• Five ways Baylor graduate students advance the Baylor mission

    A graduate student receives her hood at Commencement

    This week is Graduate Student Appreciation Week, a chance to celebrate the 5,500+ graduate students who pursue their calling at Baylor. Although they comprise nearly a quarter of BU’s overall enrollment, their contributions can fly under the radar — but not to those with whom they serve.

    “Being in the biology department, I use the metaphor of graduate students being the lifeblood of our university,” says Dr. Joe Taube (BS ’03), associate professor of biology. “Their teaching role is very important, and they’re the ones who end up driving the bus on research projects.”

    As we celebrate graduate students this week, here are five ways BU graduate students advance the Baylor mission.

    Teaching and Mentorship — For nearly 180 years, Baylor has been known for excellent undergraduate teaching, and its reputation remains elite. Graduate students play a meaningful rule in burnishing that reputation. In classrooms and labs, Baylor graduate students teach and mentor as they themselves are taught and mentored by their professors. Trained by Baylor’s outstanding teachers, graduate students receive excellent marks for teaching themselves, and they grow professionally through the process of teaching what they’ve learned to the next generation.

    Research — How does an institution like Baylor grow to become an R1 research university, recognized among the nation’s elite? There are plenty of standards to meet, but at a basic level, it means dozens of labs across campus are operating at a high level, earning major research grants and advancing knowledge in their discipline on a sustained basis. That wouldn’t happen without graduate students, who manage multiple research projects, write papers, interact with both professors and undergrads, and help their faculty mentors operate the lab on a daily basis — all at a level that helped elevate Baylor among the best of the best.

    R1 Metrics — The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education includes the number of doctoral degrees awarded as a benchmark for reaching R1 recognition. As Ph.D. students choose Baylor, they keep Baylor well above the threshold needed for R1 status. In fact, Baylor has enjoyed steady growth in the number of Ph.D. programs and students, with nearly 900 doctoral students currently enrolled.

    Real-World Impact — Not all Baylor graduate students are on campus. More than 3,000 students are part of Baylor’s Online & Hybrid Professional Education Program, learning remotely as they continue professional obligations all across the nation. With an average age of 34, they’re pursuing career advancement and impact in disciplines such as education, business, physical therapy, social work, and more.

    Extend the Baylor Line — As they leave Baylor with master’s degrees and Ph.D.s in hand, Baylor graduate students go out into the world and make their marks at other organizations or institutions. They’re in faculty positions at Penn, Cornell and dozens of other institutions of all types, not to mention research labs and industry positions around the globe. Baylor graduates stand out in these roles because of the training that prepares them to be salt and light in their chosen fields.

    Sic ’em, Baylor graduate students!