Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
After a record-high temperature earlier this week, it was nice to return to the upper 90s/lower 100s, which is more typical of summer in Central Texas. It's actually perfect weather to go indoors and visit the Mayborn Museum's "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition," which I look forward to experiencing tomorrow. We are fortunate to have such a remarkable natural science and cultural history museum that engages our community and inspires learning through rich collections, vibrant programs and hands-on experiences.
Here are a few additional noteworthy items:
- This fall, our Provost Search Committee will continue its process to identify candidates to serve as our University's permanent academic leader. The search committee, which faithfully pursued its charge in the spring, has elected to continue its work, greatly enhancing the continuity of this important search process. To support the committee's work, we have selected and are finalizing details with a national search firm that specializes in executive searches exclusively for higher education and brings a valuable understanding of faith-based universities. I am grateful for the continued service of our search committee members and the leadership of co-chairs Cindy Riemenschneider, Ph.D., and Charles Weaver, Ph.D. Please keep the committee in your thoughts and prayers as they continue their work.
- As I shared last week, we are moving toward implementing a new cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in partnership with Oracle and Huron that will provide the financial and human resources technological infrastructure to support Illuminate and the University's future growth. As a team of staff members begins work on the implementation process, I ask for your help in naming the project. The team welcomes your suggestions, which can be emailed to project manager Becky King at Becky_King@baylor.edu. The deadline is Monday, July 30, and I look forward to sharing the chosen project name with you soon.
- Dr. Gary Carini and I provided an update on Illuminate during the annual retreat meeting last week of the Board of Regents, who remain very enthusiastic about our academic strategic plan. It was most exciting to share with them how faculty have been heavily engaged this summer developing an implementation process and building substance and structure around the Four Pillars and Five Strategic Initiatives before Illuminate's launch this fall. You also will be pleased to know that we have received excellent feedback on philanthropic support for the plan. In addition, the Board and I spent a full day with several state and national leaders discussing many of the significant issues and challenges facing higher education, as well as those unique to Christian institutions. We had a very productive day and a lot of great discussion as the University moves forward into a vibrant and bright future.
- As we resolve past reports of sexual and interpersonal violence within our campus community, we also will continue to experience periodic media coverage of legal proceedings. I wanted to make sure you have the University's full response to the most recent legal filings. I am very confident in Baylor's future and in the significant changes and reforms that have transformed the University under our new leadership team over the past two years. Our focus is ensuring and enriching a safe and welcoming educational environment for all students, faculty and staff. And as always, a reminder that Baylor offers many ways to report situations involving sexual and interpersonal violence, as well as expanded counseling and support services.
- One of my great joys as president is learning about our strong local partnerships and the deep impact they have on our community and the University. Two exciting partnerships, in particular, will engage local science teachers and civic-minded students next week. First, Baylor scientists and science educators, who received a recent EPA grant, will be at the Lake Waco Wetlands with 20 teachers for a field-based professional-development experience they can apply in their classrooms this fall. Then, 100 fifth- through ninth-graders, all aspiring to be active and engaged citizens, will be on our campus for the School of Education's weeklong iEngage Summer Civics Institute, which will include visits from Congressman Bill Flores, Waco City Council members and local civic leaders. The camp is in its sixth year, and research by SOE faculty and camp co-founders Brooke Blevins, Ph.D., and Karon LeCompte, Ph.D., shows iEngage increases children's understanding of community issues and the importance of civic responsibility.
There are so many great things happening at our University, and it's an honor to share just a few of them with you each week. Thank you for being part of the Baylor Family!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.