Curriculum at Baylor University from 1941 to 1950 was responsive to greater societal events, as well as university constituent interests. From a social standpoint, World War II was a central catalyst in military-oriented curricular changes at Baylor. These changes highlight a national shift towards war preparation in higher education. Additionally, Baylor and her president, Pat M. Neff, were receptive to the growing interest by both students and faculty members in radio technology. Curricular innovations, such as the establishment of a Radio Department, demonstrate this university-focused responsiveness. Changes made to the curriculum at Baylor in the 1940s, then, were directly influenced by external and internal forces.
In “The Impact of World War II on Baylor University’s Course and Program Offerings,” Sarah Madsen describes the implementation of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) and the Navy V-12 Training Program as main components of Baylor’s responsiveness to American involvement in World War II after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. She also addresses the addition of Department of Defense courses for faculty and staff members, as well as the expanded course offerings for undergraduate students at Baylor. Such military-oriented curricular changes, she concludes, fulfilled the university precedent of wartime involvement and aided America in winning the war.
In “‘A Source of Unlimited Power for Education’: The Growth and Success of Practical Radio Experience at Baylor University in the 1940s,” Kymberly Joiré addresses the establishment of a Radio major at Baylor University as a response to the growing interest on campus and the potential wartime benefits of studying the field. President Pat M. Neff was passionate about the potential growth of radio and facilitated Baylor’s purchase of the radio station KWBU out of Corpus Christi, Texas. Providing this opportunity for students to enhance their academic growth through practical learning outside of the classroom was beneficial to both Baylor students and the reputation of the university.
In both papers, Baylor University was visionary in its curricular endeavors, actively preparing for the future in the face of global conflict.