A Summary of Progress by the Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force

May 3, 2017

In June 2016, the Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force was formed to re-energize a focus around the University’s Christian mission. Chaired by Executive Vice President and Provost L. Gregory Jones, the 20-member Task Force includes representatives from Baylor faculty, staff and students guided by the conviction that Baylor’s Christian mission should animate the entire life of the University.

The Task Force’s three working groups have been led by Darin Davis (Vice President for University Mission), Kevin Jackson (Vice President for Student Life) and Lori Baker (Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Collaboration and Leadership Development).

The members of the Task Force have been diligently working through the fall and spring semesters to assess and develop key touchpoints for University-wide spiritual formation, character formation and collaboration. A faculty research team was commissioned by the Task Force to identify ways in which the University is cultivating Christian character and spiritual life among students. The Task Force has enhanced efforts to recruit, hire and develop faculty and staff colleagues who embrace and contribute to Baylor’s mission as a Christian research university. Programming in three key areas also has been a focus of the Task Force. 

  1. New programs and initiatives to cultivate character in the classroom
    • Forming Character in the Classroom Workshops began this spring. Four workshops offered over the course of the semester explored teaching practices that cultivate intellectual and moral virtue in the classroom. More than 140 faculty attended.
    • Character Across the Curriculum Initiative will launch this summer to enable faculty to design new courses to nurture moral character across the academic disciplines.
    • During the 2017-18 academic year, the Baylor Fellows Program, which identifies and supports a select cohort of faculty, will focus on effective teaching practices that deepen character formation in the classroom.
  2. Existing and new programing to help deepen students’ spiritual life, attention to matters of character and understanding of vocation as a Christian calling
    • Beginning Fall 2017, Baylor’s Chapel services will engage students in the Gospel teaching of Luke 10:27: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
    • Line Camp and other first-year student activities, will incorporate new programing intentionally focused on the importance of friendship, Christian calling and storytelling.
  3. Expanded opportunities to develop the virtues of servant leadership throughout the University
    • Beginning Summer 2017, enhanced staff development opportunities that integrate Baylor’s Christian mission and identity, as well as its commitment to character formation, will be offered.
    • A pilot leadership program, introduced in Spring 2017, enhanced leadership pathways for Baylor students whose faith commitments are expressed through service to the community and the church. The program will continue in Fall 2017.
    • The Baylor Young Scholars Program was launched in a pilot phase in Fall 2016 to foster the next generation of Baylor faculty and administrators, with a particular focus on those from underrepresented groups. This program will continue in Fall 2017.

The Task Force is committed to providing long-term, strategic direction for the spiritual life and cultivation of character across the University. To provide input regarding these topics and to view the members of the Task Force, visit baylor.edu/slcf.