Dean’s Update – April 15, 2022 | Specialized college

Dear colleagues:

Do you know the moving Good Friday poem by Christina Rossetti? It’s here:

under your cross

Am I a stone and not a sheep,
That I may stand, O Christ, under your cross,
To quantify drop by drop the slow loss of Your Blood,
And yet not cry?

Not if these women liked
who lamented you with extreme sorrow;
Peter not so fallen weeping bitterly;
Not if the thief was moved;

Not if the Sun and the Moon
Who hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at high noon—
Me, only me.

Still don’t give o’er,
But seek your sheep, true shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look again
And hit a rock.

Rossetti’s plaintive self-indictment begins with the first line, continues in the middle stanzas through contrasts with the mortal and cosmic lamentation at the passion of Christ, and comes together at the end with an appeal to the mercy of the Lord.

We are meant to be moved by Christ on the cross. Who would not be ? Crying, crying, hiding from a horror too great to bear – such should be ours, sees Rossetti. What if we were more stone than sheep? What if, despite the model of Mary, Peter and even the thief, we stood up and did not cry before the cross of Christ? Let us therefore also trust like Rossetti in a greater than Moses to work miracles from our hearts of stone.

Numbers 20 relates the account of the blow of Moses on the rock. We are told that water sprang from the stone. This marvelous miracle governs the last line of Rossetti. It doesn’t take a little tear or a sweet cry, but a sobbing, moving outpouring of love from Jesus, who being God “humbled himself by becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”

Impartial reason has its place. Analytical rigor can be aided by a cautious emotional distance from what one is studying. On this day, however, may we weep for the love of Christ, sorrow for sin, and hope for redemption. Happy Good Friday my friends.

In the life of the Honors College, take note of the novelties and particular developments:

• Last month we celebrated the creation of a new endowed chair at the Honors College. The University press release on Jim and Sharon Harrod’s gift and their vision is here. Harrods’ generosity is part of a tremendous year of resource expansion, with an Honors College-designated endowment rising from $20.2 million to $27 million, a remarkable 33.5% increase from a year to year. The majority of these resources support scholarships, helping us recruit high-potential undergraduates and make an exemplary Christian education more affordable for them.

• I am pleased to announce the launch of an undergraduate research assistant program. The program fulfills goals related to Pro Futuris and Illuminate: (a) to provide additional support for research-productive faculty; (b) broaden the education of undergraduate students, extend to them new forms of tutoring and provide them with experience in research methods; and (c) exercise sound management, paying attention “to the larger market in which we compete for the best and brightest undergraduates.” Details, including application procedures, will be available soon.

• In collaboration with the Doctoral School, we inaugurated a postdoctoral fellowship program last year. Our first post-doc, Rebecca Cassady, taught core cores in the BIC and GTX programs. As Becca completes her post-doctorate, I am delighted to appoint Michael González (Political Science, Ph.D., due August 2022) as our post-doctoral faculty for 2022-23. Michael was selected through a competitive process that included nomination by his department, vetting by the Graduate School, and committee review within the Honors College. We appreciate your contribution, Becca, and we welcome you aboard, Michael.

• Two honors program faculty are the 2022 recipients of the Elizabeth Vardaman Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Student Mentoring: Erika Abelclinical professor of biology, and Victor Hinojosa, associate professor of political science. Two others with strong HC ties also received the award: Jennifer Goodassociate professor of German and former director of the UNSC program, and Ginger Hanchey, English lecturer and associate director of the UNSC program. The award recognizes faculty “who go above and beyond the call of duty in their mentorship of undergraduate students, demonstrating excellence and a sustained commitment to helping these students excel through educational activities. engaged learning”. Well done Erika, Victor, Jennifer and Ginger!

• Only two months ago we still had face mask requirements in classrooms. As COVID-19 remains a reality and responsiveness to changing public health conditions is important, we have entered a new phase in which celebratory gatherings are welcome. On that note, please plan a Honors College Celebration next month. Dates and location are being confirmed, but May 18 or 19 are likely. Great food and drink, 2021-22 highlights, a preview of next year, and plenty of time with colleagues are in store.

All my wishes,

Douglas V.Henry | Dean
Specialized college | Baylor University | 254.710.7689

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