Provost Newsletter - May 2023

May 8, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside you these past four years. We have done amazing work together under the direction of President Livingstone and our strategic plan, Illuminate. At the Spring Faculty Meeting, I summarized some of these accomplishments.

Illuminate describes our ambition to be the preeminent Christian research university. In December 2021, we were recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning as having achieved the characteristics of a research university operating at the highest level of research productivity, also known as “Research 1” or simply “R1.” This milestone was achieved three years earlier than anticipated and celebrated as an external validation of what we have been working toward for nearly ten years since the adoption of Pro Futuris. This achievement, however, raised the question for many of you – what’s next?

It's time to answer your question – that is the purpose of the Strategic Planning Group (SPG). We want to know what your ideas are regarding what’s next for Baylor. Tiffany Hogue, chief of staff to the president, and I will be leading the SPG. Over the next several months, we will work with the SPG to develop our plan for the fall to reach out to the Baylor community to initiate conversation and solicit ideas regarding what is next in our ongoing quest to live out our calling to be a Christian research university.

On May 3, the SPG met for the first time to receive the charge from President Livingstone to deliver a new plan to her and the Board of Regents in May 2024. Members of the SPG are not charged with “representing” particular constituencies. Instead, this is a diverse group of strategic thinkers who have been tasked to proactively seek out big ideas across campus for consideration by the committee and university leadership. We also met with a strategic planning consultant, Tod Bolsinger. Tod is a faculty member at Fuller Seminary and a noted author who works with faith leaders to explore and deepen organizational health. Tod and his colleagues will assist us in conducting listening sessions and surveys and analyzing the data we receive.

Congratulations on a highly successful spring. We are projecting record-breaking retention for the fall, thanks to your great work!


Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D.

Academic Affairs Announcements

2023-2024 Promotions

We congratulate all of those who received a promotion for the upcoming academic year. A complete list of all promotions is available on the Office of the Provost website. We have increased the overall salary adjustments for promotions. For more information on promotions please see Baylor University personnel policies 704716, and 719

Cornelia Marschall Smith Award

The Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award recognizes superlative teaching, research, and/or service. The winner is chosen each spring semester by a faculty selection committee that receives nominations from faculty, students, and alums. The honoree receives a cash award and presents a lecture during the following academic year. This year’s awardee is Dr. Richard Russell, Professor and Graduate Program Director of the Department of English.

Collins Award 

The Collins Outstanding Professor Award recognizes outstanding teaching. The winner is selected each spring semester by the members of the senior class through a process of nominating and voting. The recipient receives a cash award and presents a lecture toward the end of the semester. This year’s winner is Dr. Thomas McGrath, senior lecturer and undergraduate program director in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He presented his lecture, “How to Build a Soccer Ball,” on May 4.

Volunteer for Move2BU: 2023 Volunteer Sign-Ups for Faculty are Open 

The 2023 Move2BU days are August 16 and 17. Each year many faculty members engage in this act of service to incoming students and their families. We hope you will join us again this year. The sign-up for this event is online and is ready to fill out before the summer begins. If you have questions, please email

Vice Provost’s Corner 

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs 

Institute for Faith and Learning Leadership Transition
Dr. Darin Davis, Director of the Institute for Faith and Learning (IFL), will be stepping aside from this role at the end of December 2023 after serving faithfully, generously, and imaginatively for 15 years (and for two years prior to that as associate director) in bringing IFL to the position of national and international prominence that it enjoys today. He will be focusing on his faculty role in Baylor’s Honors Program and on significant faith-related initiatives sponsored by external entities such as Lilly Endowment Inc. The Office of the Provost is currently planning a search for his replacement in this role.

Vice Provost for Institutional Research and Professional Education 

New Assistant Vice Provost
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Denise M. Evans as the new Assistant Vice Provost for Summer Programs and Initiatives. In this role, Ms. Evans will strategically approach summer initiatives by providing systemic support to those planning programs and partnering on new initiatives that will engage a variety of audiences with Baylor during the summer months. She currently serves as the Director of Continuing Education and Language Programs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Ms. Evans will be reporting through Institutional Research and Professional Education and Vice Provost Carini and will begin her role on May 8.

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Affairs 

Thank You from the Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL)
2022-2023 has been a banner year for ATL. From the Provost’s Faculty Forum on Teaching for First Gen Success to conversations about artificial intelligence to the Cherry Award Summit on Great Teaching, the past academic year has been engaging and exciting. Thank you for taking advantage of ATL programming and advancing timely conversations about teaching and learning. As we routinely say, you are the Academy for Teaching and Learning. The ATL is honored to support your teaching activities and collaborate on pedagogical endeavors. Keep engaging the ATL and Sic ‘Em, Baylor Teachers!

University Teaching Development Grants (UTDG)
The maximum award amount for University Teaching Development Grants has increased. UTDG recipients are now eligible for $2,500 every two years.

A Note from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (IE): Annual Substantive Change Reminder for Academic Programs
Federal regulations and our institutional accreditor, SACSCOC, require reporting or approval of certain institutional and program changes. These requirements are usually updated every year. Our Baylor Substantive Change Requirements Policy describes the requirements and timeframes for each type. Common changes include

  • Starting a new program.
  • Initiating a collaborative academic agreement.
  • Offering courses/a program at a new location.
  • Closing a program or location.

Please review the substantive change webpage for more information. All substantive changes must be promptly reported to the IE office to ensure that proposed changes are not delayed. You can contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness with questions.   

Vice Provost for Research 

Foreign Engagement Reminder
Baylor University supports research activities collaborating with institutions outside of the United States. As a reminder, all research must be conducted in accordance with US law and Baylor policies regarding export controls, conflicts, foreign engagement and travel, data management, and intellectual property. New federal guidance highlights research security as an essential component of research integrity and obligates universities to safeguard the research enterprise against the misappropriation of research and development to the detriment of national or economic security, related violations of research integrity, and foreign government interference. Leadership has recently convened a Research Security Advisory Group to ensure compliance and education in these areas. Please see the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) website, which provides specific information for you related to export controls and foreign travel. 

Important Academic Dates 

Additional deadlines are available on the Academic Units Deadlines calendar.

  • May 6-11- Final exams.
  • May 12-13- Commencement.
  • May 29- Memorial Day holiday.
  • June 22- Academic Leadership Seminar (Option 1).
  • June 19- Juneteenth holiday.
  • July 4- Independence Day holiday.
  • August 3- Academic Leadership Seminar (Option 2).
  • August 14 & 15- New Faculty Orientation.
  • August 21- First day of class.
  • September 26- Fall Faculty Meeting.