Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Friday, January 21, 2005

Sloan Resigns

My brother called us this morning to say that a press conference was going on at Baylor. The topic: a change in leadership. Turns out that Baylor President Robert Sloan finally succumbed to the wishes of various staff, faculty, students, and powerful alumni who have all been against his leadership since implementing Baylor Vision 2012. The website explains that
the purpose [of 2012] is to assume a unique leadership position in higher education by adding new faculty, facilities and programs, all while retaining and remaining grounded in our strong Christian mission. Baylor 2012 is a ten-year vision statement developed to set goals for moving Baylor into the upper echelons of higher education . . . . The 2012 Vision includes 12 imperatives necessary for the school to become recognized as a "top tier" institution. These imperatives range from academic and scholarly initiatives, to student life and campus expansion and improvement, to reaffirmation of faith-based learning, to athletics.

Even though I was around Baylor when 2012 was implemented and have read and heard the descriptions, I still don't know what it fully means. I just know that tuition is soaring (praise God I already graduated!) and construction is going on everywhere to create beautiful red-brick buildings. I'm still a little bitter that I never had a class in one of the new buildings my tuition helped build.

Anywho, Dr. Sloan has had to deal with a lot over the years. The faculty held a vote of no-confidence in the fall of '03, and followed it up with another vote at the end of the school-year and the beginning of this school year. Sadly, President Sloan's popularity has been declining and it seems he and the Board of Regents have finally decided to adjust the leadership. This is from Dr. Sloan's statement this morning:
But the natural side effect of change is conflict. We moved quickly and boldly to implement the vision and found that Baylor is not immune to the discomfort and insecurity generated by change. My leadership has often been a lightning rod for that discomfort.
But the focus should always be on the vision, not on the President. Though I have worked hard to cultivate mutual understanding with those who disagree with various decisions or even my management style, the reality is that my role as President has become a distraction from the main goal of fulfilling the vision. The vision is more important than any one person. No one is indispensable. Changing situations often require new leaders with different gifts and the benefit of a clean slate.

Although Sloan will no longer be president of Baylor, effective May 31st, he'll be the Chancellor. I have no idea what that means. Sounds like a demotion to me. But he explained the position will allow him to "focus on fundraising, recruitment, and promoting Baylor 2012."

Personally, I didn't think Dr. Sloan wasn't all that bad. It was frustrating to see the campus gutted and rearranged, not just buildings but also whole academic departments. But I did like that Dr. Sloan wanted to build a stronger Christian foundation at the school. That's the whole reason I chose to go to Baylor, so I would have that quality education based in Christian faith. Those who think that's narrow-minded in the world we live in today better watch out, lest we sic the bears on ya!

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