The classes are all taught, the papers all graded, and Dr. Larry Browning has mostly cleaned out his familiar office as he prepares for a well-earned retirement. After 42 years with Baylor University, Browning is thankful for the fond memories he’s made and the people he has shared them with.
“Over 42 years the change has been phenomenal,” Browning said. He recalled earlier times at Baylor when Fountain Mall was a parking lot and mornings were spent drinking coffee in the faculty lounge of the SUB before classes. “We’d go in there and sit and waste an hour every morning eating cookies and drinking coffee,” Browning said.
Browning has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Reading, Social Studies and Curriculum in the School of Education. Since 2006, he has served as the chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.
While there have been many changes in the past 42 years, Browning says they have all been positive, and that the quality of instruction has remained strong. “I don’t think we’re that much different in terms of the quality of the students and the workplace,” Browning said.
Thankful for the camaraderie within the School of Education, Browning said his colleagues work well together. “One of the things I’m most proud of and most comfortable with is I really think of the faculty of this department as one of the most energetic.”
Originally from Alabama, Browning did not always plan on staying in Texas. “As a true boy of the South, I thought we would be here a few years and then maybe go back to a place where you actually had four seasons,” Browning said. However, the community that he and his wife, Dr. Diane Browning, found at Baylor and in Waco kept them here for good. “You eventually get to the point that, yeah, this becomes home.”
As he approaches retirement, Browning looks forward to returning to those slow mornings with fresh coffee. However, instead of sitting in the SUB with his colleagues, he will be enjoying the fresh air from his patio with his wife. “I’m joining her (in retirement) and we are planning on perhaps having another 20 or 30 years of just being us,” Browning said.
Browning and his wife will remain in Waco, but they look forward to visiting their son in Austin. They plan to continue volunteering with Storybook Christmas, a non-profit that they helped to found in Waco that donates books to children.
“If you have an interest in working and improving the lives of kids, then you should be involved somehow in education,” Browning said. Though his years at Baylor are coming to an end, the experiences he has had will last a lifetime.
“I’ve worked with good people, good students, and I’m leaving very happy – proud of the work I did and glad for the opportunities to work with the people I’ve worked with,” Browning said.
—By Andi Risk
Click to see the Facebook Photo Album of Dr. Browning’s retirement reception.
ABOUT BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
For more than 100 years Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, superintendents, psychologists, health education professionals, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.