Baylor 101 series gives faculty, staff tools to support students

The Baylor 101 series informs staff and faculty about important updates, giving them perspectives they might not hear otherwise. Mesha Mittanasala | Photographer

By Tyler White | Staff Writer

The Baylor 101 series provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn about important topics and updates related to Baylor. From student life to campus safety, the virtual conversation series works to address the broad scope of the university.

Dr. Torie Johnson, associate vice president for strategic communications and initiatives, said the Baylor 101 series attempts to teach faculty and staff about things on campus that they may not see often in their respective departments.

“A university is a really large place, and there are lots of moving parts,” Johnson said. “There are lots of people who do different things, and one of the challenges sometimes is that there’s so many different things happening, and you don’t have the opportunity to maybe learn about some of those areas that don’t touch you … on a daily basis.”

Johnson said each session is designed to provide staff with a greater understanding of the various events and initiatives across campus, keeping them educated and informed.

“Transparency is key and relative to how we communicate and what we want our faculty and staff to understand,” Johnson said. “We don’t want people to be confused or lost, and if we could find a way to kind of educate them and provide that opportunity, that’s really what we want to do.”

On Sept. 13, the Baylor 101 series held its first session of the year on the topic of student life. Johnson said it was a fitting discussion for the start of the academic year.

“We wanted to start the semester with where we start from an institution, and that’s our students,” Johnson said. “We had not touched on [them] in series one, and so we wanted to start series two with our students. We thought that would be a wonderful kickoff to the academic year.”

Dr. Sharra Hynes, associate vice president and dean of students, led the session on student life. She said she wanted to highlight all aspects of student life and the diversity on campus.

“I think it was a great way to help people know more about the division, know more about what unites us, even though we’re a really diverse set of departments,” Hynes said. “And we have a lot of different functions that we help support in the life of the campus.”

Hynes said the session was also a time to inform faculty and staff about how to better address student needs.

“It’s also a lot of service to students, and so helping paint that picture of the important ways we contribute to the student experience, the way we help students succeed, both in the classroom as well as outside the classroom,” Hynes said.

As a whole, Hynes said the Baylor 101 series is a great tool for employees at Baylor. With her focus on student life, she said it allows faculty and staff to prepare to take on the academic year with knowledge of all available resources.

“I think really having clarity around both the support that’s available and then how I help students access that support was a key thing that we wanted to lift up and highlight and I think will benefit students because they won’t be sort of floundering around trying to find resources,” Hynes said.

Tyler White is a senior Journalism major from Yorba Linda, California, with minors in religion and philosophy. He is most looking forward to developing his writing and reporting craft in the Lariat and to work alongside other writers. As a member of the Baylor Coed Cheer team, he enjoys supporting all Baylor sports. After graduation, he plans on going to grad school and eventually working in publication for the music industry.