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### Enhancing the University’s Mission: Over 5,000 Graduate Students Contribute to Progress

Graduate students will be awarded their diplomas at the commencement ceremony scheduled for May 12, 2023, at the Ferrell Center. The event was captured in a photo by Chris Rios.

Written by Rory Dulock | Staff Writer

Baylor University celebrated the invaluable contributions of its 5,000 graduate students during Graduate Student Appreciation Week. This week not only acknowledged the university’s expanding graduate programs and enrollment but also highlighted the significant role these students play in advancing Baylor’s mission.

In a statement from the Presidential Perspective, faculty members joined in expressing gratitude to the nearly 5,500 graduate students who contribute to the university’s mission while pursuing their individual callings at Baylor. This includes on-campus graduate students who engage in research and teaching alongside Baylor students and professors, as well as the growing online and professional student body, extending Baylor’s influence nationwide.

Dr. Christopher Rios, the associate dean for enrollment management in the graduate school, noted the substantial growth the graduate school has experienced in recent years.

“Over the past five to 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of programs across all areas, particularly in our Ph.D. programs,” Rios explained. “Our expansion into online and hybrid professional education has also seen remarkable growth. We have doubled the number of graduate students in the last five years, constituting about 25% of the university population, which is quite substantial.”

David Basher, a Ph.D. student specializing in the Old Testament and Hebrew Bible, emphasized how the expansion of Baylor’s graduate school contributes to maintaining the university’s reputation as a respected research institution.

“Expanding the graduate school further solidifies Baylor’s aim to retain its R1 status,” Basher stated. “Graduate students are actively involved in research across various disciplines within the institution, a significant factor in Baylor achieving R1 research institution status.”

Rios elaborated on the importance of R1 status, highlighting Baylor’s unique position as one of the few private R1 universities, with even fewer Christian R1 institutions.

“Baylor provides a conducive environment for researchers—faculty, students, and post-docs—to explore various fields of study while integrating their faith where applicable,” Rios added. “The integration of faith into academic pursuits remains a distinctive aspect of Baylor.”

Emphasizing the benefits of expanding graduate programs, Rios pointed out the positive impact it would have on the university as a whole.

“Strong graduate programs are indicative of the best universities,” Rios emphasized. “Enhancing our graduate reputation will also elevate the value of undergraduate degrees, increase Baylor’s visibility and overall quality. This growth is essential given the ongoing demographic shifts and the necessity for continued advancement in graduate education.”