By Randy Fiedler, Director of Marketing and Communications, College of Arts & Sciences, Baylor University
Four Baylor University faculty members are the first recipients of the Core Curriculum Virtues Recognition Award presented by the College of Arts and Sciences. The awards are given annually to faculty members who have inspired moral, intellectual, and/or spiritual virtues while teaching a course in Baylor’s core curriculum during the previous academic year.
The Core Vision identifies 14 virtues –– humility, courage, rigor, integrity, respect, justice, empathy, compassion, responsibility, patience, wisdom, faith, hope and love.
Each recipient of the Core Curriculum Virtues Recognition Award is nominated by faculty members in their respective departments. The first four recipients, recognized for their contributions during the 2021-2022 academic year at Baylor, are: David Bridge, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, cited for the fundamental value of respect; Allyson L. Irom, Ph.D., director of undergraduate studies in modern languages and cultures, cited for the core value of compassion; Julie King, JD, senior lecturer and director of the environmental science undergraduate program, cited for the core value of courage; and Jerolyn Morrison, Ph.D., lecturer in art and art history, cited for the fundamental value of humility.
Blake Burleson, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate studies and strategic and enrollment initiatives at the College of Arts and Sciences, who played a major role in creating the current core curriculum, said that he was grateful to colleagues such as the four Laureates who “examine, express, demonstrate and measure virtues in their classrooms”.
“The Unified Core Curriculum provides a shared foundation of knowledge drawn from the rich and diverse tradition of the liberal arts, and develops various skills necessary for obtaining a university degree, which are also essential for personal and professional life at- beyond Baylor,” Burleson said. “In addition, the common core inspires moral, intellectual and spiritual virtues. These three general education requirements –– knowledge, skills and virtues –– are equally important in our educational efforts to transform students.
David Bridge was nominated for the Fundamental Virtue of Respect by Rebecca Flavin, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer in Political Science.
“Dr. Bridge ends the semester (by) asking students to write a mission statement that outlines their informed civic engagement philosophy and their five-year civic engagement plan,” Flavin said. “I can think of no better way. to instill respect in a politically polarized environment than the methods he chose.”
For his part, Bridge believes that “respect matters when it is challenged. When we deeply and fundamentally disagree with others, that’s when respect is most needed,” he said. “Before we can say, ‘I see things differently,’ we need to be able to say, ‘You know I respect you.’ as well as in everyday life.
Allyson Irom was nominated for the Fundamental Virtue of Compassion by Cristian Bratu, Ph.D., Associate Chair of Modern Languages and Cultures and Director of the French and Italian Division. “Dr. Irom is an excellent teacher, and her students appreciate her teaching skills, as well as her caring and compassion,” Bratu said.
“Learning to communicate well in another language involves much more than memorizing vocabulary lists and studying the mechanisms of sentence formation. Truly understanding how to engage with someone means knowing their traditions, beliefs and ideals. In the Spanish for Medical Professions course that I teach, the entire first unit is dedicated to exploring these dynamics,” Irom said. “Baylor students lead with compassion, and I hope my classes will continue to foster this quality in our future doctors and nurses.”
Julie King was nominated for the Fundamental Virtue of Courage by George Cobb, Ph.D., President and Professor of Environmental Science.
“Julie King teaches courses in environmental law, advanced environmental law and environmental policy. Learning about the determination of communities or individuals to challenge authorities through legal means inspires students to work courageously within institutional and community frameworks to improve current conditions,” Cobb said. “His commitment to providing foundational courses is immense.”
“The word ‘courage’ has its linguistic roots in the Middle English, French and Latin words for ‘heart,'” King said. “When I consider showing courage in my classes and in life, I ask students to call on their hearts to put others in the place of the most vulnerable. It can be a person suffering from the environmental health effects of pollution or people in a small, less developed country facing the most devastating effects of a problem it did not cause and does not have the resources to deal with. strives to inspire the courage to act based on the heart that students have for the poor, oppressed, disabled, underrepresented and most vulnerable.Courage requires strong advocacy motivated by a heart for justice . »
Jerolyn Morrison was nominated for the Fundamental Virtue of Humility by Heidi Hornik-Parsons, Ph.D., President and Professor of Art and Art History.
“Dr Morrison left the island of Crete to be a temporary full-time lecturer in Art History for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years. Her new spring 2022 courses were in History of Art. Minoan art and in Mycenaean cuisine,” Hornik-Parsons said. “Her willingness to take on this challenge showed her humility to examine investigative material that she had not watched or studied in many, many years as a Minoan scholar. Nonetheless, she persevered and succeeded.”
“It’s a joy to serve people by teaching because it explores ways of communication and understanding,” Morrison said. “The skills learned in our department like critical thinking, creative exploration, communication and observation extend beyond the subjects taught in the classroom. I believe they are rooted in empathy and humility, and the arts and humanities are based on honing these qualities. In order to interpret works of art and place them in a meaningful context, one must practice humility and look beyond trying to understand an artist’s intent. Teaching and learning these skills can be taxing, and it takes patience, practice, and most importantly, an ability to forgive yourself when there is a lot of room to improvement.