am appreciative of the Board of Regents' acceptance last week of Illuminate, the University's five-year strategic plan. The feedback from the Board was overwhelmingly positive as we chart our path to become a preeminent Christian research university and fulfill the vision cast in Pro Futuris. Our next steps will include convening a group of faculty who have expertise in the areas of systems design and group dynamics to develop a process for implementation, in addition to compiling and prioritizing faculty proposals in the areas represented by the five Strategic Initiatives that yield a portfolio of cross-disciplinary projects, along with quantitative and qualitative metrics to determine their respective impacts. Be looking for the launch of an expanded Illuminate website next week.
  • One of the key components of Illuminate is the University's expansion in the area of graduate professional education. We are already making significant progress in this programmatic space under the guidance of our Deans and Vice Provost Gary Carini, and yesterday we rolled out a new Online Graduate Professional Education Gateway so prospective students can find these programs quickly.
  • Congratulations to C. Stephen Evans, Ph.D., University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, who is our 2018 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year. The award annually recognizes a faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor through teaching, research and service. During the award presentation at the Academic Honors Convocation, Vice Provost Wes Null, Ph.D., read letter after letter about Dr. Evans' deep love and care for his students, his brilliant teaching and his abiding faith in Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for our dedicated faculty, who live out our University's mission every day to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service.
  • I enjoy reading the analysis and commentary of our faculty members on significant events affecting our state, country and beyond. Baylor's Peter Campbell, Ph.D., an assistant professor of political science in the College of Arts & Sciences and a scholar on strategy, international relations and security, contends in a recent blog post that President Trump's use of a classic strategy of "brinksmanship" should be followed by humility when dealing with North Korea.
  • If you happen to be in New York City next week, 19 of our most talented students from the School of Music will be performing May 23-24 at two historic landmarks: St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Midtown Manhattan and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. The student musicians and one vocalist competed for this performance honor through the rigorous Semper Pro Musica competitions, which inspire our students within the School of Music toward musical excellence. I look forward to taking my seat at Carnegie Hall next Thursday and enjoying our students' beautiful music.
  • The Wall Street Journal has published a neat interactive database in conjunction with EMSI, a labor-market research firm, that profiles where graduates of specific colleges and universities move to begin their careers. The report (link may require a subscription) found that 28.0% of Baylor graduates move to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, followed by Houston (14.2%), Austin (6.9%), San Antonio (3.6%) and Washington, D.C. (1.7%).

On a final note, I am thankful that the Lord did not call me to be an astronaut! Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to visit the SpaceX rocket development and testing facility in nearby McGregor. It's awesome to have such an innovative company as part of Central Texas and our growing research and technology ecosystem. And we are certainly appreciative of the 10 Baylor alumni who work at SpaceX's facility in McGregor.

Here's to a great remainder of the week!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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