At the heart of our mission as a Christian research university is a belief that we honor God when we align resources to promote human flourishing. We do this in many ways—through our teaching and research, as well as the myriad ways we serve neighbors near and far. On January 12 we announced the creation of the Baylor Social Innovation Collaborative (BAY-SIC), a new initiative designed to help us align nimbly and strategically around “wicked” problems, those complex tangles of issues that require imaginative thought and transdisciplinary action.
In just over three weeks since the announcement, we have seen an overwhelming response. Framed as a sort of “all call,” we asked faculty and staff to assemble and design collaborative experiments, pathways that might help us develop generative and transformational new approaches to the world’s big challenges. Nearly 30 distinct ideas have emerged, representing, in some form, almost all of our colleges and schools, plus Student Life, University Libraries, and several institutes, centers, and programs. The range of proposed issues is inspiring, with projects initiated on such topics as food security, healthcare access, immigration, incarceration, human trafficking, water use, and the flourishing of persons with disabilities and their caretakers. The collaborative diversity impresses, too, matching, for example, engineers with social work faculty, computer scientists with nursing and business faculty, environmental scientists with education faculty and staff of the Mayborn Museum, and all with collaborators embedded in the communities we aim to serve.
You will see in coming days all sorts of new activities on our campus: new forms of collaborative teaching that encourages the mindsets and skills of innovation; new models for mixing graduates and undergraduates in problem-driven laboratories; new prototypes for joint research, with internal and external resources aimed toward the development of transdisciplinary models of engagement with the world.
These are hopeful days, and many promising opportunities lie ahead. If you wish to join forces with colleagues working on these and other initiatives, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.