Institute for Faith and Learning Fall 2023 Newsletter

October 2, 2023

Note from the Director
Dr. Darin Davis

Over the years, I have been asked many times, especially by people unfamiliar with Baylor: what exactly does IFL do?

A quick response would be: it does a lot!  

But the better answer might be this: IFL helps Baylor in special ways to realize and live into its distinctive mission as a Christian university.  "In special ways" is important.

Over the years, IFL has been there to support Baylor faculty as they discover their calling as scholars and teachers.  It also has been there to encourage the next generation of Christian servant leaders through programs like the Crane Scholars Program.  

IFL likewise has sought to live up to a stewardship that our university has to a larger community of scholars beyond Baylor, most notably through the annual Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture.  

The items below speak to the vitality of IFL's work in all these special ways.  

Come be with us October 25-27 for Called Together in an Age of Discord.  It promises to be one of the largest and most consequential of the symposia we have hosted.

Darin Davis signature

Darin Davis

Announcement of Search for New Director of the Institute for Faith and Learning

Baylor University’s Institute for Faith and Learning invites applications and nominations for the position of director, with service beginning by August 2024.

The Director of IFL oversees the planning and implementation of the Institute’s strong record of significant activities, including the annual Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture and the Crane Scholars Program. The Director will guide IFL’s current programming of faculty formation experiences (seminars, reading groups, retreats) and contribute to the development of new initiatives for faculty spiritual well-being. The Director is also expected to promote the Institute’s university- and nation-wide partnerships and to contribute to the national discussion of the role of religion in higher education through an active program of research and publication. The Director will teach Baylor students, undergraduate or graduate, at least once per academic year within an appropriate academic unit.  

For view the full description of the position and to apply to the position, please visit Interfolio

Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture: Called Together in an Age of Discord

The 2023 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture is just around the corner on October 25-27. The conference will feature over 110 presenters/panelists from over 70 institutions--all interested in looking at ways that people of faith might foster a collective calling that transcends social alienation and political tribalism. 

IFL is hosting the Symposium this year in collaboration with the Soundings Project, which supports the common work of the Christian university and church to help people lead lives of purpose and significance. The Soundings Project, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., is part of the larger Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose Initiative (CLMPI). Many members of the Soundings Project and the twelve other hubs of CLMPI will participate in the Symposium this year. 

You can view the speakers confirmed to date here, and see the schedule and abstracts here

Please note: Because of heightened demand for hotel rooms in Waco during October, we encourage you to make your reservations as soon as possible. See our Travel Information page for details.

IFL Welcomes a New Cohort of Crane Scholars

We are now entering our 24th year of the Crane Scholars Program! We had a wonderful time at the Crane’s Initiation Dinner. (The picture of the incoming sophomore cohort is above.) Dr. Robert Garcia, associate professor of Philosophy at Baylor, gave an insightful talk titled “Why C.S. Lewis 'Doesn’t Count' – and You Shouldn’t Either.”

This year, our students hail from diverse regions across the nation including Kentucky, Oklahoma, Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, and Louisiana. We also have representation from across the globe, including Cambodia, Canada, India, and England.

Currently, there are 49 Crane Scholars in the program. They are mentored by faculty from across the university: Amy Fleming, Min Pack, and Elijah Jeong (sophomores); Mike Foley and Todd Buras (juniors); and Kelly Hollingsworth, Michele Stover, and Ian Gravagne (seniors).

IFL sponsors the Institute on Theology and Disability

IFL was grateful to be one of the sponsors of the Institute on Theology and Disability, held June 26-29 at Truett Seminary. The Institute’s mission is “to foster diverse and authentic interfaith conversations at the intersection of theology and disability.” Over the four days of the Institute, leading scholars, writers, faith leaders, advocates, and others gather to advance inclusive ministries and faith supports. You can check out the full program here and view videos of sessions here.


Missio Logo

This year twenty-one faculty members have joined our 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. We've been particularly delighted to observe that Missio has provided enriching learning opportunities and has also become a place where faculty can foster meaningful relationships. These bonds, formed across various departments and disciplines, underscore the shared commitment and fellowship that characterize the Baylor community. 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.

What We're Reading

Soul Culture: Stewarding the Five Ingredients of Our Common Life, by Matt Snowden and Joshua Hays

Special note: this book grew out of First Baptist Waco's partnership with the Soundings Project