Thank-you to the friend of ESN who in response to my FB Wall post on George Washington U. Professor Tapped to Lead Tropical-Medicine School – On Hiring – The Chronicle of Higher Education (Audrey Williams June. 6/23/2011), reminded me Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) is not affiliated w/Baylor University (BU).
As I hopped on-line, the controversy regarding the relationship between Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Baylor University (BU) slowly came back to me. It is another difficult institutional history marked by the challenges of funding and religious affiliation. As I couldn’t fit the story (and some of the questions which it raises) into a FB comment or wall post, I thought I’d try a quick post on the blog. Thought it was particularly apt after Mike’s post How Do Christian Faculty Integrate Their Faith and Work? Hope he doesn’t mind a brief, less polished Wednesday post, AND I hope to hear from some of you in the field 😉
BCM’s official history of affiliation & separation can be found here. http://www.baylorhealth.com/About/Pages/Default.aspx shares BU’s rich hospital system and http://www.baylorhealth.edu/education/Pages/default.aspx lists BU’s medical educational opportunities (Note: I find the page illustrates the hole left by the loss of BCM in 1969). But that’s not the whole story!
In recent years, financial issues (and more?) led BCM to have talks with both Rice & BU regarding stronger relationships. BU’s President had great hopes for a renewal of a deeper relationship, but some strong opposition at BCM signed a petition which outlined how the “mission of BU is incongruous with that of BCM.” BU’s description of how the talks ended can be found here (Note: there was also some opposition from BU’s direction). BU appears to still have a “voice” at BCM and some “increasing partnership.” Anyone more familiar with the situation?
How do you respond to the petition’s statements:
- “science and medicine must be separate from religion,”
- The religious ideologies that permeate throughout BUâ€™s academic policies may adversely affect both scientific progress and the culture at BCM, particularly in relation to issues such as evolution, embryonic stem cells, and sexual orientation.
Note: Before commenting I’d recommend you read the brief petition 😉
Another set of questions coming to my mind in reviewing the history of BU and BCM:
- How much play does money have in institutional religious identity? Comment: I think that when an institution faces a crisis, it’s true “god” comes forth. But I’ve also been wrestling with the question as to whether some religious institutions have ‘a season‘ after which it is time to close. If an institution such as Baylor College of Medicine separates, maybe it is best for the name from the time of Christian affiliation to be ‘given up’ to avoid confusion.
- What “secularized” institutions do you know of which have been willing to religiously affiliate (or re-affiliate) with a strongly Christ-centered denomination, institution, individual, and/or foundation to become more financially secure, have a vision for the future, and experience revival? If so, how did the members of the community respond? Some thoughts on my alma mater, Grove City College, in a future post.
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!