CEO of Blue Scout Media and Baylor Regent Kim Stevens sat down with the Baylor Lariat for a Q & A. Stevens was elected onto the board in May 2015.
Most students hear about the board of regents and they think about an entity – you know, it’s just the board of regents. How would you describe a day in the life of a regent so that we can better understand what you guys do on a daily basis?
On a daily basis, we’re like a lot of other people you know. You know, we go to work every day, we have families; I do laundry and shop at H-E-B. So you take us out of that, and you kind of blend in the role of a regent. We get a lot of emails from Baylor, just keeping us up to date with things that might be in the news or achievements that students are doing or “here’s a list of activities going on this week,” … so that we can be aware of what happens on campus.
We have emails within the board that might be discussions of “here’s something we need to talk about,” or a conference call that might get woven in. And then we have our quarterly meetings, and on those weeks … you just kind of go off the radar. It consumes those two or three days depending on how long the meetings are.
Being a Baylor parent, you’ve probably seen Baylor through the years. And now, on the board of regents, you have a little bit of a behind-the-scenes view. What have you seen improving in Baylor, and what would you like to see improving more?
Even just to go back further when I was a student here, which was ages ago, but I think there is much more of an emphasis on student engagement and the whole process. And so from the beginning, everybody from the president to all of your professors are giving you their cell phone numbers, making themselves very available, inviting you into their homes. And so there’s much more openness between students and faculty and administration.
But I think there’s also a real desire to have students involved at every level of the things that are going on on campus. You have more of an opportunity to have a direct impact and have input on things that you care about.
Other than focusing on campus activities and the student body, how do you work with the city whenever, say, you’re wanting to purchase a new plot of land to build a new facility? How does that work, and also — outreach towards the city — if Baylor is involved at all with it?
As far as outreach to the community, I think there’s an active effort to engage the community with Baylor. When I was a student, I-35 was a little bit of a dividing line, and it was Baylor and it was Waco. But I’ve really seen that the city and Baylor have started to really partner together, and there’s more of a community support of the university, athletics and all the things that go on here. So that’s been really great to see.
At the end of the day, Baylor is still a university. Despite the fallout that happened over the summer, do you think that the student body is aware of the board’s efforts to continue improving Baylor as an institution?
It’s hard to know on student body, you know how they feel – how they are perceiving things. I think I can speak for the board as well, but I will say that there are a few people that did some things that impacted Baylor’s image. I’m constantly saying to others, “Baylor has thousands of amazing students, hundreds of amazing student athletes doing really phenomenal things in the classroom and graduating and doing great things in the world.” We have an incredible faculty and administration; you know, we can’t lose sight of that. Baylor is still an incredible place. I have a high school daughter, and I would send her here tomorrow. I’m not worried about campus safety. I think the core culture here is very strong and remains unchanged. We can’t lose sight of that.
*Some questions were modified for the sake of clarity in writing