Baylor University regents approve new staff positions, cheerleading as sport; outside panel offers advice on future
Baylor University’s board of regents wrapped up its annual summer meeting and retreat Friday afternoon, approving $3.9 million in personnel and other requests and naming cheerleading as the school’s 11th women’s intercollegiate sport.
On Wednesday, the board held a panel discussion about the best practices for university governing boards. The four-member panel included:
* James Huffines, of Austin, chairman of PlainsCapital Bank and chairman of the University of Texas System board of regents
* David Laney, a Dallas attorney and former Stanford University trustee
* Drayton McLane, chairman of the McLane Group and chairman/CEO of the Houston Astros, also a former Baylor board of regents chairman
* Philip Norwood, of Charlotte, N.C., former chairman of Washington and Lee University’s board of trustees.
The panel and regents talked about developing university vision and strategy, implementing effective committee practices, recruiting board members and university fundraising, according to Baylor officials.
Regent chairman Dary Stone said the panel’s expertise in a number of areas drew great interest among Baylor’s regents and provided ideas for discussion in subsequent committee meetings. Their experience with other schools also brought fresh perspective, Stone said.
“You get so wrapped up in your own stuff that you forget that other schools go through some of the same things that you’re going through,” Stone said.
Some of the discussion centered on the importance of regent involvement in fundraising, Stone said, noting that Norwood was instrumental in bringing a $100 million gift to Washington and Lee.
“A lot of the conversation was around how the board can be more additive to the school’s purposes,” Stone added.
The $3.9 million approved by the board will cover new staff positions in geology, art and enrollment management, as well as building development for the environmental science department on the fourth floor of Baylor’s science building and costs associated with making the cheerleading program an intercollegiate sport.
Stone said the money was allocated after a review of the current budget and university programs and said regents are committed to moving the school forward, even as many schools are tightening their belts during lean financial times.
“I commend (Baylor interim president) David Garland and the administration, faculty and staff for being responsible stewards of the resources entrusted to them,” Stone said.
Regents also heard a progress report from Garland, who noted an increase in doctoral programs, progress in research funding, more available on-campus housing, increased minority enrollment, a nearly 14,000-hour increase in student community service and enhanced alumni engagement.