As we planned this issue of the College of Arts and Sciences magazine after a four-year hiatus, we wanted to do
more than re-introduce ourselves.
We wanted to remind you of the many excellent programs, students, and faculty that characterize Baylor’s largest academic unit! In the two issues we will publish each year, we want to do more than simply promote ourselves. We wish to offer engaging stories reflecting a community of learning and discovery that is relevant to the lives of our alumni and friends. A glance through this magazine gives you an idea of the breadth and depth of the College of Arts and Sciences. We have 26 departments offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 52 masters and doctoral degrees across the arts and humanities, the natural sciences, and the social and behavioral sciences. And just last year we conferred almost half (48 percent) of all undergraduate degrees
and over 40 percent of all graduate degrees! The size of Arts and Sciences, however, does not limit the “interconnectedness” of our disciplines, and this first issue speaks strongly to our interdisciplinary nature. The story Climate Change: Why Melting Ice Is A Hot Topic examines the science of climate change and the impact it has on people and cultures. What may be surprising is how many faculty and students in various disciplines at Baylor study this important topic ranging from the reconstruction of the ancient past to speculation about the future. Similarly, when assessing how many Arts and Sciences departments train students for creative professions, we found that the College’s creative side is strong and prolific. This story Chic and Ye Shall Find demonstrates
the significant numbers of faculty helping students prepare for a variety of careers in fields that demand a creative and artistic skill set. These include not only our painters, sculptors, writers and actors but also fashion designers, writers, interior designers, and host of other professions. We also recognize an important anniversary in this issue. Flying High, the piece on Baylor’s Air Force ROTC program, highlights 60 years of partnership between Baylor and the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. The award-winning program combines leadership training with academic excellence and military service. We have two stories that take us to the heart and soul of the undergraduate academic experience in the College of Arts and Sciences. The
stories Beyond the Books and The ReImagined Syllabus give perspectives on learning that supplement the traditional classroom experience. The innovative academic programs offered to our students are vast and enable them to add a new dimension to their educational experience. Finally, we pay tribute to former Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Wallace Daniel. As the recipient of the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award, Dr. Daniel, now provost at Mercer University, delivered a university lecture on September 22. We proudly share an excerpt from his address upon receiving one of the highest honors given by Baylor. We hope you enjoy your reading adventure into the College of Arts and Sciences here at Baylor University.
College of arts & sciences Dean of the College Lee Nordt
Associate Dean for Humanities Frieda Blackwell
visit us online
Associate Dean for Special Progr ams Elizabeth Vardaman
Assistant Dean of Undergr aduate Studies Carrolle Kamperman
arts & sciences magazine
Associate Dean for Administr ation
Robert Rogers Matthew Minard
On the Cover
Associate Dean for Sciences Frank Mathis
Design and Art Direc tion Lonnie Bradley and Robert Brown, www.McKinleyBrown.com
Bay lo r Ar t s & S c i e n c e s
Paige Connell Will Crockett Wallace L. Daniel, Jr. Lori Fogleman Matt Pene Franci Rogers Elizabeth Vardaman
Associate Dean for Undergr aduate Studies
Claire St. Amant, BA, Professional Writing, ‘08
Bay lor Art s & S c i e nc e s
a place for everything & everything has its place
Beyond 3 theBooks
The traditional classroom has set the stage for success in research & discovery.
5 Chic & Ye Shall Find Arts & Sciences never hits the snooze button when it comes to awakening the creative spirit.
7 Change in Melting Ice the Forecast: Why is a Hot Topic.
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University as a Community of learners
Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, Jr., received the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award.
“Drive and passion will win out every time over natural-born creativity. The two combined are very powerful, but it’s also rare.”
Heat waves and cold fronts are duking it out across the globe, but more than temperatures are at stake.
9 The Re-Imagined Syllabus Baylor undergraduates are passionate about going above & beyond. Getting them there means separating paths from courses.
Thanks to the Air Force ROTC’s scholarship, service, and leadership, the “Wild Blue Yonder” has specks of green and gold.
14 Setting the Stage
Paris and London were among the destinations for Natalie Baker as she studied with Baylor’s Theatre Arts Department this summer. But these grandes villes are not where her love of performing arts began.
Baylor Awarded $492,000 to Study Ways to Make Ethanol Cheaper to Produce Student Publications Win Awards Books By Baylor Professors Earn 2008 CT Book Awards and more. /
A glance at the Baylor Scholars Day program signals that undergraduate research isn’t what it used to be.
These students have bravely explored serious academic territory. Among the scientific experiments, the literary analysis and the cultural forecast lies one presentation that may raise an academic brow:
“King John, Paul, St. George, & Ringo: How Beatlemania Saved the British Empire.”
“Beatlemania?” Clearly, research is overcoming its image problem.
By Will Crockett
The term that once implied “lengthy papers written under the duress of a grade” now means much more. A complex and multilayered global community demands that the traditional classroom be reconsidered. Baylor and the College of Arts and Sciences have placed tremendous value on the undergraduate research experience for decades, offering students a chance to connect their passion with their knowledge and take a journey of discovery off the beaten path of the syllabus.
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Research in Journalism
One of the busiest laboratories in the College has no sinks, no test tubes and no Bunsen burners. The Lariat newsroom, the journalist’s laboratory, has long been a home (literally and figuratively) for aspiring journalists and writers. Undergraduate research in this field, as with several others, runs parallel to application. To research is often to create, to get the words on the page, test them out and get a constructive critique. These research experiences, perhaps seemingly small in scope, build upon each other to prepare a student for a
significant challenge. Research can encourage risktaking when students realize that they want more out of their education than simply good grades. “You may be able to sit in the back of the class and still get an A, but you can’t make your mark as a journalist without stepping out in front,” says Claire St. Amant, BA ’08, Professional Writing. During her time at Baylor, St. Amant won numerous awards for her writing. In addition to serving as a reporter, staff writer and city editor for The Lariat, she covered the New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta and the presidential Democratic primary debate in Austin.
When the time came for St. Amant to hold her own among the seasoned professionals, she did so unflinchingly. The classroom and the newsroom had clearly done their job in preparing her for the assignment as she covered the New Baptist Covenant. “I was in a press room with veteran writers from The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal,” she recalls. “It was the best ‘lab’ type experience anyone could hope for. In a lot of ways, it was very similar to writing about speeches on campus for The Lariat. Sure, here the keynotes were former presidents Clinton and Carter, but the idea was the same: listening to a speech, taking feverish notes and churning out a story just hours later for a deadline. I was a bit nervous considering my colleagues, but I also thought, ‘Hey, I can do this. I do this all the time.’” Now in the Peace Corps teaching English in the Ukraine, St. Amant champions the value of experiences beyond the syllabus. “My education at Baylor would be sorely lacking if I never wrote anything that got published or interviewed someone for something other than simply a class assignment. Knowing that more than just the professor will be reading your work makes you work harder. It isn’t just a grade anymore — it’s the whole experience.”
Research in the Humanities
The undergraduates’ enthusiasm for research often takes them to the borderlines of what is considered traditional scholarship. “I have a tendency toward the overdramatic; I like provocative theories and pushing the limits of scholarship,” says Joshua Hyles, BA ’08, History and Archaeology, and author of the Beatlemania paper. While his ideas took him to a new place, Dr. Keith Francis, associate professor of History, gave Hyles good direction. “His input kept my research and my language grounded and helped considerably in turning it into scholarly history.” Hyles expanded upon a class assignment to champion the contributions of pop culture to a broader historical and cultural landscape. “I wanted to look at some historical events in Britain’s recent history through the lens of popular culture,” he says. “I feel that pop culture is given short shrift by historians — it is seen as a ‘lesser history’ and, subsequently, is only seen as a byproduct and result of historical events, and not one of the causes. I aimed to introduce popular culture and the worldwide appeal and success of the Beatles as a catalyst for the consolidation of British influence in the former colonies making up the Commonwealth. If one can see music as a force behind political change, the bridge can be created between pop culture and traditional history.” Faculty members play an important role in the research process, although research is strongly self-guided. Hyles recognized in his own process
the balance that must be struck between self-directed inquiry and the support of faculty. “I think writing, particularly in history, involves a lot of personal insight. It starts with being curious about how people and the institutions they create behave. That curiosity must then be tempered and molded by the right mentoring and encouragement. I believe the faculty at Baylor do a fantastic job of that.”
Research in the Sciences
The College’s science departments offer a number of ways that undergraduates can get involved in research. In several of the science departments, for example, students can apply for a Summer Research Fellowship and spend 10 weeks working on a research project with a faculty member. Other opportunities also common to other departments can include a Special Topics or Independent Study course, or students sometimes can be supported by a faculty member’s grant dollars. Adolfo Flores, BS ’08, Biology, took advantage of the Summer Research Fellowship to work with Dr. Ryan King, assistant professor of Biology. Like those of many undergraduate researchers, Flores’ research project was selfcontained but contributed to a larger project King was researching. King was glad to have Flores and appreciated his approach. “The great thing about Adolfo is that while he was a pre-health biology major, he recognized the value of a diverse and broad education at the undergraduate level. It was great to have him dive right in.” Over a period of four months, Flores observed the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus content in two species of mayflies and compared them to the nutrient content available in their natural habitat in order to understand how the insects’ growing stages allocate the nutrients available to them. The research project was far from “grunt work,” and Flores found it to be an enriching experience, so much so that he continued research on mayflies even after his fellowship ended. The key to creating a valuable experience for students is making sure they feel ownership in the project and a part of the team, says King. “Undergraduates do their best work when they are assigned a specific task to follow through to the end. Understanding what role they are playing in the big picture can get students very excited about the work they are doing. They feel more like they truly participated rather than simply [having] helped.” The science curriculum creates a solid foundation for students as they enter the research curriculum so they aren’t thrust into a research experience without a frame of reference. “In order to do research, you have to have a strong background in the field that you are attempting to explore,” says Flores. “You cannot create theories
without already understanding the basics. I had a strong understanding in basic biological mechanisms, along with ecological theories, organic chemistry and biochemical reactions. For my research, I had to pull from every single class I had ever taken at Baylor.” It’s this glorious combination of creating and applying knowledge that has taught Flores to think like a scientist or even a doctor. “Research, and much of science, is a combination of deductive and inductive reasoning,” he says. “Either you take a generic theory and dig deeper to apply it towards something specific, or you take something that is very specific and you try to apply it to something generic. Research is about not knowing what is out there and pulling from everything you know in order to educate your peers about something that is very particular.” Flores’s research experiences were hardly a distraction to his academic studies. He graduated in May with a 4.0 GPA, having received the 2008 Cornelia M. Smith Award given to a top graduating senior in the Department of Biology. Now, he is in an M.D./Ph.D. program at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
The Classroom 2.0
Research at the undergraduate level isn’t without its critics. Some say that asking undergrads to “create knowledge” via research instead of “absorbing knowledge” is not the best use of an undergraduate’s time. Yet, research in the College of Arts and Sciences has become an extension of the classroom, not a substitution. The research experience works in concert with the classroom experience and, if well managed, produces enormous results. “Offering research experiences to our undergraduates is just one more tool that we have in creating a dynamic learning community,” says Dr. Lee Nordt, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of Geology. “A research experience, informed by coursework, makes a tremendous contribution towards our students’ abilities in critical thinking, problem solving and communications.” Despite the diverse academic territory that it covers, the College of Arts and Sciences remains committed to providing research opportunities to all majors across all disciplines. Research can take on different meanings in different fields, but the ideas behind research – a mentored and self-directed experience resulting in findings of some sort – remain consistent across the College. Any student can participate in research of any kind. This is true whether working directly with a faculty member on a larger project or pursuing a topic independently. The only prerequisite for such a course is an inquisitive mind.
The key to creating a valuable experience for students is making sure they feel ownership in the project and a part of the team.
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By Franci Rogers
Creativity abounds in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Each semester students arrive, eager to focus their natural creativity into marketable skills. Others arrive with passion, looking to their instructors to help draw out their creative
abilities. Creativity is sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse, and always a challenge. “Students come here without a clear idea of what creativity means,” says Art professor Terry Roller, who teaches graphic design and has studied creativity. “They often confuse facility with creativity. As I tell my students, knowing how to use a computer program makes them designers no more than knowing how to type makes them writers.”
In his Introduction to Design classes, Roller teaches students how to strategize for creativity. He uses brain-stretching exercises like mind mapping and word associations to encourage students to take risks and even fail with some ideas.
Beginning students are sometimes very surprised the process that design takes. Organization, discipline and time management are just as important as creativity.
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Mary Simpson, a fashion design lecturer in Family and Consumer Sciences, also believes that instructors who show examples of their own work – their successes and failures – can help students better understand their own creativity. “Creativity doesn’t live in a vacuum,” she says. “For students to see someone else create will help them understand and broaden their own definition of creativity. It helps them to pull it all together to have a role model.” Simpson also believes that giving examples of extraordinary creativity within their fields of study helps students to understand its value and strength. “Whatever you come up with, it needs to have longevity and impact throughout time to be considered truly creative,” she says. “Look at Coco Chanel, who created pants for women. Can you imagine your life today without a pair of pants? That design impacted thoughts and feelings, and it stood the test of time.” Although many students enter college without a clear definition of creativity, this is not always a disadvantage. Associate Professor of Art Susan Dunkerley Maguire, who teaches photography, sees most students come to the department without an extensive creative background, but with a stronger desire to learn. “I prefer to teach that kind of student,” Maguire says. “Drive and passion will win out every time over natural-born creativity. The two combined are very powerful, but it’s also rare.” Giving students the opportunities to practice creative problem-solving skills and showing them how to take risks can draw out the best in students. “Creativity can be taught,” Maguire says. “I’ve had students come in not feeling very confident in their own creativity, and they’ve just caught fire. If you give them more exposure and more experience, they come alive.” Once students develop more creative ability, or for those who are naturally creative, a new set of problems can present itself. For creative students, time management, self-discipline and focus can be issues not easily resolved. “For those who teach foundation courses in the visual arts, a large part of their curriculum is teaching students to focus,” Maguire says.
“For some students, it’s amazingly difficult to learn to sit down for three hours in a class and concentrate for that amount of time.” In her upper level classes, she sets expectations early and clearly. All students in the BFA program have to present a capstone exhibition, for which they must handle every detail. “They have to produce a budget very early on, research and develop a theme, create a supply list, write an artist’s statement, order announcement cards,” Maguire says. “They’re in charge of every detail. They have to harness their creativity in order to be successful.” Learning the real details of the profession is also what helps creative students in Family and Consumer Sciences to focus, says Dr. Adair Bowen, assistant professor and coordinator of the interior design program. “Interior design is very creative and also very technical,” she says. “Beginning students are sometimes very surprised the process that design takes. Organization, discipline and time management are just as important as creativity. In some ways, that’s the beauty of the profession. It takes both left- and right-brained people to have success.” Bowen encourages students to get as much experience in real-world situations as possible through internships and part-time or summer jobs. “Some things, like just how much research is involved, can never be realized until you’re doing or seeing it for yourself,” she says. “Students learn firsthand that if you haven’t done the research and gone through the process, it’s not a good project. If it doesn’t meet your client’s needs, it doesn’t matter how creative you are.” Some of her most successful students, she says, are those who pursue business minors or at least take some business courses. While business and creativity may not seem a likely match, 49 Baylor freshmen are embarking on a journey to prove that the two can go hand in hand. Entrepreneurship and Creative Leadership is the focus of a new Engaged Learning Group (ELG) that began this fall. The Hankamer School of Business, along with the Theatre Arts Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, will help students from a variety of disciplines explore how the two skills complement and enhance each other.
“Students will learn from speakers, and then apply what they’ve learned creatively,” says Sherry Ward, audience development coordinator for Theatre and one of the facilitators for the ELG. After studying a topic, students will work in teams to demonstrate what they are learning, using a variety of media such as sculpture, editorial writing and multimedia. “They may hear a speaker one week, then stage a performance based on what they heard,” says Ward. “This teaches them to think creatively, but at the same time, they have to be organized to present the idea. They’ll be using time management skills, following guidelines, and focusing on details. We want to teach them how to communicate creatively without boundaries.” The ELG will not only help students to learn creativity, but also to find areas where they excel. That same concept is one often learned by students working in the Film and Digital Media division with assistant professor of Communication Studies Chris Hansen. Several students, including B.K. Garceau, a Houston senior, worked with Hansen over the summer on his film “Endings.” During the filming, Garceau worked in a number of positions, but post-production is where he began feeling his creativity. “I can spend hours editing, and then editing again,” says Garceau. “I love it.” This is one reason Hansen allows students a wide variety of experiences. “Helping people find their creativity is sometimes a matter of helping people find what they are good at,” he says. Over the years, associate professor of Journalism Robert Darden has helped numerous students find what they are good at by rediscovering their natural talent. “More and more, I find that students are being taught to write a certain way in order to pass standardized tests,” Darden says, “and the kind of writing you need to do to pass those tests is nothing that could ever be marketed.”
Darden recalls one advanced writing student he helped to “unlearn” some of the habits she had developed in high school and regain the talent she had been suppressing. “It took weeks of unlearning in class and through peer reviews, and one day she turned in spectacular prose,” he says. “She found her voice.” That student went on to graduate school and later to work as an acquisitions editor at a major publishing house. She has since become a full-time writer, having published several novels. For some truly creative students, Darden says, the most important thing instructors can do is try not to get in their way. He cites two former students, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. After graduating from Baylor in 1991, they teamed up as screenwriters for popular movies such as “3:10 to Yuma” and “Wanted.” “They were both obviously very talented students,” Darden says. “I tried to keep a light touch with them and continued to help after they left school. With every student, I try to let them make their own mistakes, help them learn from them, and then expect each of them to march out of here and eclipse me.” Dr. Greg Garrett, professor of English who teaches creative writing, also tries to give students the technical skills they’ll need to be successful in the commercial world. “Students who want a career in this field are anxious for any scrap of information they can get about the details of the business,” Garrett says. “And one of the main ideas I try to impart is that talent is less important than tenacity.” Garrett believes the “creative slacker archetype” is more myth than reality. “To be a success, you need to work hard,” Garrett says. “It’s about teaching creative people to develop good practices. There is a misconception that creativity is a bolt of lightning. If you have to wait for lightning to show up, you’ll never create.”
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By Franci Rogers
Hybrid cars, reusable cloth shopping bags, backyard composting and compact fluorescent light bulbs are everywhere you look. Even Kermit the Frog must admit that today, more than ever, it’s easy to be green.
The nation’s attention is beginning to focus on climate change: why it’s happening, how to slow it and what can be done to adapt. Once known as “global warming,” scientists now prefer the term “climate change” to help convey the message that rising temperatures are just part of a larger change in the planet. Nearly every department within Baylor University’s College of Arts and Sciences has reacted to climate change in some way — some by leading research of geological evidence in the earth, others by studying how cultures are adapting to the changes. Dr. Steven Driese, chair and professor of Geology, is doing his part to help understand climate change by discovering how the earth has been changing since its beginning. “Our concept of time is very different than the general public’s,” says Driese. “From a geologist’s perspective, 100 years or 1,000 years is the blink of an eye. We most often talk in terms of tens of thousands to millions of years.” By studying fossil soils (known as paleosols) and fossil plants and animals in ancient river, lake and sand dune deposits, Driese and other scientists at Baylor are able to determine trends of warming and drying of the earth. “We know the earth’s climate has warmed and cooled in the past,” says Driese. “So the question becomes, ‘Is the change the result of humans pumping greenhouse gasses into the air, or is it part of a natural earth cycle?’”
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One such cycle, he says, occurred during the Paleozoic Era, which began about 540 million years ago. In that time, when no humans existed, the amount of carbon dioxide on earth was 15-20 times higher than today. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increased dramatically, then decreased over a period of about 300 million years to below present atmospheric levels. “But how can we ignore the fact that we have doubled the amount of carbon dioxide in the air in the last 200 years?” Driese asks. “Over hundreds of millions of years, the earth can assimilate the extra carbon, but probably not anthropogenic doubling in 200 years.” Dr. Joseph White, associate professor of Biology, has spent years studying ecosystems’ response to climate change and agrees with Driese that human involvement has been the leading cause of our current climate crisis. “If you have any doubts about the existence of climate change, just ask someone who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska,” he says. “They can see climate change. People generally don’t experience climate; they experience weather. But in the polar regions, you can actually see where the glaciers used to be, just a few years ago. They’ve receded. In some places there are still signposts marking the glaciers, but the glaciers are now a mile away.” The question, says White, becomes not whether climate change is happening, but what are we going to do about it. “Climate change will affect humans. Those living in equatorial regions – which are the most
populated and have the most poverty – are most at risk of suffering,” he says. White believes health conditions will worsen in developing countries as temperatures rise. “Diseases are mostly born in the tropics. As temperatures increase, so will the places where these diseases can exist,” he says. “And these people have no place to go.” Infectious diseases, especially those spread by mosquitoes and other insects, are expected to increase. Malaria, yellow fever and encephalitis are likely to spread more frequently to areas as their climates become more tropical. White also believes that climate change will continue to create political and social unrest in countries such as Rwanda, where changes in land use and availability are a cause of strife. “We have to be smarter with development and economics,” White says. “We need to help developing countries to buffer the impact of disease and impoverishment. And we need to think about the greenhouse gasses we put into the air.” And for White, the response is also spiritual. “Changing the way we’re doing things is just a good land ethic, for us and our kids and grandkids,” he says. “It’s having clean air and clean water and keeping species around. Are we not called to do anything less?” The author of three books on Christianity and environmental ethics, Dr. Susan Bratton, professor and chair of Environmental Science (formerly Environmental Studies) also believes the response to climate change has spiritual foundations. “These are very mainstream Christian ethics issues,” says Bratton. “It’s our response to future generations, social justice, the wealthy creating problems for the poor; it’s health concerns. All of these have an appropriate Christian response that should form our personal decision-making.”
Bratton believes people are beginning to make more sound decisions about the environment. “It’s an old issue, but I think the reality of it is becoming clearer,” she says. “Climate has always fluctuated with warmer and cooler periods, but people are becoming aware that we are going to have trouble adapting to a rapid, major change. We have very pragmatic concerns when we see changes in architecture, air conditioning bills, public health. It’s easier to understand when you think about tropical diseases appearing on the Texas coast because of a warmer, wetter climate.” As an environmental anthropologist, Dr. Sara Alexander studies the human response to environmental changes. She sees “going green” as a trend, but one with a potentially positive outcome. “Being green is now cool,” says Alexander, associate professor of Applied Anthropology and chair of Anthropology, Forensic Science and Archaeology. “Cameron Diaz drives a hybrid because it’s the cool thing to do, and that’s great. As demand goes up, the prices will drop and more people will be able to purchase them.” Alexander sees the growing awareness about climate change and a downturn in the economy as doubling the impact on society. “In the U.S., we live in a largely reactive society,” she says. “Right now, we’re reacting to the trend of being more environmentally aware, and we’re reacting to monetary pressures. If you put a monetary amount on something, society responds.” The increased use of public transportation and alternative energy sources are not as much responses to the stress of the changing environment, Alexander believes, as to the stress of the paycheck. “Look at solar energy, for example. It’s been around for years, and the South and Southwest would be prime locations for solar energy use,”
she says. “It’s been around for a long time, but we haven’t had to tap into it, so we haven’t. We haven’t felt an imminent need to do so. Now, with the price of gasoline going up, we’re suddenly talking about solar cars. We’ve had the technologies, and they’ve been around for years.” Recycling is another trend Alexander has been watching, and she says many areas of the U.S. have been more proactive than others. “There are some places in this country where you can be fined if you don’t recycle,” she says. “There’s a monetary incentive.” In some European countries, she says, monetary incentives to recycle have been tremendous. “In the U.S. we probably recycle less than 20 percent of our waste,” Alexander says. “In Germany, they recycle more than 75 percent. They have the incentive.” Dr. Jennifer Good, assistant professor of German, says the success of the German recycling program is largely based on the marketplace. The Der Grüne Punkt, or Green Dot, system was introduced in Germany in the early 1990s. Manufacturers and producers of any product must pay a fee to use the Green Dot symbol on their packaging. The cost of the use of the Green Dot is based on how much material is used in its packaging, how much of it is recyclable and how easy it is to recycle the packaging material. The more packaging, the more the company pays for the use of the symbol. The result is much less packaging and much less waste. And, Good says, having the Green Dot is a must for consumers. “Germans only buy products with that symbol,” she says. “In the beginning, the things Germans really value got the symbol. It came to represent the very best, highest-quality product, and now it’s just a part of how Germans shop.”
Good believes that the program is also successful because it is market-driven rather than government mandated. “There’s less packaging, more things are biodegradable and people know nearly everything can be recycled,” she says. “If you buy a CD here, is the plastic wrapping recyclable? It is in Germany, and consumers know that.” German citizens are also more willing to recycle, Good says, even though their system is a bit complex. “Separating recycling is not compulsory for private citizens,” she says, “but a recent survey showed that 90 percent don’t mind sorting in their own homes. It’s just a way of life. And it could become that way in the U.S. as well. We just have to make it part of our lifestyles.” Making informed, compassionate lifestyle choices is something everyone at Baylor who studies climate change hopes to promote. And with so many departments within the College of Arts of Sciences working on their area of specialty, Driese sees another potential outcome. “Research and innovation in climate change is something that is just a natural part of Baylor’s 2012 initiative. It’s about stewardship,” he says. “Individual departments may not be able to do the same type of research projects as larger institutions, but working together, we have identified a niche. Baylor has the potential to become nationally and internationally known as the experts in climate change.”
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By Eliz abeth Vardaman
As our students move across the campus to interact with challenging courses this autumn, the energy in the air is palpable. Many resources, both new and traditional, contribute to this dynamic and provide an embarrassment of riches that will enable our undergraduates, from freshman to senior year, to flourish both within and beyond the classroom.
The World of Freshman Seminars
The College offers first-semester students fascinating options for immersion in small, lively classes such as “Thinking and Writing about Twentieth Century American Music” and “Laughter and Tears: A Theatrical Survey of Tragedy and Comedy.” Other courses, magnets for pre-medical students, are taught by physician-faculty members — “Medicine and Meaning: Reflections on Suffering, Ethics, and Hope” and “Disease and the Patient-Physician Relationship.” New science offerings for non-majors include field trips and use current events to investigate global climate change and ways humans affect the ecosystem. Professors from Arts and Sciences also lead Honors Program first-year seminars and Engaged Learning Groups in team-taught courses such as “Exploring Christian Narrative: From Eden to Modernity” and “The Global Community.” Each of these freshman seminars requires intensive writing and research and is known for innovative pedagogy, rigorous but fun assignments and dynamic interaction between professors and their students. More than 450 first-year students, about 15 percent, are enrolled in these discovery-based freshman seminars this fall.
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There are many ways to build upon the freshman experience through research and thesis programs. One of those designed for students who want self-directed or mentored research opportunities operates under the direction of a faculty steering committee in concert with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. The Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement initiative (known as URSA) is completing its first year of operation. Students, under the guidance of faculty experts, are encouraged and granted funds to engage in scholarly endeavors, travel to conferences to present their research, and showcase findings through poster and oral presentations on campus. URSA presented the first Undergraduate Scholars Day this past spring. Of the 60 public presentations, 56 were made by students and supported by their mentors from Anthropology, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Environmental Science, Geology, History, Journalism, Modern Foreign Languages, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology and Neuroscience, Religion and Sociology. This same initiative provided small grants up to $5,000 to 22 faculty/student research teams last year that ranged from summer laboratory experiences in many of the sciences to scholarly investigations and creative projects in Theatre Arts, Modern Foreign Languages, Mathematics and Journalism. The URSA programs build upon a firm foundation. The Center for Drug Discovery Symposium; Honors Week; the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics, and Engineering Research (CASPER); and National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates are among the notable programs that are central to the undergraduate research culture.
Undergraduate Research Theses
At the heart of the Honors Program is a two-year research sequence taken in the junior and senior years that culminates in an undergraduate thesis. Working side by side with faculty mentors, students ask big questions; hone their critical thinking, writing and analytic skills; and in some cases develop intellectual property that they will carry with them into graduate studies and beyond. Thirty-five students completed Honors in 2003. In the five intervening years the program has nearly tripled. The Honors Program, housed within the Honors College, is thriving under the leadership of its director, Dr. Andrew Wisely, associate professor and division director in German, and his staff. Wisely recognizes the important place Arts and Sciences faculty occupy in the success of the Honors Program. Seventy-nine of the 96 senior theses in 2008 (more than 80 percent) were directed by faculty in this college. “The College of Arts and Sciences deserves the praise for much of this accomplishment,” Wisely says.
Year after year, Arts and Sciences faculty mentors volunteer scarce time to direct a thesis — sometimes more than one.
Additionally, caring experts and support services flourish within the College, providing vital assistance so students may maximize their academic life. Thus, “engaged learners,” an educator’s term for those who want to link their classroom experiences to contemporary issues or make connections from the theoretical to the laboratory of life, may utilize many resources that have been strengthened or initiated in recent years, including: • Enhanced advisement programs
in our departments and through the College of Arts and Sciences Advisement (CASA), now in its third year of operation
• Compelling internships often found
through departmental mentors
• The Writing Center administered by the Department of English • Expanded support for
A student may add to these services any or all of the following: the Paul L. Foster Success Center (an invaluable resource for tutoring, counseling and career planning), service opportunities at home and study abroad, new residence hall communities and meaningful student life clubs and events. It is no wonder the combined intellectual capital raised by this matrix of new and established programs is stimulating thinking, learning and problem-solving skills that are excellent preparation for all manner of “next steps” after college.
“We are grateful to see so many scholars who are so at home in the arts and sciences that they can’t wait to invite their students to join them there.”
Preparing for Life after Graduation
Whether students’ journeys lead directly to the workplace, graduate and professional schools, international study, service opportunities such as missions programs, Peace Corps, Teach for America or to other callings, the students are fueled with transferable skills and depth of understanding that will contribute to their professional and personal lives. The engaged learners who are taking advantage of these opportunities and accessing Baylor’s academic treasure trove are doing what we most love to witness — fulfilling their potential. Many of them have also committed themselves to public lives and the greater good and are burdened through the gravitas of their Christian commitments to make a contribution to a better, more peaceful world. That combination of character, faith and a fine liberal arts education shines out, blesses and defines this culture.
The Hallmark of a Baylor Education
While more programs, dedicated resources and personnel than ever are available to sustain and encourage our engaged and energized students, the hallmark of a Baylor education remains the dedicated faculty scholars and mentors who stand beside the undergraduates, counsel them and cheer for them. They are the non-negotiable, most important factors both in these students’ academic preparation here and in the ongoing pride Baylor has in its liberal arts education. The faculty members remain the still point in our turning world. The fire of their care is felt forever.
For more information: Scholars Day Presentations www.baylor.edu/research/ursa/index.php?id=46489
Freshman seminars www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/64396.pdf
Engaged Learning Groups www.baylor.edu/elg/
“Engaged learners,” an educator’s term for those who want to link their classroom experiences to contemporary issues or make connections from the theoretical to the laboratory of life, may utilize many resources that have been strengthened or initiated in recent years.
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Thanks to the Air Force ROTC’s scholarship, service, and leadership, the “Wild BlueYonder” has specks of green& gold.
By Will Crockett
No matter the model for training scholars or leaders, only one higher education program breaks the mold. The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) fits well into any college mission that embraces preparing students for leadership, service, problem solving and decision-making. In Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, AFROTC has for 60 years steadfastly combined training in teamwork, leadership, mental acumen and physical fitness with the academic rigors of a Baylor education.
While Air Force ROTC programs are similar across the nation’s 144 detachments, Baylor’s Detachment 810 is one of a few at private schools embracing a Christian mindset. “What makes us stand out,” says Col. Dan Leonard, detachment commander, “is the Baylor foundation in Christian values. We see Det 810’s role as producing officers with a firm foundation in values and morals, and we welcome the contribution that these officers will make to the U.S. Air Force as a whole. They will find a great many like-minded
officers on active duty with whom they will serve and worship.” AFROTC is not an academic major, but a supplement to the student’s undergraduate degree resulting in military leaders with an additional layer of knowledge and skills. Students with degrees in anything from biology to journalism can make tremendous contributions to the military. The Air Force accepts graduates with any accredited four-year college degree as officer candidates, and they are commissioned as second lieutenants to serve a minimum of four years in a variety of areas.
“Mission support areas open to all include careers in communications, logistics readiness, public affairs, personnel, military law and security forces, to name just a few,” says Leonard. “The Air Force has a reputation as being a high-tech service, and we are. But only about 60 percent of our new officers have technical degrees.”
The Cadet As Student
Cadets in Detachment 810 have a broad spectrum of majors (like political science, English, speech pathology, and chemistry) and embrace a college experience richened with the discipline and articulation that military training instills. For some
cadets, their major field of study may be directly applicable to their duties upon commissioning. For others, the analytical methods they acquire in their major will easily transfer to similar situations they’ll face in the Air Force. Either way, the fundamentals of the liberal arts education contribute significantly to making Baylor alumni well-rounded leaders who can solve complex problems. While the demands of being both a student and cadet may seem overwhelming, Leonard often sees students doing better academically thanks to the AFROTC program. “Grades are top priority for our cadets,” he says. AFROTC offers cadets its own academic advising in addition to
Baylor’s Detachment 810 is one of few detachments
at a private school
a Christian mindset.
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Both my degree and my AFROTC training gave me skills in communicating, managing and organizing.
regular departmental advising. Each semester, cadets review academic progress with the “cadre,” professors in the Aerospace Studies department. Capt. Andy Zoltak, an AFROTC faculty member, says, “We try to help them balance their workload. We also review their grades each semester and inform them if they need to retake a course if they didn’t get a grade high enough for their degree.” Because graduation and commissioning are related, it is important that both the university and the Air Force know when students will graduate. The structure of the AFROTC culture often boosts a cadet’s academic performance. Zoltak says “AFROTC teaches them discipline and attention to detail and helps pull out their inner drive that makes them want to achieve and succeed.” Additionally, cadets run their own mentoring and tutoring programs that match students with senior cadets in their same field of study. A new Living and Learning Center will begin this fall in Kokernot Residence Hall, allowing more opportunities for interaction on both social and academic levels. Many cadets find their AFROTC training prepares them for challenges in the classroom as AFROTC drills mirror coursework. “The rigors of tough academics prepare the students in handling stress,” says Zoltak. “It also develops their cognitive thinking to come up with solutions to very difficult and unforeseen circumstances. Having this ability to think and come up with creative solutions enables the Air Force to achieve its mission.” To see skills from the AFROTC experiences translate into a payoff in the classroom is especially
rewarding. Senior psychology major Michelle Boesch says, “We have to give briefings regularly, so this helped prepare us for other times when we have to do public speaking or presenting.” Others see how their AFROTC experiences helped learn teamwork, a frequent assignment in any curriculum. “[AFROTC] really prepared us for group projects,” says Laura LeFevre, BA ’08, International Studies. “You learn more about how to get a project started, how to work with people, how to find some direction for the project to take.”
The Cadet as Leader
Although students have an opportunity to find their own voices as leaders through AFROTC, the mindset places just as much emphasis on being a good follower as it does being a good leader. “Naturally, a great leader wants to lead great followers instead of bad followers because it makes accomplishing the mission much easier,” says Lt. Col. Randy Penson, assistant professor of Aerospace Studies. “A bad follower takes up a lot of the leader’s time and can drain the life out of a team and make them less effective and efficient. A leader moves in and out of the role of leader and follower constantly. The leader is also being led by someone above them. Therefore, having been a great follower by exemplifying our core values (Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do), making sound decisions, communicating clearly, solving problems, being flexible and competent, and have courage, commitment, and enthusiasm makes the daily life of a leader pure joy.” Scott Smith, BA ’08, Journalism, found that just as a subject is taught over a series of courses, the same holds true for leadership. “Being in AFROTC did not make me a leader
overnight. There was a progression of leadership skills developed through AFROTC. You transform from a follower to a leader.” Penson indicates that is exactly the path AFROTC wants cadets to follow. “AFROTC places Baylor cadets in situations where they can practice being great followers their first two years in our program, and then practice becoming great leaders in the last two years,” he says. “In this way, AFROTC is a laboratory for college students to develop and hone their leadership skills. One must know what it feels and smells like to be a great follower before he or she can expect to lead effectively.” Strong student leadership is just one of the ways that AFROTC gives back to Baylor. Thomas Wright, BA ’08, Biology, says, “AFROTC cadets offer a certain standard and example for leadership. ROTC students don’t wait until after graduation to apply their leadership skills.” Last year there were cadets in key positions in Greek organizations, Campus Living and Learning, the Baylor Drumline, a pre-dental organization and church groups.
The Cadet Commissioned
Upon entering active duty, usually within six months of graduation and commissioning, the new second lieutenants attend Air and Space Basic Course at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. Once this training is complete, the second lieutenants move onto more training in their specific career in areas such as intelligence, engineering and support or more specific jobs such as pilot, navigator or air battle manager. Following this training, they move to their assigned base to fill leadership roles in their career fields. (Those going to medical or dental school proceed directly to those schools after graduation and commissioning.) Summer Davis Fondren, BA ’00, Speech Pathology, felt well prepared for her commissioning. By the end of her first assignment and hardly
three years out of school, Fondren was a squadron section commander, overseeing the morale and welfare of young airmen. Following her first assignment, she went to Korea, where she oversaw 300 intelligence airmen and then to Italy where she oversaw more than 520 aircraft maintenance airmen. Others might find the care of so many young professionals overwhelming, but coming from Baylor’s AFROTC experience, Fondren was prepared to handle the situation. “We always realized that we were being prepared for something that was bigger than just a job,” she says. “Both my degree and my AFROTC training gave me skills in communicating, managing and organizing. There were all sorts of challenges to overcome while I was living in both worlds of the university and AFROTC. But we were learning that when things get complicated, you don’t back down. You simply figure out a way to make it all work.” In the end, Fondren’s simple yet profound mantra sums up the story of how for 60 years, students have consistently opted for a program known for its thorough workout of the body and mind. To “figure out a way to make it all work” is easier said than done, but it reflects a determination and resolve instilled in the students to make something of every moment of their Baylor AFROTC experience. The program benefits the college and the university by attracting and retaining bright minds with big vision. In turn, Baylor’s AFROTC gives back to the nation military leaders who are, as the College mission for educating its students states, “imaginative and engaged leaders who will use their skills and character to address the needs and challenges of the larger world.”
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Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, Jr., received the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award during the Honors Convocation in April of this year. An historian specializing in early modern and contemporary Russian and European history, Daniel joined the Baylor faculty in 1971 as an assistant professor of History and was later named associate professor, professor, director of Soviet and East European Studies and director of the Honors Program. Daniel served four years as chair of the department of History before being appointed as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1996. He led the College for nine years, returning to research and teaching in August 2005. This fall, he begins his tenure as provost at Mercer University in Georgia.
As this year’s recipient, Daniel presented a public lecture on the topic of his choosing. What follows is an excerpt of the address given on September 22. When I took my first job in 1971, in the history department at Baylor University, I had no experience in doing what I then set out to do: teach Russian and European history. I had an excellent graduate school education, studying in classes taught again by some of the very finest, most dedicated professors at the University of North Carolina. While UNC did assign graduate students to teach many of its first-year classes, this had not been my own pathway. At that time the United States was locked in a deadly, often fiery Cold War with the Soviet Union; not surprisingly, the United States considered the Soviet Union to be its No. 1 foreign policy interest and made available fellowships and grants to strengthen our knowledge of that superpower. I was one of those fortunate students, a person passionate about Russia and its language, history, literature, and politics, and who had come to know that Americans poorly understood or did not understand at all that great power which dominated newspaper headlines in this country and whom we greatly feared. So when I came to this position, I was truly the green apple on the tree — full of enthusiasm, passionate about ideas, glad to have the opportunity, but totally inexperienced, uncertain, with no knowledge about what the future might hold. The department I came into had some of the finest professors in Baylor’s history: two of them, Professor Robert Reid and James Vardaman, were named Master Teachers, the title the university awarded to senior professors
whom generations of alumni characterized as having the greatest influence on their lives. Another professor, while not officially named “Master Teacher,” should have had that designation, and unofficially he did among the legions of students who admired him and whose classes they would carry with them all their lives. He was Dr. Ralph Lynn — a former laundry man, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, a student of the French Revolution and a writer whose monthly columns in the local newspaper, the Waco Tribune-Herald, consistently tweaked the noses of Waco’s religious and political elite, exposed hypocrisy, and made fun of what he called the “wise, the rich, and the powerful.” His writings, for days after their publication, elicited a barrage of outrage from those he targeted, reaction which he anticipated and in which he delighted. I had the good fortune of having my faculty office located next door to Dr. Lynn’s. He always kept his door open, so that one could hear easily the steady clack of his typewriter, his saying “I give up” about his bemusement with the “wise, the rich, and the powerful,” and his conversations with students, especially those who came to see him to protest a grade. “There is just no substitute for brains,” he would say, leaving some to wonder whether he meant this as praise or damnation.
Bay lo r Ar t s & S c i e n c e s
As a beginning teacher, I learned quickly and at firsthand, that a large part of the reason so many students came to see Dr. Lynn had less to do with their grade than with a desire to please him, the need to show themselves worthy and to earn his approval. He had such a powerful impact. I learned directly from him the enormous, life-long influence that a great teacher can have on students, how he or she demonstrates the beauty of the life of the mind. It is not surprising that author Ken Bain opens his recent book, What the Best Teachers Do, published by Harvard University Press, with a description of Ralph Lynn. Bain quotes former Texas governor Ann Richards, who took several of Lynn’s classes; they were, she said, like “magical tours into the great minds and movements of history.” The courses she took with him, Richards wrote earlier, offered us a window to the world, and for a young girl from Waco, his classes were great adventures.” The history department I joined and in which I taught for many years had wonderful teachers, who gave themselves totally to their students, to the life of the mind, and to discussion of the latest books and ideas about America, the West, and the world.
It had its own tales of eccentric behaviors, and to these eccentricities I contributed my own share. In those days, nearly all the professors in the department smoked. One could not enter the second floor of Tidwell without confronting a thick haze of tobacco smoke. While it may seem incredulous, it was permissible at that time to smoke in class, and some professors did engage in that activity. I learned about midway through my first year the advantage of pipe smoking during a lecture. One could stop from time-to-time, take out one’s pipe, fill it with tobacco, tap the tobacco down carefully in the bowl, and light it, while gathering one’s thoughts and planning where the lecture would next go. The whole process had obvious benefits, especially during those early years of teaching. Smoking a pipe certainly did for me, until it produced an extremely embarrassing situation.
One day, I wore to class a new three-piece polyester suit, a new men’s fashion at that time. During the lecture, I paused for a moment, and feeling especially confident myself, took out my pipe, filled and lighted it, and then, deeply engaged in the subject of my lecture, placed the pipe on my leg. Polyester material burns easily, and in only a few moments, I saw smoke coming from my pants. Glancing downward, I noticed that I had burned a large hole in the pants of this new suit, and that the white inner lining now stood out prominently. I remember giving the rest of that lecture holding my left hand firmly against my leg, trying to cover that embarrassing sight, and wondering how I would explain the hole in my new suit to my wife. Ann Richards, quoted in Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004), 1.
everything & anything going on around here Baylor Awarded $492,000 to Study Ways to Make Ethanol Cheaper to Produce
While the high cost of producing cellulosic ethanol still stands as one of the major hurdles of mass mainstream production, Baylor University researchers have been awarded a $492,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the byproducts created when making cellulosic ethanol and how many of those byproducts may restrict the fermenting process. The inhibitory byproducts are largely to blame for the current high cost of producing cellulosic ethanol. Ultimately, Baylor researchers hope to learn how to minimize these inhibitory effects, thus reducing the cost of producing ethanol. The study is being led by Dr. Kevin Chambliss, associate professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Baylor Students Selected For Fulbright Scholarship
Lauren Hughes, BA ’08, International Studies, and Cleyera Martin, BA ’08, German, received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, bringing the number of Baylor students who have received the honor since 2001 to 14. Both will teach English in Germany during the 2008-09 academic year as part of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) Program. The flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 286,000 participants with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Student Publications Win Awards The Lariat was named the best student newspaper in Texas by the Houston Press Club and was ranked second in the state by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association of Texas. Lariat writers Claire St. Amant and Melissa Limmer were also national finalists in the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2007 Mark of
Excellence Awards, placing in the top three in the country for “Breaking News Reporting.” Additionally, The Lariat and Focus magazine received nine Mark of Excellence Awards this year from the Society of Professional Journalists. The awards recognized work in the categories of breaking news reporting, editorial
Books By Baylor Professors Earn 2008 CT Book Awards
Christianity Today has announced the recipients of its annual CT Book Awards, which include Award of Merit recognition for books written by Arts & Sciences professors Thomas S. Kidd and Rodney Stark. The annual awards recognize “outstanding volumes that shed light on people, events and ideas that shape evangelical life, thought and mission.” Dr. Thomas S. Kidd, associate professor of History at Baylor, was recognized with a 2008 CT Award of Merit in History/Biography for The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (Yale, 2007). Dr. Rodney Stark, University Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor and co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion, was honored with a 2008 Award for Merit in Theology/Ethics for Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief (HarperOne, 2007).
writing, editorial cartoon, magazine nonfiction article, breaking news photo, in-depth reporting, sports writing, photo illustration and online sports reporting. The Mark of Excellence Awards annually honor the best in student journalism. The Lariat and Focus magazine also received awards from the Texas
Intercollegiate Press Association, the oldest and one of the most respected collegiate press associations in the nation. The two publications were awarded a total of 25 awards in categories that included writing, design, photography and editorial cartoons. The Round Up yearbook received 14 awards in the competition.
Waco Scottish Rite Grants $82,000 to Literacy Program
Camp Success, the language and literacy program run by the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, received a generous gift of $82,000 from Waco Scottish Rite. The free camp serves children ages 5 to 17 who have dyslexia, a language and reading impairment. Within the past six years, Camp Success has grown from 24 children to 80 children with more than 200 on the waiting list. For the 80 children that attended the camp, 36 Baylor graduate students, 12 faculty members and 4 undergraduate students were involved with Camp Success.
Senior Class Honors Baylor Lecturer As Collins Outstanding Professor
Dr. Mona M. Choucair, a lecturer in English at Baylor University, has been selected by this year’s senior class as the 2008 Collins Outstanding Professor, an annual award provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation that recognizes and honors extraordinary teachers at Baylor. Choucair’s teaching interests are in American literature with an emphasis on contemporary women writers, and she currently is working on a guidebook for educators on teaching Toni Morrison’s novels at the secondary school level.
Setting the Stage for a Life Worth Living: One Student, One Scholarship, One Performance at aTime Paris and London were among the destinations for Natalie Baker as she studied with Baylor’s Theatre Arts Department this summer. But these grandes villes are not where her love of performing arts began. For this native of Harlingen, affection for the stage and performance began simply, as a child growing up in one of the poorest counties in the nation.
“I saw a flier for a community play when I was in fourth grade, so I asked my mom to take me to the audition that night. And from that moment on, I was doing children’s theatre,” Baker says. “As a high school student, we performed for elementary and middle-school children in lower-income schools who had never been in a theater. The excitement and enthusiasm were phenomenal; the children really thought you were Cinderella.” Along with performing for these young audiences, in high school Baker began to teach them how, filling her free time with coaching children’s theatre and other events through her community theatre. Cardboard props, foil halos and a bunch of tiny, squirmy shepherds: Those are the makings of the familiar, sometimes-exasperating-toplan and impossible-to-direct community children’s play or
Vacation Bible School drama. Why is it worth the time and effort? For Baker, it’s always been about using her gifts and talents in a way that allows others to have rich experiences they wouldn’t have otherwise. “When we dress the children up into their roles and they’re reading the words from the Bible themselves, it means more to them, and they can understand what the story is actually about,” she says. “Doctors and lawyers help people live longer by promoting health and protecting them, but it’s arts and theater and music and performance that makes those long lives worth living.” Just as social and medical aid workers volunteer their expertise in reaching impoverished communities, Baker has used her unction toward performing arts as her own service to the underprivileged. It’s this kind of thinking and service, along with excellent grades, that earned
Baker a place as a Carr P. Collins Scholar at Baylor and much-needed financial assistance to attend what she deems “the top theatre school in the state” at Baylor University. Devoting time weekly over the past two years as a translator for Spanish-speaking patients at a free clinic in Waco, Baker’s commitment to service has remained constant though her “community” has changed. Among the donors who eased the financial tight spots during her academic career are John (BA ’54, LLB ’56) and Martha (BA ’55) Minton, both active Baylor alumni and proud parents of Baylor alumnae. But a love for Baylor is not the only commonality the Mintons share with Baker; they also share a similar philosophy about life and learning. “Science, the arts, literature, foreign language and history — all those requirements come together to help you at one time or another. As a student, your
first step is to get a good, broad education,” John, a longtime Tyler attorney, says. “If you’re going to go to college, you should have a real, significant education, not just a means to make more money. It should be for a better life.” John and Martha, who established the Minton Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, have had the unique opportunity to put a face and voice to the letters of thanks they’d received. “We first met Natalie as a freshman, and she was poised and eloquent, an outstanding young lady,” Martha says. John adds, “Seeing people like Miss Baker and knowing that they’re able to emphasize their education without being in a constant lather and concern about their finances is one of the most gratifying parts of endowing scholarships for students.” And emphasize she has: maintaining her excellent grades, volunteering with two
honors fraternities and serving as the recruitment co-chair for Baylor Theatre. “I was so touched after meeting the Mintons. I was just amazed at how selfless they are,” Baker says. “They could take all the money that they’re giving to students and do something else with it. But they chose, instead, to use it to make someone else’s dreams come true.” Baker, who will graduate in 2010, aspires to become managing director of a theatre and use that position to build ties with local schools and create plays with important themes that could be added to the curriculum. For now, she continues to use her studies, service and talents in the performing arts to bring joy into the lives of those around her.
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One Bear Place #97344 â€˘ Waco, TX 76798-7344 C olle g e of A rt s a n d Sc i e nc e s
baylor university NON P ROFIT O rga n i z at i o n u. s . p o s tag e pa i d
departments in arts & sciences:
Arts and Humanities
Art / Classics / Church-State Studies / English / History / Modern Foreign Languages / Philosophy / Religion / Theatre Arts
Biology / Chemistry and Biochemistry / Environmental Science / Geology / Mathematics / Physics / Statistical Sciences / Psychology and Neuroscience
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Aerospace Studies/Air Force ROTC / Anthropology, Forensic Science, and Archaeology / Communication Sciences and Disorders / Communication Studies / Family and Consumer Sciences / Journalism / Museum Studies / Political Science / Sociology
Published on Oct 1, 2008
In this issue: undergraduate research; the complexities of climate change; learning beyond the syllabus; Air Force ROTC turns 60.