By Anna Flagg
The Baylor Graduate School, which features more than 100 graduate programs, is hoping to raise awareness on campus about its various programs and benefits this year through media involvement. A new position has been created to facilitate this movement.
Dustin Morrow, a graduate assistant in the English department, has taken the recently created role of media and public relations coordinator.
His job is to get the word out about what the graduate school is doing on and off campus.
Dr. Denny Kramer, assistant dean of the graduate school, said it was time to hire a public relations coordinator. Ten percent of the Baylor population consists of graduate students, but these students are often overlooked, Kramer said. Morrow’s new position was born from increased funding and the growing need for awareness.
“A whole lot of things go on in the graduate school that don’t get out to the rest of the Baylor community,” Morrow said. His job encompasses promoting graduate programs, discovering the happenings of the graduate world and talking to the students about their lives.
Morrow said he believes these students are an asset to the university due to their involvement.
Many graduate students teach classes at Baylor.
“There is less pressure of universities only having Ph.D. professors teach students,” Morrow said. He said he believes that both graduate students and undergraduates benefit from this program and he has received positive feedback from both students and parents about the graduate student teachers.
“If graduate students are teaching [undergraduate] students, they are not just being thrown into a classroom,” Morrow said of the benefits to graduate students. “These teachers are qualified and have fresh research to contribute.”
Kramer said Baylor is trying to give these students the best educational experience possible and cater to their needs in return. He cited one example, a new program that allows male and female graduate students to take paternity or maternity leave.
“Baylor Graduate School is proactive and on the cutting edge of current trends and needs,” Kramer said. “Students can get up to eight weeks off at full funding or 16 weeks off at half-funding. Through this program, we are able to show students we care and provide tangible support.”
Kramer said most graduate students choose Baylor due to its strong religious principles, much like many undergraduates.
“A majority of graduate students want to study their discipline without surrendering their faith-based values, and that’s why they choose Baylor,” Kramer said. “These aren’t just people who work in a lab or in a cube, only caring about their discipline.”
Other graduates cite Baylor’s academic excellence.
Cathryn Clark, a first-year graduate student from Houston, chose Baylor based on what she views as a positive commitment professors here have to their students. Clark received her undergraduate degree at Pepperdine University.
“When I talked to some of the professors in the program, I could tell they care about their students,” Clark said. “There is a smaller, more personal atmosphere here compared to larger universities.”
To find out more about the Graduate School, visit www.baylor.edu/graduate.