Overview of Progress During Baylor 2012
Adopted by the Board of Regents in September 2001, Baylor 2012 called for the institution to embark on a purposeful refocusing of institutional efforts and resources. It directed a period of significant growth and impact on all aspects of University life. In Baylor 2012, the institution asserted its intention to enter the top tier of American research universities while deepening its Christian commitment. As stated in Baylor 2012, “We believe that the highest intellectual excellence is fully compatible with orthodox Christian devotion. Indeed, the two are not only compatible but mutually reinforcing.”
By all indications, we have made remarkable progress. We nurtured our ability to lead faithful lives within the University community and to allow our faith to inform our work. At the same time, we cultivated our faculty’s expertise and built infrastructure to participate more fully in the community of scholars. As a result, Baylor is now classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University with High Research Activity. What follows highlights additional notable accomplishments of the past decade.
During the decade of Baylor 2012 the University added 238 full-time faculty positions, increasing the total full-time faculty to 935 in fiscal year (FY) 2012. More than three-fourths of the faculty hired over this period earned their doctoral degree from institutions in Carnegie’s highest category — Research University with Very High Research Activity. The vast majority of this growth in the faculty was concentrated in the humanities (approximately 32%), natural sciences (approximately 20%), and social sciences (approximately 14%). Part of the faculty growth supported the establishment of an Honors College in 2002 and the creation of the School of Social Work in 2005 from what was previously a department in the College of Arts and Sciences.
This increase in the number of faculty lowered the student to faculty ratio from 18:1 in fall 2001 to 14:1 in fall 2011, even as total undergraduate enrollment gradually increased from 12,190 to 12,575 (3.2%) over the same period. Graduate and professional enrollment grew by nearly 21%, from 2,031 in fall 2001 to 2,454 in fall 2011. Concurrently, the University added 377 full-time staff positions, for a total of 1,398 in FY 2012, maintaining the staff to faculty ratio at approximately 1.4:1.
During the period of Baylor 2012, the University increased the number of PhD programs it offered from 14 to 23, including three new programs in the humanities, two in education, three in the sciences/engineering, and one in business. Sponsored research funding generated by the faculty increased by 75%, from approximately $8 million in FY 2002 to slightly more than $14 million in FY 2011.
To bolster the infrastructure supporting Baylor’s growing research activities, the University pursued two major science facilities projects during Baylor 2012. The first was the Baylor Sciences Building, which opened in fall 2004. This 500,000-square-foot facility houses the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, Physics, and Psychology/Neuroscience, and includes 33 classrooms, approximately 160 faculty offices, and more than 150 teaching and research labs. The second is the development of the Central Texas Technology & Research Park, anchored by the Baylor Research & Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) to provide a unique blend of university research, industry, workforce development and training, public symposia, and business start-up support space focused on science and engineering. Phase I of this renovation began in July 2010 and was completed in April 2012. Phase II is under way and the BRIC is expected to be at full operation in mid-2016.
Over the course of Baylor 2012, the University has attracted an increasingly diverse and capable student body at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. By fall 2011, minority students accounted for nearly 33% of the student population, up from approximately 24% in fall 2001. First-time freshmen enrolling in fall 2011 had average SAT scores of 1236, an increase from 1176 in fall 2001. Over the same time period, average GRE scores for graduate students increased from 1080 to 1214, average GMAT scores for MBA students increased from 583 to 617, and median LSAT scores for law students increased from 157 to 162. As a means of continuing to make Baylor financially accessible, unfunded (non-endowed) scholarship aid increased from $25 million in FY 2002 to almost $125 million in FY 2012.
With the opening of the North Village Residential Community in fall 2004 and Brooks Village in fall 2007, the University increased its housing inventory by almost 1,000 beds, allowing the percentage of undergraduates living on campus to increase to 36%, up from 28% at the outset of Baylor 2012. The Brooks Village complex includes a new dining hall and Robbins Chapel. During this same period, the University made substantive improvements to Memorial, Dawson, and Kokernot residence halls, including creating faculty-in-residence apartments, adding classrooms, renovating lobbies, and reopening the chapel that previously had been closed in Memorial. By the final year of Baylor 2012, more than 1,400 undergraduates were participating in Living-Learning Centers, in which residential halls partner with academic units to offer students shared courses, enhanced academic programming opportunities, and on-site academic and success services to promote student flourishing.
Since the beginning of Baylor 2012, the University has added 1.8 million square feet of new building space, an increase of approximately 25%. In addition to those described earlier (the Baylor Sciences Building, BRIC, North Village, and Brooks Village), the past decade also saw the opening of the new home of the George W. Truett Seminary, seven new on-campus athletic facilities, three parking garages, and the complete renovation of the Sid Richardson Building.
The Resident Chaplain program has grown from an initial 2001 cohort of five chaplains, funded through a Lilly Foundation grant, to a permanent ministry team of 12 George W. Truett Theological Seminary students. These seminarians play an instrumental role in providing pastoral care to students and integrating Christian spiritual formation into the fabric of University student life.
Established in 2004, the Academy for Leader Development and Civic Engagement has offered curricular and co-curricular intentional learning and leadership development opportunities for up to 880 students per year.
During Baylor 2012, discipline-specific mission trips have allowed more than 1,200 Baylor students, faculty, and staff to engage in mission service drawing on their education, training, and professional talents. Mission teams have served in many international locations as well as urban areas of need within the U.S., offering basic health care, literacy promotion, technological infrastructure, and religious education. As part of each trip, students have engaged in designated readings, shared discussions, and personal journaling to ensure thoughtful reflection about the mission experience.
Inaugurated in 2004, a New Student Experience course was implemented to assist entering students as they make the transition to Baylor. The course establishes and nurtures relationships with faculty and other entering students in and outside of the classroom. Beginning with dinner in the home of a faculty member during Welcome Week, students are provided opportunities to connect to Baylor, engage in spiritual formation, and develop tools for academic success.
These accomplishments, among many others, show that we have made remarkable progress on the ambitious goals set out for us by Baylor 2012. We celebrate the successes of the past decade. Yet we realize that our efforts to deepen our Christian commitment, by their very nature, should never cease; we still have considerable work to do to position Baylor as a preeminent Research University with Very High Research Activity. Indeed, we are inspired as we continue to grow and be known as a national research university that resolutely embraces its Christian identity.