Provost Newsletter - August 2023

August 14, 2023

Dear Colleagues,  

Fall 2023 is here! Let me give you a bit of a preview of what you can expect for this forthcoming fall semester. 

We have a great class of new undergraduates. While exact numbers will fluctuate until the 12th class day, we expect approximately 3,350 students. This cohort of students has more Texans than last year and is one of the most diverse classes of undergraduates in Baylor's history. We will also be welcoming approximately 125 new faculty members. Not only is this an unusually talented and mission-committed cohort of faculty, but they also are the most diverse cohort of new faculty at Baylor.  

This will be our first class of undergraduate students to have the opportunity provided by the Baylor Benefit program. This program provides full tuition to students coming from families that make $50K or less annually. We are working to continue to improve the graduation and retention of all our students, especially those with the most financial challenges. Overall, we anticipate Baylor’s highest-ever first-year retention rates and four-year graduation rates. While this is great news, there is still a lot of room for improvement in comparison to our peer institutions.  

In the past, outcome measures such as graduation and retention rates counted as 40% of the score for US News and World Report Rankings. We have been notified that the methodology for these rankings has changed. We will know more about these changes after they have been released in late September. We expect that these outcome measures will be more important in the rankings formula and that there will be new measures of social mobility. This simply means the work we are now doing is increasingly important, not solely for the rankings but foremost for our students.  

This fall, we will also launch a new electronic research administration system, known as CARA (Compliance And Research Administration). CARA will be important for the efficient management of external grants as well as for providing more robust support for federally compliant research processes. Outside activities are expected at a research institution, and transparency in reporting is paramount to protecting both individual faculty/staff and the university in a rapidly changing compliance landscape. Along with the new system, we will also be implementing new policies that will provide clearer guidance on the reporting of outside activities. This policy will apply to everyone, regardless of whether they receive external funding.   

Make sure you are available when your unit is scheduled for a listening session with members of the Strategic Planning Committee (SPG). Updates on this process, including opportunities to submit white papers, are available on the SPG website

See you soon! 

Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D.

Outside Activities and Financial Interests Disclosures

Baylor University is pleased to announce our third CARA module that will help manage outside activities and financial interests. As noted by the provost above, CARA is designed to minimize process roadblocks, streamline the disclosure processes, and increase institutional compliance.

All faculty, staff, and researchers will disclose their outside activities and interests in CARA beginning in September. For faculty and staff, CARA replaces the current disclosure form in Ignite. For researchers, CARA replaces the current form and consolidates annual disclosure data with related research certifications, such as institutional review board (IRB) studies and funding proposals.

Training dates for faculty, staff, and researchers will be offered toward the end of August and into the beginning of September. Stay tuned for more information, and please direct any questions to

Office of the Provost Staffing Updates

We have recently welcomed some new team members to the Office of the Provost and had several title changes. Take a look at the Office of the Provost directory to learn more!

Revised Survey Guidelines

The most recent revision (May 8, 2023) of the Survey Guidelines addresses coordination with other activities, ethics and anonymity, high-quality design and dissemination, consistency with IRB guidelines and FERPA law, and survey fatigue. Institutional Research (IR) has taken the lead on this and included input from various groups on campus prior to provost and President’s Council approval. Please let Kathleen Morley or Gary Carini know if you have any questions. 


Vice Provost’s Corner 


Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

As faculty prepare for the start of a new semester, good pedagogy and smart syllabi are on everyone’s mind! Consider taking advantage of the great resources for curricular design available to you at Baylor. Our Learning Design team offers a convenient program called LDJIT (Learning Design Just in Time) with modules created and curated to support busy faculty. LDJIT provides evidence-based learning design best practices at a time and place of your choosing. The Learning Design team is available for program, small-group, or individual consultations; email them at

Faculty who may be teaching in online or hybrid environments, please consider signing up for DIVE (Designing Instruction for Virtual Engagement), a six-week online program about the theory and practice of designing and teaching high-quality online and hybrid courses. The course includes both asynchronous components and a 1-hour online synchronous discussion each week.  

And, as always, you can go to the Office of the Provost’s website for a useful set of standard syllabus statements. These are designed to help faculty incorporate information about Baylor resources and to guide clear language about instructional preferences. Pay special attention to the section regarding a range of approaches to the use of AI (artificial intelligence) in courses. 

Vice Provost for Global Engagement

Short-Term Study Abroad Faculty Compensation

As a reminder, starting summer of 2024, faculty compensation for short-term study abroad will shift away from using percentages of faculty base salaries. The new compensation will be $7,500 per 3-credit course. This change makes budgets more predictable for planning and programs more accessible for students. All faculty compensation for short-term study abroad follows Baylor policy BUPP-745 as recently revised and approved. 

Vice Provost for Institutional Research and Professional Education 

Graduate Professional Education (GPE): New Program Guidelines

As you think about proposing new GPE programs, let us partner with you. We have set up a “Professional Education Program Resources” Box folder that has all the resources you will need to include, from an inquiry form to proposal and executive summary templates. Examples of other GPE proposals are also available in Box. We look to continuing to grow, and the GPE team is here to support the drafting of proposals and bringing programs online for future Bears. 

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education & Academic Affairs

Update to Class Attendance Policy

During the 2022-2023 academic year, Vice Provost Wes Null and Faculty Athletics Representative Carson Mencken worked with numerous units across campus and the Faculty Senate to update Baylor’s Class Attendance policy.  The change is a new paragraph pertaining to varsity student-athletes (paragraph five in the policy). Review the revised policy on Baylor's risk management website.

Reminder about Academic Convocation

All faculty are encouraged to join President Livingstone, Provost Brickhouse, and our new students for Academic Convocation this fall on August 18, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Ferrell Center (participating faculty should plan to be present and robed at 9:30 in the Stone Room).  Dr. Rishi Sriram from the School of Education will give a keynote address as we welcome matriculating students into our academic community.  Please join us as you are able!

Academy for Teaching & Learning (ATL): Sign Up for Exciting Fall Opportunities!

Happening again this fall! Join us for the STEM Education Journal Club to chat about research on teaching and learning in STEM fields. This journal club is open to anyone interested – register online. Learn more on the STEM Education Journal Club website.  

Upcoming Seminars for Excellence in Teaching: 


Spotlight on the Academy 


College of Arts & Sciences

Inauguration of the New Transmission Electron Microscope

Baylor University recently obtained a new multimillion-dollar transmission electron microscope at the Center for Microscopy and Imaging. This state-of-the-art flagship microscope is one of a kind in its field and will have a tremendous impact on Baylor research for many years to come. The microscope has the capability to magnify several million times and can image cell membranes, proteins, and even atoms. There will be an inauguration of this powerful microscope, with instrument demonstration, on August 29th from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Baylor Sciences Building Room D109. 

George W. Truett Theological Seminary

Save The Date: African American Preaching Conference

Truett Seminary invites you to the African American Preaching Conference, September 26-28! Shaped by 30 African American leaders, this conference features nationally noted speakers and workshops rooted in the rich resources of the University and the Seminary.

University Libraries

Armstrong Browning Library & Museum Announces Dr. Kristen Pond as New Browning Chair

On August 1, Dr. Kristen Pond, Associate Professor of English at Baylor University, was announced as the seventh Margarett Root Brown Chair in Robert Browning and Victorian Studies.

From to!

The new Drupal-based website for the University Libraries, Museums, and the Press was released on August 1. Check out the new online experience, and if you have resources that linked to pages on, they will need to be updated.


Important Academic Dates 


Additional deadlines are available on the Academic Units Deadlines calendar

  • August 14 & 15- New Faculty Orientation.
  • August 14- New Faculty Dinner.
  • August 18- Convocation.
  • August 19- Faculty Senate Retreat.
  • August 21- First day of class.
  • August 25- Chair Coffee & Conversation.
  • September 20- Fall Faculty Meeting (Hurd Welcome Center). *

*Please note the date change. 

Previous issues of the Provost Newsletter can be accessed on the Office of the Provost website.