Founded on February 1, 1845, and animated by the spirit of pioneering Baptists in the Republic of Texas, Baylor has served as a source of illumination and inspiration to the surrounding world. As we celebrate 175 years of leadership and service to Texas, Baylor is also looking to the future with an eye on aligning its strengths and research capabilities with the needs and challenges facing fellow Texans.
A changing landscape
In January, Baylor and the Texas Business Journals unveiled the results of a research partnership that provide insights from business leaders across the state. Nearly 600 Texas business leaders responded to surveys during November on topics related to the state’s business landscape, growth projections, concerns facing businesses and the role of higher education in preparing the workforce and partnering to find solutions to industry challenges.
“Education is the backbone of our economy,” said Baylor University President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., upon the release of the findings. “As the business landscape grows and adapts to changing technologies, resource availability, regulations and worldwide competition, higher education must be nimble in the ways it prepares graduates to contribute to the future of a wide range of industries.”
Among the survey’s key findings:
- Eight in 10 business leaders say their company is somewhat or extremely involved in solving industry problems; the same number believe universities should be involved as well.
- Two-thirds of respondents believe universities have a moral responsibility to engage in research and discovery.
- Nearly three-quarters of business leaders believe it is important for Texas to have more research universities in the state to be competitive.
Positioned for growth
University and business partnerships remain of key interest to leaders across the nation and in Texas, with research universities serving as economic engines in their regions. In August 2019, Baylor officially announced plans to pursue Research 1/Tier 1 recognition as a doctoral institution with the “highest research activity” as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 50 “Most Innovative Schools” in the country, Baylor is committed to providing opportunities for all students to enhance their learning through out-of-classroom experiences such as research.
Baylor also is engaged in a $1.1 billion comprehensive philanthropic campaign called Give Light. This campaign will undergird Illuminate, the university’s strategic plan, and will affect every aspect of campus life — academics, athletics, student life and service learning — while also bolstering financial support for students and the campus community.
Guided by such aspirations and fueled with this generous financial support, Baylor is positioned to influence Texas businesses, communities and public institutions to an even greater degree as the next R1 university in the state.
On our historic campus in Waco and in our academic programs in other parts of the state, Baylor is putting hands and feet to our vision of becoming a top research university, built on our historic Christian mission.
Baylor is accelerating its quest toward R1 designation for the betterment of the surrounding world, not simply to boost its academic reputation. By bringing resources to bear on key interdisciplinary research areas in which the institution already possesses institutional strengths, our work will translate into programs that have a growing impact on the world. These initiatives range from expanding programs in health, data sciences and materials science to Baylor in Latin America and human flourishing and ethics.
Preeminent universities function as centers of intellectual dynamism, with faculty members whose research and creative endeavors are at the forefront of scientific innovation and human betterment. Research universities also train the next generation of scientists and researchers, providing foundations for those who will go on to create and lead new industries made possible by future discoveries. Baylor’s research also focuses its energy on challenges facing Texas. Among these:
- Daniel Romo and John Wood are co-directors of Baylor’s CPRIT Synthesis and Drug-Lead Discovery Laboratory, where their research discovers building blocks that lead to breakthroughs in treatment for those with cancer, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
- Travelers enjoy peace of mind thanks to David Jack’s materials science research, which provides non-destructive methods to scan and assess the integrity of airplane parts before they fly; the Air Force, L3Harris, NASA and others have partnered with Jack in his groundbreaking research.
- In harsh shrublands along the U.S./Mexico border, Lori Baker and colleagues from the organization she founded, “Reuniting Families,” conduct the grueling work of discovering, identifying and repatriating immigrants who lose their lives during their northward journey, so that families can find closure and healing amidst the loss.
- An internationally-recognized leader in water, the environment and health, Bryan Brooks’ transdisciplinary research addresses issues of urban growth, water resources, public health and more, and leads the way in bringing stakeholders from academia, government and business together to address the global need for clean water.
- For soldiers in combat, one of the greatest mortal threats comes from blood loss; Erica Bruce’s patent of a resuscitative drug to carry oxygen to organs even after major blood loss incidents could dramatically enhance the likelihood of survival and support soldiers in the field until they can get the further care they need.
Baylor has been serving the people Texas and beyond since 1845. Rooted in this rich history, the University’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends are excited about the future. Baylor’s pursuit of R1 status and commitment to the integration of academic and teaching excellence with a distinctly Christian identity is creating great momentum for the University to have an ever-increasing, transformative impact on our students, on higher education, on Texas and on the world.