Presidential Perspective - September 6, 2018

September 6, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

One of the many exciting aspects of a new academic year is the opportunity to meet and engage with our faculty and staff members. Today at 4 p.m., I am heading to a reception in the President's Suite at McLane Stadium in honor of Baylor's faculty and staff of color, which is being hosted by the Provost's Office. The diversity of God's created world is an integral part of its majesty. Baylor holds an unwavering commitment to fostering and nurturing the diversity of our students, faculty and staff. More than that, we celebrate our diversity, which lies at the core of our mission to transform lives and serve others.

Here are several campus happenings that may be of interest:

  • Baylor's official enrollment for the fall semester was announced today at 17,217 students, including 14,188 undergraduate students and 3,029 graduate and professional students. This year's student body continues to be Baylor's most diverse ever at 35.3 percent, and our undergraduate retention and graduation rates continue to rise at a record pace. There's more good news as we welcomed a freshman class of 3,366 students – our most academically qualified freshman class ever and right at our enrollment projections. What an ongoing testament to Baylor's strength and resilience!
  • You may be surprised to learn that Moody Memorial Library welcomes more than a million visitors each year. And 2018 marks a special milestone for Moody, as we celebrate the library's 50th anniversary as Baylor's "academic life center.” Our library colleagues are hosting a come-and-go "birthday party” next Friday, Sept. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m., complete with birthday cake, vintage photo displays, walking tours and, of course, music from 1968! Learn more at www.baylor.edu/library/moody50.
  • I love hearing our outstanding faculty share their expertise on the national stage. Last Friday, Candi Cann, Ph.D., associate professor in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core in the Honors College, was a guest on NPR's popular "Science Friday” program. Dr. Cann, author of "Virtual Afterlives: Grieving the Dead in the 21st Century,” joined host Ira Flatow from the KWBU-FM studios on campus to discuss how social media and other digital platforms are helping people grieve. If you missed the segment, you can listen here.
  • Researchers in Baylor's Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences have studied the impact of a supplemental drivers' education program on teenage risk perception and driving behaviors in an article in Transportation Research. The research team, led by Beth A. Lanning, Ph.D., associate chair and associate professor of public health, found the greatest change at the end of the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program was teens' greater awareness of speeding hazards and peer influence on drinking and driving. More research is needed, but the early findings support the need for more reality-based programs in driver's education to make a difference in actual behavior behind the wheel.
  • The annual Fall Staff Forum will be held at the Ferrell Center next Wednesday, Sept. 12, with doors and buffet lines opening at 11:30 a.m. We will hear from nationally renowned author Sheila Heen, who will share on "the science and art of receiving feedback (even when it is off-base, unfair, poorly delivered, and frankly, you're not in the mood).” Come for fellowship, door prizes and a learning opportunity to help our staff continue to contribute to Baylor's bright future. Immediately following, there will be a special session for staff managers, with registration currently available in BaylorCompass.

I must admit that Saturday evening's volleyball match is going to be a challenge for the First Gent and me. As you all know, we both bleed green and gold, but our hearts will be with our daughter, Shelby, as her Rice Owls face our Bears at 7 p.m. at the Ferrell Center. So, for this Saturday, #SicEm and #GoOwls!

Here's to a great remainder of the week, and thanks for being part of the Baylor Family.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

President

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