Bear Hugs from Baylor University

Hi! Hi! To all the readers out there! Last week I let you all know about my program’s Graduate Student Affairs Council (GSAC) and how we include site visits to other campuses for professional development and networking. Well, this week I thought I’d fill you all in on an example of our recent site visits.

I am just heading back home to Texas State after a full day’s visit to Baylor University and am reflecting on my experience. Our GSAC officers contacted Baylor’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Master Program (HESA) and their Graduate Student Association officers worked with us to create a fabulous day of professional development!

When we arrived we met our wonderful guide, Jared Dauenhauer, who is a second year student in Baylor’s master program. He and another graduate student first lead us to their very new fancy bus for tour around campus. The campus was a very beautiful and growing campus (lots of new buildings)! One of my favorite buildings Jared took us to was the Student Learning Center (SLC) which included the Health and Wellness Center, their Student Health Center, and the Recreation Center. I thought it was great that all of those services were organized together under one building. Another aspect that I found interesting is that Baylor is 48% residential (or living on campus)! There were a number of initiatives for retention through their housing which includes numerous Living Learning Communities (LLC)and two all-male residence halls!

After the tour, we were guided to a classy looking building (I felt like I was in a building from “The Great Gatsby” or the game “Clue”) where we met with a number of representatives in Student Affairs from across the campus for a panel discussion about the university. Coming from a public state university, they wanted to provide us with their perspective of working for a private and faith based university; which I found very interesting! It was refreshing to hear how each department truly incorporated faith into their work! Including faith into the profession of Student Affairs seemed to really allow them to reach the students on a much deeper level. In addition, I appreciated that it also took away any hesitance on whether or not you could discuss faith in anyway.

Of course, by lunch time we were ready to eat and our wonderful hosts were happy to take us to “The Sub,” a buffet style dining hall on campus. We were joined by more of their graduate students for lunch and got some time to chat with them over some delicious food. *Side note: Baylor is in Waco, TX, a.k.a. the home of Dr. Pepper… they had the pure sugar cane Dr. Pepper in their fountain drink dispenser, but I couldn’t have any because I gave up soda for Lent.

After lunch we were joined by the HESA faculty and more students for a round table discussion on hot topics. This was a fabulous time for us to hear about the different perspectives on issues in higher education today as well as understanding issues on each of our own campuses.

Before our last session, we took a break to check out the Baylor Pool Lounge for a Baylor tradition of Dr. Pepper Floats and to play some pool and relax. Next we met to exchange presentations on each of our programs. It was really interesting to hear about the things that made us similar and different even though we are essentially the same program. To wrap everything up, we headed over to “Vetechs,” a local Bar-B-Q restaurant, for dinner and good byes.

I know our students from Texas State were so impressed with the organization of our visit to Baylor and we were very appreciative (shout out to Christa, Sam, and Laura).It was wonderful that our groups had this opportunity to work together and learn from one another even though we are from different programs and universities. We even discussed having a round table at a conference that would provide an opportunity for graduate programs to network with one another and coordinate site visit exchanges, perhaps at our next regional conference! ...Let me know if you’re interested in the discussion or visiting Texas State’s program!

Jenni with an “I”

Student Affairs - the First Years

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  1. I am a graduate student at the University of North Texas in HESA Program and I would be really interested in setting up a campus visit like this one. Is there a way I can get your contact info?

  2. Hi Sarah.amberson if you email, we will connect you with Jenni. Best, Joshua Wilson


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