Jan. 21, 2010
To: Baylor University Faculty, Staff and Students
From: Dr. David E. Garland, Interim President
I write concerning the University’s conversations with the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.
As many of you have heard, and as Provost Elizabeth Davis reported to faculty last week, we are engaged in conversations with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Texas Children’s Hospital regarding a strengthened affiliation. We believe that such a strengthened affiliation could be helpful to the University’s continued growth and advancement. Talk of a strengthened affiliation has encouraged us to think broadly about some exciting new opportunities for the faculty and students of Baylor University.
As you can well imagine, the issues associated with a strengthened affiliation between three very mature organizations are complex and so we are not at liberty presently to say anything specific about our conversations. I can tell you, however, that we are not interested in any arrangement that would put our campus at undue risk. We are carefully examining the issues related to a strengthened affiliation agreement and will not make any decision until we have completed our due diligence.
Baylor University has an ambitious mission and vision that are unique among higher educational institutions. There are some who do not fully understand who and what we are. As word of our conversations with BCM and TCH has spread, a variety of the misperceptions about Baylor University have been reported in the news media. There also have been misstatements about our history and current relationship with the Baylor College of Medicine. We are working with colleagues at BCM and TCH to ensure that accurate information is conveyed within their respective communities.
The factual information that we have shared includes the following:
· Since it originally affiliated with Baylor University in 1903, the Baylor College of Medicine has been a nonsectarian institution.
· The world renowned engineer and surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey, was a member of the Baylor University faculty for more than 20 years. It was DeBakey who in 1968, with then Baylor University President Abner McCall, successfully argued for a legally separate Baylor College of Medicine.
· In 1969, Baylor University decided that the College should become an independent institution. The University did this so that the College could attract broader, nonsectarian financial support and gain access to state and federal funding. At that time, Baylor University was part of the educational system of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the BGCT prohibited the acceptance of government funds. Baylor University has always been proud of its sectarian identity, but University regents realized its association with the BGCT could be limiting the College’s access to a range of financial resources. What’s more, regents concluded that it was unreasonable to expect that the BGCT could continue to assume the financial burden of a growing medical school.
· After Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor University legally separated, by mutual agreement in 1969, the two institutions continued to have an affiliation.
· Baylor University has appointed 25 percent of Baylor College of Medicine’s board members since 1969, while Baylor University continues to retain rights to the “Baylor” name.
· Baylor College of Medicine is affiliated with the DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Harris County Hospital District’s Ben Taub General Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, The Menninger Clinic, Memorial Hermann – The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and The Methodist Hospital, of which two are faith-based institutions.
· Today, Baylor University is classified as a research university with high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation. It enrolls more than 500 Ph.D. candidates and offers a broad array of graduate degrees spanning fields in the sciences, humanities, business, law and the arts. Active research grants received by Baylor faculty top $41 million, while annual research expenditures from those grants, including sources such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, exceed $16 million. Baylor researchers are no longer prohibited from seeking or accepting federal or state funds to support their work. Baylor’s tenure decisions include an expectation of academic scholarship and research productivity.
· Baylor University faculty engage actively in collaborative research with colleagues representing some of the top universities in the world. A sampling of these universities include University of Minnesota, University of California, University of Maryland, University of Texas, Princeton University, University of Graz, Austria, Carnegie Institution for Science, Cornell University, Harvard University, The Institute for Genomic Research, Georgia Tech., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Michigan State University, Duke University, Harvard School of Public Health, University of Washington, and William and Mary - Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
· Baylor University recently completed construction of a 500,000-square-foot science complex that facilitates research on a variety of subjects. In October 2009, in partnership with local municipalities and public educational institutions, and with $10 million in state support, Baylor University launched a significant new collaborative research program in Waco called the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative. This new program seeks to develop, promote and market science and engineering technologies, university research and advanced technology training and workforce development.
· What is presently being discussed is a strengthened affiliation between the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor University. Baylor University and the Baylor College of Medicine are not discussing a merger.
As the above record clearly shows, Baylor University is a scholarly community that has always exercised its rights and responsibilities in a generous and appropriate manner in order to best serve the University and the College of Medicine. We remain immensely proud of Baylor University and the Baylor College of Medicine.
As our current conversations permit, we will be in touch with additional information.