Message from the Dean
A Welcome to Baylor from Dr. Lee C. Nordt
Dean of the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences
Welcome to the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor University! The demand for a Baylor education has never been greater, the breadth and depth of our student body and faculty is ever increasing, and we are ranked as one of the nation’s best places to work. We are also ranked as a Carnegie R1 Very High Research Activity Doctoral University, while at the same time having a nationally recognized core curriculum. Our campus facilities continue to expand to accommodate program growth at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
The College of Arts & Sciences has been honored to play a significant role in the success of Baylor through the years. With 25 departments representing the sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and the arts, we are Baylor’s largest and most diverse academic unit. Our departments, organized along the lines of each academic discipline, prepare our undergraduates to excel in research and innovation and to thrive as they pursue graduate and professional studies, leadership positions in the workplace, and lifelong learning opportunities.
Our undergraduate Unified Core Curriculum emphasizes a liberal education characterized by critical thinking, communication, civic engagement, and Christian commitment. Our faculty take seriously the responsibilities this calls for –– to deliver excellent core courses, to inspire and mentor all Baylor students to master core competencies, and to provide effective teaching, aided by the cutting edge technology in our classrooms.
In addition, we confer numerous degrees each year at the masters and doctoral levels, and as with undergraduate studies, across the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and fine arts. About three-fourths of all PhD degrees at Baylor are conferred each year in the College of Arts & Sciences, and many of our graduate programs are nationally ranked.
Among other things, Illuminate, Baylor's academic strategic plan, and A&Spire to Illuminate, the College of Arts & Sciences strategic plan created to help achieve the goals of Illuminate, state that we will emphasize the health sciences in the coming decades. “Baylor” is the preeminent name in health care across the state of Texas. It is reflected in entities that include not only Baylor University in Waco, but Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the Baylor Health Care System in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and now Baylor Scott & White across Texas as well.
To that end, almost one-half of the freshmen entering the College of Arts & Sciences each year declare some sort of prehealth career track. To be a leader in the health requires an ability to see the challenges ahead in a highly competitive and ever-changing enterprise. To do this, the College of Arts & Sciences will emphasize during the coming decade the hiring of health faculty to build strengths in undergraduate and graduate course offerings, to provide greater opportunities for undergraduate research experiences and to produce more scholarly research important to society.
Preparing the next generation of healthcare leaders is only one of the goals of the College of Arts & Sciences, however. Over the years we have educated tens of thousands of students who excel as ministers, educators, artists and writers, lawmakers and public servants, researchers, counselors, diplomats and attorneys. A significant number of Arts & Sciences graduates also go on to play significant roles in the private sector as business leaders and entrepreneurs.
As Baylor continues on the path to become a nationally recognized research university, we have developed expertise in a number of scholarly disciplines within the College of Arts & Sciences. We have made it a priority to build our research profile without abandoning our emphasis on excellent teaching as an important expectation of our faculty. In fact, teaching and research should be viewed as one in the same –– one informs the other. We should not only be disseminators of information to our students, but also the creators of new knowledge that we bring into the classroom, and to society as a whole.
The College of Arts & Sciences is deeply committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and multiculturalism within its classrooms, its research spaces, the campus, and the wider community. As Christians and as citizens of a multicultural democracy, we are inspired to promote a culture of care and respect for all people as we confront issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in America and the world. In research, scholarship, teaching, and service, we are committed to bringing diverse experiences and perspectives to the academic table, knowing that only with an array of voices can we nurture and discover the dynamic, creative, and cutting-edge ideas that help us promote human flourishing and advance better solutions to societal challenges.
As you become part of Baylor University's proud tradition that extends back to 1845, I encourage you to enjoy your time here, both inside and outside the classroom. It is our great desire that when you leave here, you will reflect our University’s mission by being well prepared for worldwide service and leadership. May your years at Baylor be ones of joy, growth and fulfillment.