We, the Students . . .

“We, the Students . . .” provides a platform for thoughtful reflections arising from the student body of Baylor University, and is addressed to our esteemed faculty, administrators, and regents. This blog conveys the sentiments of numerous current Baylor students and is not affiliated with nor approved by the University or any of its constituent parts.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Baylor Graduate Students Extolling The Virtues Of Vision 2012

From now on, "We, the students of Baylor University . . ." should be understood to encompass both undergraduate as well as graduate students. Just consider a portion of an e-mail we recently received from a current Baylor grad student. This graduate student perspective on the implications of the direction and orientation of Baylor is incisive:

Think of us as professional apprentices. We have come to Baylor to learn the tools of the scholars’ trade. We are mentored by our senior colleagues (those who have already earned their Ph.D.’s) to become practicing scholars in our respective fields of research. This is very different from what an undergraduate experiences. Most undergrads will not become scholars (rather, they will become teachers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, ministers, or employees of government or business, etc.), thus the focus there is largely on rounding out one’s general education in the sciences and liberal arts.

So in many ways we are more affected by the direction and orientation of the university than undergraduates are. For one thing, many of us are here for a longer period of time than the normal undergraduate. A Ph.D. usually takes around five years to complete (assuming one already has a bachelor’s degree). But, and much more importantly, our careers are tied to our identity as Baylor Ph.D’s. Unlike my bachelor’s degree, the fact that I received my graduate degree from Baylor will remain relevant throughout my professional career. This is why grad students (in general) have such a tremendous stake in the future of Baylor. Our reputations will be intimately tied to Baylor’s reputation, whatever that happens to become.

Now I know for a fact that many of my colleagues would not have considered Baylor so seriously were it not for Vision 2012. We were all shopping for top-notch programs. The main attraction for us was the new faculty hires. These new faculty members gave a boost to the solid reputation that the [X] department already enjoyed. What sealed the deal for us were the new facilities and the significant resources devoted to graduate education, along with the inherent promise of Vision 2012.

So let’s assume that Baylor achieves the goals of Vision 2012. Can you imagine the great value of a Baylor Ph.D. in ten years from now? I get excited just thinking about it . . .