Faith & scholarship held in fine balance
___Baptist colleges and universities have a unique place in American higher education, and they are needed now more than ever to bring salt and light to our country and our world. Baylor University, as the nation's largest Baptist institution of higher learning, is as well positioned as any doctoral-granting college or university in the country to make its mark as the leading Protestant voice on matters of faith and learning. We are and will continue to uphold the highest standards of scholarly achievement while maintaining a commitment to
a Christian worldview.
___How do we accomplish this fundamental tenet of our mission? We start with our faculty. They are the institution's front line, and Baylor is fortunate to have outstanding scholar-teachers who subscribe to our mission and who take seriously matters of faith. We must never waiver from our effort to attract faculty who share these commitments, even when it means having to work harder to identify candidates for faculty openings.
___We also maintain our Christian distinctiveness through the curriculum and through programs and conferences. Initiatives such as Baylor's new Institute for Faith and Learning are helping us strengthen the integration of knowledge, reason and discovery with our spiritual dimension. The institute recently sponsored programs such as the Pruit Symposium, which last fall brought in leading scholars to talk about Southern Christianity, social practice and literature. This fall's symposium will focus on cultivating soulcraft and citizenship in contemporary America. Another example is next February's religious faith and literary arts conference, which will feature some of America's best-known authors, including John Grisham. This conference will tap into the national interest in Christianity and spirituality in popular literature.
___Baylor's recognition as a leader in faith and learning also is evidenced by the invitation of the American Association of University Professors to host a conference in the spring of 2000 on the subject of academic freedom in religiously affiliated institutions. In addition to hosting the event, Baylor will play a prominent role in planning and organizing the conference.
___There also is a tangible symbol of our Christian heritage and mission that I believe contributes to this environment, and that is the upcoming construction of the George W. Truett Theological Seminary facilities on our campus. I am excited about what the relocation of the seminary from its present quarters at Waco's First Baptist Church to the Baylor campus will do for the entire university community.
___I am grateful for the efforts that Baylor's regents, alumni, faculty and staff make to ensure that Baylor upholds its mission of being a Christian university of the first order.
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