Presidential Perspective - February 24, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
One outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we have the ability to temporarily pivot to remote instruction and operations when winter weather conditions threaten. Gone are the days of waking up at 5 a.m. to see if it will be an ice or snow day. Of course, I fondly remember those snow days from when I was in college!
Technology has enabled our emergency management team to make quicker, more informed decisions without significantly impacting the academic progress of students, critical research in labs or the University’s support operations. After a remote start this morning, I pray you continue to stay warm and safe as the temperatures are expected to dip back into the mid-20s overnight.
Some updates for this week:
- I was extremely pleased that the Board of Regents unanimously passed a resolution on Friday in recognition of the faculty’s many contributions to Baylor’s recent rise to R1 status. The resolution expressed gratitude to the faculty “for their commitment to excellence in teaching and research and their unwavering dedication to advancing the University’s mission as Baylor seeks to address our world’s most significant challenges and to shine forth as the light of Christ.” Board Chair Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87, and I look forward to formally presenting the resolution to the Faculty Senate at an upcoming meeting.
- All eyes will be on Baylor Saturday morning as ESPN’s College Gameday returns to the Ferrell Center for the second time in three seasons. Additionally, Saturday has been declared a “white out” for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams against Kansas in their key Big 12 – and national – matchups. Here are all the key times so you can set reminders on your phone:
- Student Lock-in at Ferrell: Friday at 9 p.m., doors close at midnight.
- ESPN College Gameday: Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for Lock-in students, 8:40 a.m. for non-Lock-in students and 8:45 a.m. for general fans. The live broadcast begins at 10 a.m.
- Women’s Basketball vs. Kansas at 2 p.m.
- Men’s Basketball vs. Kansas at 7 p.m., doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Note: Students participating in the Lock-in will receive priority seating for Gameday, as well as student tickets for the men’s game.
- I would like to congratulate the more than 5,000 undergraduate students whose outstanding academic work over the fall and summer semesters was recognized on the Dean’s Academic Honor List. Students on the Dean’s List earned a minimum semester grade-point average of 3.70, with no grade lower than a “C” while enrolled in at least 12 graded semester hours. We share this great news with students’ hometown news outlets, but I also wanted to extend my personal congratulations to our Dean’s List students for their excellence in the classroom.
- March is Women’s History Month, and several departments have joined together to host a variety of educational events and activities. The month-long recognition starts this Tuesday, March 1 (I can’t believe next week is March!) with a lecture and concludes with a Multicultural Women’s Symposium on March 26. The full schedule can be found here (PDF).
- Some GOOD news on the I-35 construction project through Waco: After we get through our latest bout of winter weather, TxDOT on Monday will begin implementing the FINAL mainlane traffic shifts on I-35 in anticipation of completing the project by early 2023. And more good news closer to campus as we expect 4th Street and Dutton Avenue to reopen this spring, while the 11th/12th Street underpass should reopen in mid-2022. In the meantime, it’s always a good idea to know before you go by checking waco4bmap.org for real-time traffic and pedestrian crossing information on I-35 through Waco.
- The news from Ukraine today is extremely difficult to hear. On our campus, our International Student and Scholar Services team in the Center for Global Engagement is in the process of reaching out to our students from Ukraine to offer our continued support and guidance during this difficult and deeply unsettling time. We remain in prayer for those in harm’s way, for our students, faculty and alumni with connections to Ukraine and for our U.S. and world leaders as they work to find a solution to this conflict reverberating around the world.
One thing about the spring semester – there’s never any downtime! After a fun Saturday of basketball, be sure to drop by the Ferrell Center on Sunday as our top-ranked Acrobatics & Tumbling team hosts No. 3 Oregon at 3 p.m. There’s even a $1 ticket offer to support Baylor A&T.
Sic ’em, Bears!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Here’s the scene from the last time ESPN’s College Gameday visited Baylor and the Ferrell Center during the 2020 season. Saturday’s games against Kansas will again be “white out,” with free t-shirts provided to all fans in attendance Saturday night.