By Sara Katherine Johnson
More than anything, Dr. Rinn Cloud wants people to know that she feels called to her new role as the chair of Baylor’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.
“I feel that the Lord has given me some gifts in this area,” Cloud said. “That can sound kind of like ‘Oh I’m so good at this,’ but truth of the matter is it means I am very accountable to Him.”
This is Dr. Cloud’s fourth year at Baylor. A professor of family and consumer sciences, she holds The Mary Gibbs Jones Endowed Chair in Textile Science.
Cloud began her career as an undergraduate student at Louisiana State University studying apparel design. From there she went on to Purdue University to earn a master’s degree in clothing and textiles, with an emphasis on the social as well as psychological implications of clothing. She then attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to get a PhD degree in textile science.
After completing her education, Cloud joined the faculty at her alma mater, LSU, where she taught for 10 years. She later taught at Virginia Tech and Florida State before coming to Baylor in 2010.
Cloud’s research specialty is in functional clothing — specifically protective clothing. Functional clothing can include military uniforms, sports apparel, surgical gowns and even pajamas designed for women experiencing hot flashes.
Despite her new administrative duties, Cloud will be able to devote 25 percent of her time to research and maintain a teaching schedule. She is familiar with this balancing act, since 11 of the 15 years she spent at Florida State she served as department chair.
“As a leader in the unit, I believe in being very open and transparent and communicative,” Cloud said. “I also am a person that very much embraces change and innovation.”
Cloud said one of her least favorite things to hear is “we’ve always done things that way.” She clarified she doesn’t believe in change just for the sake of change.
“I believe in this society, and in this world, if you’re not changing you’re dying on the vine,” she said. “You’ve got to be out there at the forefront of what’s going on in your field. You have to be aware of the latest and newest technologies.” And Cloud praises her faculty for being at the forefront of embracing new technology and even social media.
Cloud looks forward to contributing to the Pro Futuris strategic goals of Baylor. The aspirations she has for the FCS department include increasing visibility of programs as well as increasing research, graduate programs and lab spaces. She also puts growing the department’s prominence in health initiatives and becoming a major player in global mission work on the list.