What’s Wrong With Baylor University?

Another president is out the door, which tells me this is a school that can’t decide what it wants to be. Should it compete for the top tier? Or should it remain a nice middling college for nice middling Baptist children? While I don’t know anything about the internal power struggle, the fact that John Lilley vetoed 12 out of 30 candidates for tenure indicates that he had bigger ambitions for the school in mind. Apparently the regents don’t.


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24 responses to “What’s Wrong With Baylor University?”

  1. Jay says:

    I went to Baylor precisely because it was a “middling” school. Not everyone wants to be on the top of US News’ ranker and competing for the BCS.

    Not sure the stats now, but during the late 80’s (hi Wham!) Baptists were actually in the minority at Baylor. At least that’s what I told my sainted Catholic mother.

    Sic ’em

  2. Eric says:

    The unending turmoil at Baylor is a tragic thing for that institution.

    It is a good institution for undergraduate teaching, and they should stick to what they do best. This idea of becoming “elite” is crazy. What about just being “very good?” Makes more sense given their circumstances.

    According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Baylor spent $9.6 million on research in 2007. In terms of developing into a “research” institution, that is a very small amount from which to build; they are not a player. The idea of growing that significantly to become “elite” is cost prohibitive for them, and their internal faith issues seem to get in the way.

    I don’t have an answer to the faith battles that crop up, but, Baylor, please stick to your strengths rather trying to become something you are not. It’s better to build on that than to over-reach.

  3. earp says:

    Wick, you should have just stopped with the line “I don’t know anything”.

  4. winston says:

    Baylor has a 1.2 billion dollar endowment, people. It is the largest Baptist University in the world, has the 4th most athletic national championships in the Big 12, constantly ranks with the nations “elite” when it comes to academic performance and alumni incomes earned. Dont judge a school by its football team.

  5. Nate says:

    Being a Baylor alum, I actually questioned the hiring of Dr. Lilley since he did not have the typical background of prior Baylor presidents. In a way it was strategically wise to bring him in with a fresh perspective on how to reinvigorate the university. Yet, he tried to do things that were shifting away from the traditions of Baylor, like focusing on research more than teaching itself.

    One of the greatest gifts I received there was the accessibility of my professors. Since they were tasked to teach and not research like at state universities, my professors always kept very open office hours. Not only did I have chances to improve my class performance through focused discussion with my professor, I also got to see them as a friend and adviser. The barriers of the classroom came down, and the one-on-one interaction offered me new ways to study and learn.

    I am curious to see who will become the new president, as I hope he or she will uphold the Christian values upon which Baylor has stood since its beginning.

    Oh, and Wick, you would be surprised that Baptist children make up only about 50% of the student population. There is a fair percentage of non-Baptist, Catholic, Jewish and even atheist students. Then again, I saw that poll back in the mid-90s. Maybe it’s changed a lot, but it was a surprise to me and others that Baylor attracted so many non-Baptists.

  6. Jessica says:

    Winston forgot to add that it is the home to more Texas governors than any other University in Texas, it was chartered by the Republic of Texas, before it was even a state in the US, and is where Willie Nelson learned how to play the guitar.

  7. Eric says:

    Winston, I agree, but who is talking about football…or sports in general?

  8. El Rey says:

    Baylor Law School is one of the best in the state. There is a reason they call it the ‘Harvard of the South’. Best courtroom lawyers you can buy.

  9. j.d.w... says:

    “…fact that John Lilley vetoed 12 out of 30 candidates for tenure indicates that he had bigger ambitions…”

    Wick – with all due respect – you should probably dive a little deeper into this tenure debacle before making assumptions about Lilley’s ambitions. Rarely are tenure decisions made by a President. This guy has a track record of pettiness and self glorification.

    BU is just fine. The education a student receives there is worth the cost.

  10. buck says:

    Wick’s point is valid. Baylor is tragically mediocre.

    It’s closer to SMU and TCU in quality than to Rice or UT, and Baylor might trail both the
    DFW schools academically.

    It’s on its way to becoming the private equivalent of UNT or Texas State-San Marcos — a second-option school.

  11. j.d.w... says:

    Buck – Though a BU grad twice over, I’m typically not a Baylor apologist… but I presume your claim is based on your own perception and not on fact. I challenge you to back it up.

    Here are a couple I found easily:

    The Fall 2007 freshman class had a mean SAT score of 1219
    Baylor offer 150 baccalaureate programs, 76 master’s and 22 doctoral programs.
    Baylor University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    Baylor students report themselves significantly more satisfied with almost every aspect of their undergraduate experience (approximately 90 percent of the items measured) than students at other private institutions
    Baylor law students had a 100 percent passing rate on the February 2007 Texas State Bar Exam, 21 percent higher than the state average

  12. DallasWill says:

    The only fact that stands out against other universities in the state is the Bar exam passing rate (which seems suspect). Otherwise… Baylor seems to be mediocre. Check the stats on other private universities in the state.

    BU is a good university… unfortunately, so are the many other in our fine state. Line it up next to a top tier research university and BU will get stomped.

  13. Jay says:

    @ buck you

    Thank you for putting Baylor in the same grouping as SMU, TCU and even UNT (hi Peter Weller!). And I agree BU is no Rice or UT (thankfully). But TS-SM? Until Baylor puts a creepy Planet of the Apes-esque statue of it’s namesake on the interstate, we could never aspire to be that GREAT.

  14. Amanda says:

    El Rey

    “The Harvard of the South” for undergrad is actually Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas- Not Baylor University.

    But I will agree with you that their Law School is top notch if that is the “Harvard” part you point out.

  15. Bethany says:

    That’s the school where you can’t drink, right?

  16. mike says:

    I’m a graduate of “The Harvard of the general area located between Amarillo and Abernathy”

  17. Jay says:

    @ Bethany

    Oh, you can drink. You just can’t make love standing up. It looks too much like dancing.

    (I’m sure if I had graduated from a top tier school, that would have been more funnier.)

  18. Bethany says:

    I get it all confused Jay. I went to a school that was disqualified by Playboy from its list of Top 10 Party Colleges for being a professional party school.

  19. superkaty says:

    bethany – you have obviously never been to george’s. sweet, sweet george’s. many a brew has been had there by this young baptist preacher’s kid – and i still managed to graduate from baylor with a 3.75! people are being so mean to little baylor. don’t you know that baptists always manage to stir up trouble? that’s part of our charm…

  20. Bethany says:

    I haven’t – I’m a University of Arkansas at Fayetteville girl.

  21. superkaty says:

    you pig. (sooey!) 😉

  22. Dave from Ennis says:

    Uh, Jay, the statue of Sam Houston you are referring to is at Sam Houston State in Huntsville. Its an insult to confuse “Prison State Univ” with Texas State U.

    And for Buck, way back in ’89 I chose Texas State (SWT) over North TX State, SFA and UTA. It wasn’t a second option for me.

  23. Jay says:

    Sorry Dave from Ennis.

    I blame my middling education. And those damn dirty apes.

  24. johnny utah says:

    John Lilley plays the flute and wears yellow slacks with green chucks. Not to mention he tried to take away the interlocking BU. It was time for him to go.