Provost's Message

November 3, 2010

I find it a very great honor--and no small responsibility--to take up the president's charge to oversee our strategic planning process. While the Apostle Paul reminds us to redeem all the time given to us, it seems that this moment is an especially important one in the life of this university. Thus, the call to be a steward of Baylor is not mine alone: we all share the burden to evaluate where we have been and, using our expertise and various perspectives, envision where we are to go.

In "Envisioning our Future," I first call attention to the commitments that have guided us and will continue to guide us. I also point to the historic purpose of Baylor so aptly enshrined in "Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana." While our commitments speak to our character as a Christian university, our purpose sends our gaze toward the proper ends of our common work.

Our specific call, at this critical moment, is to employ our collective imagination to determine the next steps to which our commitment and purpose point. The stakes are very high. Business as usual will not suffice in a period of unprecedented change in higher education, in the face of globalization, and in a time of unprecedented pluralism and contesting of cultural and religious particularism. We must use all of our creativity to chart the many ways Baylor University can, and should, connect its commitments to its purpose to serve both church and world.

To remind us about who we are, I have provided Baylor's mission statement, foundational assumptions, core convictions and unifying academic themes. To ground where we are currently, I have provided our most recent annual report. To help us envision our future, that is, where we are to go, I pose several questions that address the responsibilities identified by our mission statement: Education (undergraduates, graduate and graduate professional students, scholarly productivity/creative endeavors) Christian Commitment, and Community.

As you read through these documents, and especially as you ponder the questions in "Envisioning our Future," think about what Baylor might be ten or fifteen years from now. How should our influence be felt in the graduates we produce, in the scholarship we create, and in the communities in which we live and serve? Ahead of us lies the opportunity to do many things, but we must consider the best path for Baylor to take as a national research university that resolutely embraces its Christian identity. We occupy a distinctive place in higher education; all of us need to participate in determining how we can best act in this privileged position.

After you have spent time reflecting on the information available to you, please go to the Share Your Ideas section of the website for instructions for providing your comments.

Thank you in advance for your service to Baylor.

Elizabeth Davis
Elizabeth Davis
Executive Vice President and Provost