By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
On May 1, Baylor will welcome Dr. Nancy Brickhouse as the university’s new provost. The university provost is a chief academic officer that oversees university colleges, schools and works on furthering goals for faculty, staff and the student body.
Brickhouse is a Baylor graduate who served as provost at Saint Louis University in 2015 for the last three years and prior, spent the last 27 years at the University of Delaware as interim provost and deputy provost. Brickhouse said in a phone-in conference that she is excited for the opportunity to serve in a provost role at Baylor and anticipates being able to further the university’s Illuminate strategic plan and include students in important decisions.
“Something that really touched me was the inspiration of Illuminate, and how that describes Baylor’s aspirations for the future,” Brickhouse said. “I think that the world needs Baylor to be a Christian voice to solve some of the most challenging problems of today. This can be a challenging time to build community, and I think Baylor has the opportunity to play a role in shaping that conversation. Our students are really the heart of this institution, and engaging them in these big questions of today and showing them an example of excellence in Christian education is something I find incredibly inspirational.”
Brickhouse also hopes to use her role as provost to further diversity on campus, as well as to continue to promote Baylor’s goal to become a R1 university — which is a university that engages in extensive research activity.
“It’s important that we have a strong and diverse hiring pool, and that we’re taking diversity seriously. We’ll make sure there’s good training for search committees so they can conduct searches in ways that attract diverse candidates, and that we support them once they get here,” Brickhouse said. “We have areas as a university to work on as described in Illuminate, and once we get into planning out fine details, new ideas will emerge that will help to drive the growth we need to become R1.”
Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone expressed a similar desire to work with Brickhouse in shaping Baylor as a school that leads in research, diversity and furthering its Christian mission.
“We anticipate about 30 percent of our faculty will retire in the next five to 10 years, which allows for tremendous opportunity to really make progress on diversity in both the leadership of the institution as well as in our faculty ranks. The provost plays a very critical role in that, and Dr. Brickhouse is deeply committed and has shown evidence in past roles in helping enhance the diversity of campuses,” Livingstone said in the conference call. “The metrics needed to become an R1 university are pretty clear, so we know where we are and where we have to be. Dr. Brickhouse is very familiar with those metrics and has worked on improving those metrics at previous institutions — that will be part of what Dr. Brickhouse and others do in the coming years.”
Livingstone said Brickhouse possesses qualities that work towards Baylor’s mission and sees her time as a previous provost, serving at a Christian institution and having attended Baylor as providing roles that will serve Baylor and its plan moving forward.
“She brings a wealth of background experience that is in line with who we are at Baylor and what we hope to accomplish,” Livingstone said. “She helped integrate research very effectively in ways that are important to us as we seek to fulfill the goals set out in Illuminate. We feel like she brings the full package of what we need in terms of understanding goals of becoming a preeminent Christian research university. Because she has Baylor ties, she also has a love and understanding of the university that is important and will allow her to have an impact.”