Presidential Perspective - May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Baylor’s new Summer of Discovery is in full swing, as we’ve completed the May minimester and the Summer I session begins on Tuesday, June 2, through July 7. All told, we are expecting Baylor’s largest summer enrollment in at least 20 years as we continue course instruction via online delivery due to COVID-19. This summer also is unique in that we anticipate approximately 500 of this fall’s incoming freshman class will get a head start on their Baylor academic journey along with nearly 300 rising high school seniors who are being introduced to college through many innovative course bundles.

A reminder that we are offering discounted summer tuition rates for current students as well. Our statistics show that four-year graduation rates are 15 percent higher for students who take summer classes at any point during their time at Baylor compared to students who do not take any summer classes.

Registration is still available for the Summer I session, as well as for Summer II, which runs from July 9-Aug. 12.

Some additional information for you this week ...

  • We understand that many of you have questions regarding the start of the fall semester Aug. 24 and our return to an on-campus educational environment. Our Project 8.24 Team is working through many planning scenarios as we make decisions that are right for Baylor and our students, faculty and staff, not simply to follow other universities. We anticipate sharing some fall-related updates with you next week.
  • Our five-phase plan for faculty, staff and students to return to campus work transitions to the next phase this Monday, June 1. As our campus becomes more active, we must continue to remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19. Please remember the following safety precautions:
    • Practice social distancing by putting at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
    • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
    • Clean and then disinfect frequently used surfaces.
    • Cover coughs/sneezes with a tissue or inside of your elbow.
    • Monitor your health, and stay home if you’re sick.
    • Avoid touching your face.

    The First Gent and I also take the added precaution of wearing face coverings while out in public. We do this for our own safety, as well as out of respect and for the safety of others. We both encourage you to do the same.

  • We are a few days away from the launch of Ignite, our new cloud-based administrative system for faculty, staff and student-workers. As we near Monday’s go-live date, members of the Ignite team asked a few well-known office workers from the hit TV show “The Office” to weigh in on the transformational project. Be sure to tune in for another episode of “The Baylor Office” on Monday as we launch Ignite.
  • As we pursue our aspirations as the preeminent Christian research university, we believe the “world needs a Baylor” to bring its significant Christian voice to the table on issues of importance. This spring, three faculty members were named Editors-in-Chief of the influential journals in their disciplines: Bryan W. Brooks, Ph.D., with the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology Letters; Perry L. Glanzer, Ph.D., with the premier outlet for Christian scholarship, Christian Scholar’s Review; and Danielle E. Parrish, Ph.D., with the Journal of Social Work Education, published by the Council on Social Work Education. It’s an opportunity – and great responsibility – to have Baylor’s Christian viewpoint leading the way in pursuit of research excellence that contributes to solutions to some of society’s most challenging problems.
  • I love cheering for our student-athletes, not just for their success in the various sports, but the way Baylor Athletics is Preparing Champions for Life. The NCAA’s recent Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores demonstrate Baylor’s academic excellence as nine teams – men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, volleyball, soccer, softball, women’s tennis and women’s track and field – registered perfect one-year APR scores of 1,000. In addition, the prestigious NCAA Public Recognition Award went to men’s cross country, men’s golf and volleyball for earning multi-year APR rates in the top 10 percent for their sport. To top it off, Baylor has the highest multi-year rate for all Big 12-sponsored sports.
  • If you are looking for a way to stay connected to Baylor over the summer months, be sure to subscribe to our weekly podcast, Baylor Connections, which also airs Fridays at 11 a.m. in Waco on KWBU 103.3FM. The 30-minute interview program hosted by Derek Smith features the people behind Baylor’s teaching, research and distinct role in higher education, while also providing additional information and context to issues facing the University and higher education. Recent guests include yours truly, faculty researchers such as Daniel Romo, Ph.D.; Pedro Reyes, Ph.D.; and tomorrow Ramon Lavado, Ph.D.; and Director of Student Activities Matt Burchett, Ph.D.; who discussed keeping Baylor students connected during COVID-19.

Here’s to a great, official start of the summer months!

Praying for you daily,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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