With this interview, we begin a new series of interviews focused on the founding faculty of BIC and the members of the committee that helped form the BIC. As we approach 25 years as a program at Baylor, we are increasingly grateful for the work these faculty did to help establish this program that has benefited so many students, faculty, staff, and others over the years. This month we interview Dr. Bill Pitts, professor of religion and founding faculty member for World Cultures II. Dr. Pitts plans to retire after the 2017-2018 academic year. We will certainly miss him in the BIC program, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.
How did you initially get involved with BIC? What made you want to be part of the BIC program?
When BIC began, the required courses in Religion were Old Testament and New Testament, rather than Christian Scriptures and Christian Heritage. I thought that [the BIC program] would be a way to introduce more students to key developments in Christian history and to relate church history to the broader history of Europe.
What were your hopes for BIC when it first started? Have those hopes come to fruition?
I was attracted to the idea of working in an interdisciplinary program. I thought that in this way Baylor could join other universities in forging innovations in educational general studies. I think that the recognition the program has received suggests we have been successful in achieving this goal.
How do you think BIC has influenced the larger Baylor community?
The BIC is well known across campus. It reminds the entire student body that the discovery of new ideas through reading and writing are essential components of the university experience.
What are your hopes for BIC in the future?
I hope that the BIC will continue to be a vibrant and innovative program. I especially want to see graduates secure jobs and be successful.
Which classes have you taught in BIC? What do you most enjoy about teaching in BIC?
I have taught in World Cultures II since the beginning of the BIC. The faculty has been great. We have moved along by consensus, experiencing a willingness to accommodate a wide variety of views and practices. I have learned much from fellow faculty members and also from the points of view of students whose different experiences evoke a broad array of insights into the texts we read.
What are you looking forward to in your upcoming retirement?
In retirement I look forward to reading widely and continuing to travel.
Do you have any memories of your time in BIC that you would like to share?
I have many memories of the BIC. The students seem to recall the Mosque visit from World Cultures II. Also memorable for faculty are the trips we have taken together, including China, Machu Picchu, and most recently, Iceland.