Director’s Note: “I’ll be post feminist in the post patriarchy”

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I have a bumper sticker on my office door at Baylor that reads, “I’ll be post feminist in the post patriarchy.” Actually, it is on my BIC door, not my philosophy door, which tells you just a bit about the BIC and the space that it creates for critical reflection. Just under the sticker, I placed pictures of Plato, Nietzsche, MLK, and Gandhi. All of these patriarchs are depicted, in some way, as gesturing upward toward the good. Their presence tells you a bit more about the BIC. We teach all of these patriarchs in our courses.

I’ve never questioned being a feminist. Post feminism is not an option for me. In fact, my most recent addition to the top of my BIC office door is a picture of me and Lenore Wright at the 2016 BIC Senior Recognition Banquet. But at the same time, reading these patriarchs made me a philosopher. To a degree, the philosophical patriarchs also made me a feminist. That will tell you still more about a BIC education and the revolutionary nature of an education based in a close reading of great texts. But they made me a philosopher first and foremost. They led me out of my own cave of experience.

I see philosophy as a radical activity in that it forces us to engage with the distinction between truth and the appearance of truth and in that sense it is always politically and socially relevant. Philosophy points us to what is real rather than what people all around us tell us to believe is real. However, the practice of academic philosophy often fails to engage the current social and political domains.

In fact, it often culls out the radical and the practical in favor of the abstract. I recently read an article by Kristie Dotson, “How is this paper philosophy?” (thanks to Karl Aho–Social World Prof–for mentioning it to me).

Dotson starts this article with a story about how a guidance counselor dissuaded her younger sister from a career in philosophy. The advisor said: “Philosophy- That is a white man’s game.”

Until recently, I’ve focused on the man part of the equation and not so much the white man part of the equation. As a white female, I see the “gender” distinction more than I recognize the “race” distinction. But, since the first of the year, I’ve been involved with a group my sister started in Austin. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about systemic racism in America. As a result, the white part of a white man’s game is on my mind.

Kristie Dotson’s article is fantastic. I encourage you to read it. One point she makes about contemporary philosophy is that it is a culture of justification. Philosophers typically ask people working outside of established philosophical domains of inquiry the question, “but how is this philosophy?”

Dotson suggests that philosophy, in so far as philosophy truly wants to be something other than a white man’s game, would be better served by cultivating a culture of praxis. She explains:

“A culture of praxis, I propose, has at least the following two components:
(1) Value placed on seeking issues and circumstances pertinent to our living,
where one maintains a healthy appreciation for the differing issues that will
emerge as pertinent among different populations and
(2) Recognition and encouragement of multiple canons and multiple ways of
understanding disciplinary validation (17).”

My philosophy life at Baylor and my BIC life at Baylor, are in many ways inseparable. When I was interviewing for a job here, way back in 1992, Robert Baird (World Cultures III icon) showed me the original blue print of the BIC. Back in those early days, they called it the OCC (Optional Core Curriculum). I said, “I’d love to teach in that program.”

As luck would have it, I got to teach in it from the beginning. I was there with the very first alpha class. As I reflect back on the benefits of BIC, I realize that we’ve been cultivating a culture of praxis. I hope each of you finds meaningful ways to continue practicing the praxis of the BIC.

Anne-Marie Schultz
Director, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core

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Alumni Updates — April 2016

We hope you enjoy reading all the latest personal and professional updates from our BIC alumni. We post these updates once each year, usually during the spring semester. We also post various alumni interviews throughout the year. If you would like to contribute an update for a future post, please email us at BIC@baylor.edu. Enjoy!

(click on the photos to enlarge)

Henderson, GraigCraig Henderson (‘00) and his wife of six years, Samantha Henderson, APN, are expecting their second child, a daughter, on April 8, 2016.  Their son, Floyd Robert, will turn two also in April.  Craig continues to work as an attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the area of personal injury and commercial litigation while Samantha works in the emergency room at several Las Vegas hospitals.

Dugan, BrandonBrandon Scott Dugan (’01) received his Psy.D. from the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2007. In that same year he married Angela Emerick, whom he met in graduate school. After completing his pre-doctoral internship in Evanston, Wyoming and then working in Hopkinsville, KY., Brandon settled in Mankato, MN where he works for a private practice community mental health center called Eunoia Family Resource Center, which is a National Health Service Corps loan repayment site. Brandon has two beautiful daughters, Abigail, 5, and Annabelle, 1.

Hayworth, John-PaulJohn-Paul Hayworth (’01) earned a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut in 2003.  He currently lives in Washington, D.C. and is now the Executive Director of the DC State Board of Education. He is currently in his first term of office as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the Petworth Neighborhood. He is heavily involved in the community through mentorship programs, issues facing children, asylum seekers and LGBT Affairs. He is the former President of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, one of the oldest and largest men’s choruses in the country.

Holm, SamuelSamuel Holm (‘01) – After graduating from Baylor, Sam joined the Pine Cove resident staff team as the Crier Creek Director, serving from 2001 – 2011. God used Sam at Pine Cove to disciple thousands of college students and many fathers. While on staff, Sam received his Master’s of Divinity at Southwestern Theological Seminary where he focused on Biblical Hermeneutics. In 2006, Sam married Rebecca Konen and started a family. Five years later Sam moved to Dallas to become the teaching pastor at Park Cities Baptist, a church with over 11,000 members. God is using the Gospel through Park Cities to rescue people from cultural Christianity and help them to follow Jesus every day. Sam passionately believes that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only life-transforming message worth dying for. He is currently finishing work on his D.Min in Exegetical Preaching at Dallas Theological Seminary. Sam and his sweet wife, Rebecca, have two daughters, Anna and Ellie.

Sinclair, RobRob Sinclair (’01) and his wife Ann welcomed their first child on November 17, 2015, a little joker named Robert Killian who decided World Prematurity Day would be an appropriate time to show up 89 days before his due date! He spent 40 days in the NICU but came home two days after Christmas and is thriving now. He also feels that sleep is for the weak, so that’s cool. Rob was very happily transferred to the Communications Training section for the Anne Arundel County Police here in Maryland, and he now spends the majority of his hours working with new civilian hires as they begin careers as 911 call takers and police dispatchers. Rob and his family live in Annapolis with four cats and a serially-neglected fish, and life (and God) is good.

Thorpe, ElizabethElizabeth (Boyd) Thorpe (’01) went on to receive her M.A. in English and her PhD in Communication from Texas A&M University. She, her husband, and her son now live in Rochester, NY. She is an Assistant Professor at the College at Brockport (SUNY).  Her research focuses on the intersection of law, politics, and the rhetorical construction of American identity.  She has taught classes in protest, propaganda, freedom of speech, American political discourse, and argumentation.  She will sing the praises of the BIC to anyone who will listen. Continue reading

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Alumni Interview — Holly Joyner (’07)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. At least once each year we hope to publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we are posting interviews with some of our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Holly Joyner (’07). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

holly joynerWhat year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated in 2007 and double majored in Asian Studies and International Studies. I emphasized in Japanese and was fortunate to study abroad in Tokyo my senior year.

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I currently work at Baylor! I loved my experience in the BIC and all the amazing professors I learned from. Now I get the opportunity to work with them constantly. I am currently a Program Director for the living and learning center Baylor & Beyond. This program is for Baylor students interested in learning about the world’s cultures and communities. Students are immersed in Baylor culture and traditions, while also thinking broadly about their other communities across campus, the city, the state, and in the world! It’s a great adventure. I love getting to connect domestic students to international students, assisting students in studying abroad, as well as planning programs about current events that matter to our students. Most recently I was able to plan a program allowing students to learn more about ISIS and how that organization affects the world’s policy. We had two of my former BIC professors on that panel–Dr. Mark Long and Dr. Lynn Tatum. It was a great experience!

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since graduating from Baylor?

The emphasis on learning is what I loved most about the BIC. I try to read and ask as many questions as possible in order to continue to expand my own knowledge. I am also a lover of the New York Times since leaving the BIC. Now as a higher education professional I try to be as diligent as possible in keeping updated on current events in order to assist my students in being self-aware as well. BIC is also the reason I loved college so much, which is why I have made working at a college my profession!

What are your goals for the future?

I hope to obtain a PhD in higher education and continue to work with college students, specifically working with study abroad and international students.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

Yes, definitely. Late night study sessions cramming for social world in Memorial my sophomore year. Also, going to the ropes course with my examined life group in freshman year. I met some of the closest people in my life that day.

Do you have any advice for current BIC students?

Take as many BIC classes as you can. Really get to know your professors. They are amazing people who you can continue a relationship with after college. Study a foreign language. It will expand your mind and give you numerous more job opportunities.

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Alumni Interview — Dr. Keisha Ray (’07)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. At least once each year we hope to publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we are posting interviews with some of our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Dr. Keisha Ray (’07). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

Ray, KeishaWhat year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated from Baylor in 2007, a year earlier than anticipated. I majored in philosophy.

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

Right now I’m a postdoctoral fellow in the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics in the McGovern Medical School at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. I teach courses in ethics, humanities, and professionalism to medical students. I really, really love my job! I love that I get to shape the way that these future doctors will treat their patients. I hope that my courses give them a sense of cultural and social humility, sensitivity, and awareness. Overall, I like that I get to help create socially and culturally competent doctors who can be good to their patients and help transform the American health care system.

In the fall of 2016 I will be a tenure track assistant professor at Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas) in the department of philosophy. I will continue to teach courses in ethics, bioethics, research ethics, and medical humanities.

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

BIC influences the way that I teach. BIC gave me a love for humanities and a love for interdisciplined learning. All of my courses are interdisciplined and I often ask colleagues with expertise that I do not have to help me teach my courses, a style of teaching I first encountered with BIC.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

My favorite memory of BIC is a particular large group session in which I had a different opinion than most of the class and the professor leading the discussion. The professor and I engaged in a somewhat intense conversation in front of the class and most students found it very comical. The professor and I continued our conversation after class and most of my classmates stuck around to watch. This is a favorite memory because it speaks to the strengths of a BIC education and the great professors that lead courses. The professor did not belittle my opinion, although it was obvious he thought I was completely wrong. He asked me questions to draw out my beliefs and when I stuck to my opinion despite his best attempts to convince me otherwise, he applauded my fortitude.

What are your goals for the future?

My goal is to continue to live a socially conscious and happy life. My career goals are to continue to positively influence the lives of college students. I hope to inspire them to live self-directed, socially aware lives and give them the tools to stand up for their beliefs. I hope to live the kind of life that can inspire students to go into their communities and create lasting social change.

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BICers Lead Baylor’s Model Arab League

MAL 4

Baylor’s Model Arab League recently traveled to TAMU-Commerce for competition in the Southwest Region. Schools from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri were part.  Baylor won outstanding delegation awards for both countries it represented (Oman and Tunisia) and 11 outstanding delegate awards.  The BIC was key, for 9 of the 15 team members are BICers, and the chief organizer of the team is graduating BIC senior, Carina Zuniga.  Ruddy Tchao, voted by the BIC senior class as Mr. BIC, was also a part of the team, and like Carina, one of its award winners.

Baylor’s delegation is fortunate to have BIC’s very own Dr. Mark Long as their faculty sponsor. Dr. Long, or “faculty sponsor Graybeard,” as he likes to call himself, had the following to say:

“I’ve been faculty sponsor for Baylor’s team for almost 15 years now, and this is clearly one of the strongest contingents we have taken to the multi-state competition.  The BIC was a key part of that success, supplying 9 of the 15 team members.  And a special hat tip to Carina Zuniga, a senior BICer.  She worked tirelessly as our head delegate, organizing the training sessions in the months before the competition, preparing study materials, and then won an outstanding delegate award for her representation of Oman.”

Carina Zuniga, Baylor’s Head Delegate and outstanding BICer, added the following:

My personal interest in the Middle East began during World Cultures II and only grew from there.  Spending my first two years of MAL in the Palestinian Affairs committee increased my sensitivity to the world’s need for social workers, a career which I plan on pursuing after graduation. MAL has been one of my favorite college experiences, and I was undoubtedly able to excel with the BIC as my foundation.

We are so proud of our Model Arab League BICers and are thankful for the leadership of Dr. Long in so many areas at Baylor.

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A BICer Looks Back

karaThroughout this year, Kara Blomquist (Senior, Language & Linguistics major) has been reflecting on her Baylor and BIC experience on the QuickBIC student blog. Writing posts such as “Our Beloved BIC Professors” and “Answers Not Required,” Kara has offered a revealing look at her journey through the BIC. Below are a few excerpts from her posts, but you will certainly enjoy reading her complete posts at the QuickBIC blog.

From “Our Beloved BIC Professors”:

“The interest our BIC professors take in their students is another area in which they exceed expectations. Many professors have said at the end of a semester, ‘Come back and visit us,’ and they actually mean it. As a senior, I get to attend the class of only one BIC professor. When I drop in on or run into my past BIC professors, it is always so fun because they truly care. I have taken my fair share of classes, but only in the BIC have I been invited to a professor’s breakfast table for tea or into his living room for a shared meal, a human pyramid (thank you, Dr. Long) , and a movie.” (Read more)

From “Answers Not Required”:

“Yes, as we approach our graduation dates, we should intentionally search for things which interest us and for a direction to follow in our future lives.  But who is to say we will find those things according to the timeline set before us?  Maybe we will find our true passion as a junior and not realize how that passion will lead us to a career until three years after we graduate.

“This does not mean we sit around and wait for something to find us.  It means we keep our eyes open.  Whether you are a freshman or a senior or an alumnus, be open to the possibility of finding your calling.  Our lives can’t fit into boxes, and they will not follow a predetermined schedule.  Today, I encourage you to give yourself the freedom to find your passion at your own pace.” (Read more)

From “Reading Required: An Excuse to Explore’:

“Our time in the BIC is unique.  Where else would we find a community dedicated to understanding new perspectives and engaging different cultures together?  While we cannot stay in the BIC forever, we can take our experiences with us.

“Long after our time in the physical community of the BIC is over, we can carry the spirit of academic exploration and openness with us, wherever we may find ourselves.  After graduating from Baylor, this particular community of professors and colleagues will not surround us on a daily basis, but this does not mean that we must learn in solitude.  Soon, it will be up to us to continue our education, to create our own reading lists and find peers willing to dive into them with us.

“But right now, we have the BIC.  We have impactful readings built into our day-to-day lives and communities that are encouraged to congregate and discuss those readings.  This is a gift, friends.  Let’s enjoy it.” (Read more)

Read all of Kara’s posts at the QuickBIC blog.

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Ode to Dr. Long

Blue beard

Carolyn Robbins, second-year BICer, recently penned an “ode” to BIC’s much beloved professor, Dr. Mark Long. While being a lovely appreciation of Dr. Long, Carolyn’s blog post also expresses so much of what BIC aims to be about. We think you will enjoy reading Carolyn’s post. Here we offer an excerpt, but you can go to Carolyn’s blog to read the entire piece:

During that first semester of college, I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Perry for Rhetoric I. He’s another favorite of mine, but I’ll save him for another blog. He taught me that Plato’s most important ideas are the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Dr. Long has a special ability to find these things everywhere. He helped me see Truth in those ancient texts we read in Cultures I that I never would have looked hard enough to find on my own. He pointed out the Beauty of the themes the ancient authors expressed and marveled at their continued relevance to human nature. But most importantly, he helped me see the Good in education, literature, myself, and others when I was stubbornly fixing my eyes on the shadows on the wall. Even though he is no longer one of my professors, and even though I still don’t particularly like to speak in class, the lessons Dr. Long taught me have remained with me, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Dr. Long unlocked my chain and led me out of the cave, and by degrees, I am slowly but surely learning to see the Good.

Read the rest at Carolyn’s blog.

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Baylor Service Awards

martha lou scottThe Baylor Facebook page alerts us to the following BIC-related news:

Congratulations to Dr. Martha Lou Scott, associate vice-president for student life, on reaching 45 years of service to ‪#‎Baylor‬!

In addition to Dr. Scott, five other Bears were honored today for 40 years of service to the university: Dr. Larry Lyon, dean of the Baylor Graduate School, and four professors — Dr. Jean Ann Boyd, Janet Norden, Dr. Manuel Ortuno & Dr. Bill Pitts.

They and many other #Baylor faculty & staff members were honored today at an annual luncheon for those who have reached notable levels of service.

Congratulations to Dr. Scott (pictured) and Dr. Pitts, two wonderful professors in BIC! We also congratulate Professor Sharon Conry, who was honored for 30 years at Baylor. We are so thankful for each of you and your many contributions to Baylor and BIC!

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Baylor Students at Parliament of World’s Religions

religionsA group of Baylor students recently traveled to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah, as part of a cultural immersion trip with Baylor’s Cross Cultural Ministry. Three of the students who attended the Parliament were BIC students. Dr. Josh Ritter, Assistant Director in Spiritual Life and Rhetoric professor in BIC, also traveled with the group. As part of the trip, each of the students wrote a reflection on their experience. The complete reflections are posted at the Baylor Borderlands blog. Here are a few excerpts from our BIC students who went on the trip.

Diana Castillo

“At the parliament, I learned how to create space for interfaith dialogue. There were so many people with different cultural and faith backgrounds, yet the beauty of us being together at this conference was how we would all come to listen to each other’s perspective and allow for discussions that would help our hurting world… As someone who is involved in the development of communities, the parliament really challenged me to bring this idea of interfaith dialogue back to Baylor and to the places I go in life.” (Read more)

Andres Umana

“The parliament trip taught me something about humanity as a whole. We are all people, we are all set here to survive and share the world together regardless of background or religion. The plenaries especially taught me how people of different backgrounds can be so different in so many ways, but still have the same mind set about important aspects such as war, famine, and nature… Just like in the allegory of the cave, I now need to come back and inform and educate from what I have learned about other cultures and backgrounds.” (Read more)

Valerie Rivera

“[This experience] allowed me to hear different stories and truly develop empathy for others. In class we are taught what love and empathy are, but going to the Parliament made me create and express empathy towards different cultures… When people start to hear stories, something inside of us starts to stir and remind us of our humanity. Although we may all come from different cultures and backgrounds, we are all human and we should never forget that. Sharing our stories allows us to develop empathy, and from that empathy springs action.” (Read more)

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2015 Homecoming Lecture — John-Michael Marrs (’04)

John-Michael Marrs (’04), assistant professor in the department of theatre arts at Baylor, was the featured speaker for the 2015 BIC Alumni Homecoming Lecture. He spoke on the topic “Art and Interruption: Living the Examined Life.” Many thanks to Professor Marrs for his outstanding speech!

We hope you enjoy these photos from the festivities. (more photos on Facebook)

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