Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
This week reminds me of a popular nursery rhyme: "Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day …" The Brazos River next to campus has become a raging waterway due to all of the rain, and the temperatures certainly don't feel like mid-October. But it's a good time to grab some coffee from Common Grounds, stay indoors and study, research or simply read a good book. Hopefully, we will see the sun again soon.
Here are several campus happenings that may be of interest:
- Baylor has once again received high marks as a "Best Value School" by U.S. News & World Report. Specifically, Baylor ranked 57th nationally for the value provided by the Baylor experience, which ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 3 in Texas. U.S. News looked at academic quality, overall ranking, net cost of attendance and financial aid numbers to rank the Best Value Schools. This ranking is Baylor's latest value-driven accolade, alongside recognition from Kiplinger's Personal Finance, where Baylor has been named a "Best College Value" eight of the last 10 years.
- Why is Baylor investing in research? This is a common question as I visit with members of the Baylor Family to discuss Illuminate and our goal to become a preeminent Christian research university. Truell Hyde, Ph.D., Baylor's vice provost for research, also tackled this question during a recent Baylor Connections podcast in conjunction with KWBU-FM. You can download this important podcast here, as well as listen to many of our University leaders providing insights on activities across the campus each week.
- I am inspired each and every day by our outstanding faculty, who provide our students with active scholarship and inspiring mentorship that has long been part of the Baylor undergraduate experience. For more than three decades, the late history professor and Master Teacher James Vardaman profoundly influenced the lives of thousands of Baylor students in the classroom and on study abroad journeys. Today, his legacy lives on through the immense generosity of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation and former students and colleagues who contributed to establish The James Vardaman Endowed Professorship of History. The inaugural holder of the Vardaman Professorship is another distinguished historian and scholar, our own Dr. Thomas S. Kidd, furthering Dr. Vardaman's legacy of excellence in teaching and leadership.
- The beginning phase of Ignite, Baylor's cloud-based finance and human resources system, is currently underway. Ignite will change the way Baylor works to support Illuminate by simplifying and standardizing the University's processes and technology to allow more faculty and staff to focus on Baylor's mission and serve our students. I am happy to announce the project website has launched, which provides more information about the two-year project's scope and timeline.
- October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we are excited to welcome leaders from HCA Healthcare, Allergan, PwC, Walmart and Splunk to visit with deans and faculty about our Data Sciences initiative as part of Illuminate, as well as to engage the Baylor community in a conversation about health data security. A panel discussion will take place in Foster 240 at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24. Also, on Tuesday, Oct. 23, the second annual Baylor HackFest will take place at 6 p.m. in Cashion. There will be an interactive exhibition featuring the latest cybersecurity exploits and an eight-team "king of the mountain" competition that includes Baylor's award-winning cyber defense team. You are invited to experience what it means to be "BearAware" with your personal information in our highly connected world.
- The Baylor University Police Department will be participating again in the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Take-Back Day, which is a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. The official take-back event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at BUPD in the Speight Parking Garage. BUPD will accept prescription medications beginning Monday, Oct. 22.
This is an exciting time in the life of our University, and I cannot wait for Homecoming in a couple of weeks. Thank you for being part of the Baylor Family.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.