Just the Bear Facts

To help you get your bearing in Grad School.

Month: March 2016

The Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award

Behind every great student is a great teacher. Such is the reason why Baylor has been implementing a policy that all Teachers of Record must receive training appropriate to their role in the university. Sometimes, however, that teacher just happens to also be a student, a graduate student. Aware of that fact, the Graduate School, in partnership with the office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, offers training sessions each semesters that any graduate student can attend.


Every semester, the Graduate School and Baylor recognizes the very best of these educators, who were able to balance their own work and responsibilities as students while demonstrating excellence as classroom instructors, with the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. Dean Lyon has finally pulled back the curtain and revealed the Fall 2015 semester’s honorees. They are:

Nathan Cartagena (Department of Philosophy)

Grace Aquino (Department of Environmental Science)

Olivia Carroll (Department of Political Science)

These three individuals were selected by a committee of graduate faculty and graduate students based on five documents: recommendations from their supervising faculty, student evaluations and letters from students in their classes, their teaching philosophy statements, and their records of participation in professional teaching development. They will be given the opportunity to attend teaching conferences, as well as a plaque commemorating their achievement. Join the Graduate School and Baylor in congratulating these special individuals!

You can find a list of past winners here and the benefits for graduate school Teachers of Record here.

By Matthew Doyen

Moving Up!

For the last thirty years the U.S. News has been ranking its best graduate schools and programs in the nation. This year’s rankings have been released and, not surprisingly, Baylor’s programs have continued to rise! The graduate school departments and programs that received the highest rankings and largest advances were in disciplines such as law, business, nursing and health, education, and engineering. Around two thousand programs were surveyed and the full results can be found at www.usnews.com.


Here is the BU rundown:

Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business: moved into its new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation and up one spot to 57th (out of 379) this past year, with the recent online MBA program sitting at 69th in the country.

Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing: located in Dallas, the Master of Science degree improved fourteen spots to 58th and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program soared 27 places higher to 45th (out of 259), with the Nursing-Midwifery program debuting in the top ten as 10th nationally.

Baylor’s School of Education: progressed five places to 78th (out of 255) in the country.

Baylor School of Engineering and Computer Science: unveiled at 118th (out of 194), with Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering sitting at 109th and 124th respectively.

Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work: the downtown location advanced seven slots to 53rd nationally.

Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences: Speech-Language Pathology program climbed ten spots to 69th in the country.

Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences: Clinical Psychology programs jumped seventeen spots to 62nd nationwide.

U.S. Army-Baylor: Health Care Management program ranked 7th and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree placed 8th respectively.

For information about Baylor’s rankings visit the story by Media Communications, from where this material was gathered.

By Matthew Doyen


Midday Crisis: The Best Dozen Places to Grab Lunch on your Campus Visit


If you’re like me and Kev, then first lunch and second lunch are the most important meals of the day. When I came to visit Waco over the summer, I didn’t know where any of the good lunch spots were (or even if there were any), so I just settled for ultra feast at the familiar Olive Garden. While their bread sticks were delicious and consumed by the handful, I now know that there are so many other tasty choices available for my greasy little fingers. So, as procrastination is hitting a all-time high over Spring Break, we have compiled the best dozen places to grab a bite to eat while visiting Baylor.

1. Jasper’s Bar-B-Que (105 Clifton Street)


Don’t let the outside fool you! This little gem is the oldest barbecue joint in the city and the food inside is a testament to their longevity. If you’re lucky enough to be around on a Wednesday, their $10.99 AYCE ribs are not to be missed. The Waco Tornado is also a classic that is sure to leave any barbecue lover pleased and stuffed. Hours – Mon-Sat: 10am-2 pm

2. Xcristo’s Cafe (202 South University Parks Drive)


The only food truck to make the list is also arguably the best (and most confusing to pronounce) in all of McLennan County. Their lamb and beef gyros are seriously “opalicious.” Xcristo’s lunch special includes your choice of gyro, a healthy dose of french fries, and a drink for a tidy $10. Hours – Tues-Sat: 11am-7pm

3. Twisted Root Burger Company (801 South 2nd Street)

Being one of the newest eateries to branch to the city from the northern metropolis known as Dallas, it is hard to miss this colorful building from I-35. And, quite frankly, you shouldn’t because it has perhaps the strangest menu in Waco. Depending on the season, you could order a burger made of camel, beaver, gator, or kangaroo (sorry, Pooh Bear). Hours – Everyday: 11am-10pm

4. Poppa Rollo’s Pizza (703 North Valley Mills Drive)


Opened by a Bear alum in 1969, Poppa Rollo’s offers some of the best pizza and calzones in the area. Although a little bit further away from campus than some would like, this pizzeria is sure to satisfy even the toughest critics. Hours – Everyday: 11am-11pm

5. Torchy’s Tacos (801 South 5th Street)


Another newcomer to Waco (from Austin) that has already become a hit. Even in a city littered with great taco trucks and restaurants, Torchy’s “damn good” tacos and green chili queso always seem to be at the top of everyone’s list. Also, try looking up their secret menu before ordering! Hours – Everyday: 8am-10pm

6. Schmaltz’s Sandwich Shoppe (105 South 5th Street)


Schmaltz’s is truly “Waco born and bread.” Their artisan bread is handmade everyday and is the staple to this downtown lunch spot. You cannot go wrong with a large Schmaltz, which contains multiple kinds of cheeses and meats, but has a smaller price tag at $8. Hours – Mon-Fri: 10-3

7. Dubl-R Old Fashioned Hamburgers (1810 Herring Avenue)


If you don’t like red meat and sweaty cooks, then Dubl-R may not be for you. But if you like great burgers at an affordable price, then welcome home!  The drive out there will take you through some of Waco’s less traveled neighborhoods, but their Triple-Triple (triple patty, triple cheese) will quickly have you running back for more. Hours Mon-Fri: 10-6, Sat: 10-2

8. Vitek’s BBQ (1600 Speight Avenue)


Vitek’s, home of the world-famous GutPak. Having opened more than one hundred years ago, this Baylor favorite has long since mastered all of their fixings. In fact, just a few years ago, they were named the country’s number one college eatery. Yes, it’s that good! Hours – Mon: 10:30am-3pm, Tues-Thurs: 10:30am-6pm, Fri-Sat: 10:30am-9pm

9. Clay Pot (920 South Jack Kultgen Expressway)


It’s hard to imagine that Waco’s only Vietnamese restaurant is also one of Baylor’s favorite places for lunch, but it’s no joke! Warning: you may find yourself addicted to Clay Pot’s traditional cuisine (and seating) after just one meal. It’s still oh so worth it. Hours – Tues-Sun: 11am-10pm

10. Shorty’s Pizza Shack (1712 South 12th Street)


Shorty’s Pizza Shack is just a few blocks off of campus and therefore has some of the most affordable lunch specials in the area for us poor college students. In addition, they have a different special everyday, as well as a rotating slice board. Make sure to try a pizza pillow and take a sticker on your way out! Hours – Everyday: 11am-11pm

11. Baris’s (904 North Valley Mills Drive)


Baris’s is really the only authentic Italian restaurant worth talking about in Waco. If I only knew of its great lunch specials and healthy portions before I went to the Olive Garden! You know you’re going to get an excellent meal every time because Mama Baris doesn’t except anything less for her loving patrons. Hours – Tues-Sun: 11am-10pm

12. Lulu Jane’s (406 West Elm Street)

Lula Jane's WTX

The only restaurant to make both our top breakfast and lunch lists is West Waco’s Lulu Jane’s. A daily special each day that is made from scratch, in-house, with the best ingredients is one of the many things that makes this place so appealing. Hours – Mon: 9am-3pm, Tues-Sat: 8am-3pm

So, schedule a tour and come see us soon! If only for the food…

By Matthew Doyen

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