Institute for Faith and Learning Fall 2022 Newsletter

October 17, 2022
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Note from the Director

Darin Davis

In September 1997, the Board of Regents at Baylor University approved the establishment of the Institute for Faith and Learning (IFL). It had grand ambitions from the start: “to serve as a local, national, and international house of studies for fostering reflection and scholarship what connect faith and learning in educationally significant ways.”

Over its life, IFL has planted seeds among colleagues and students at Baylor and beyond:

  • 28 conferences have been held, with more 8,000 attendees from more than 800 institutions across the globe. An esteemed colleague from the University of Virginia calls our annual Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture “the premier public symposia in America.”
  • 18 faculty retreats, now known simply as Communio, have been held with more than 700 attendees. A recent attendee called it “the most important and life-giving experience” of her Baylor career.
  • More than 350 students have been a part of the Crane Scholars Program. These students go on to serve and lead as faithful Christians in a variety of endeavors. One of our Cranes is now a faculty member at Baylor; another serves on our Board of Regents.

On Thursday November 10, we will commemorate IFL’s 25th year in grand fashion at the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium. More information is below. We so much hope you can join us.

Much has changed since 1997, but the heart of IFL’s mission remains. I am thrilled and grateful to report to you that IFL’s work is strong, steady, focused, and yes, joyful. But there is still so much good work that we hope yet to do!

On behalf of my colleagues in IFL,

Darin Davis

Our 2022 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture on “Art Seeking Understanding” is just around the corner on October 26-28. Our conference will feature 130 presenters/panelists from 75 institutions in North America, Europe, and Africa—all seeking to explore how art, understood as a gift, brings a greater understanding of God, the world, and others, thus contributing to human flourishing. We hope you can join us for what will be a remarkable gathering.

Join us on Thursday, November 10 for IFL@25, a celebration of the Institute’s 25th year, at the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium.

Beginning at 3:30 pm, we will convene a special panel on Church, University, and Culture: The Next 25 Years of Faith and Learning, Reverend Dr. Michael Evans, Sr. (Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church and Mayor of the City of Mansfield, Texas), Thomas Smith (Dean of Arts and Sciences at The Catholic University of America), and Anne Snyder (editor-in-chief of Comment).

At 7:15 that evening, we will be honored by the presence of Candace Vogler, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, who will give a special lecture commemorating IFL's 25th year. For more information go to IFL@25. Please join us for this special occasion!

We are now entering our 23rd year of the Crane Scholars Program! We had a wonderful time at the Crane’s Initiation Dinner. Dr. William Weaver, Professor of Literature in the Honors College at Baylor, gave an insightful talk titled, “Training the Passion of Anger through the Liberal Arts.” Currently, we have 41 Crane Scholars who are led by mentors across the University: Rebecca Poe Hays, Jill Klentzman, Min Pack, and Elijah Jeong (Sophomores); Mike Foley and Todd Buras (Juniors); and Katie Calloway, Michele Stover, and Ian Gravagne (Seniors).


Twenty-seven faculty members have joined the inaugural cohort of our new faculty formation program--Missio. The purpose of Missio is to bring faculty colleagues together from across the University to reflect upon Baylor’s unique mission and identity and the relationship between faith and learning. The readings and discussion this year will center on these themes: (1) faith and teaching, (2) faith and research, (3) historical examination of faith-based higher education, (4) understanding the Baptist and Christian mission of Baylor, and (5) faith and leadership.