He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
Baylor University exists “to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.” Baylor prepares students to live out Micah 6:8, to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly” with God. As the profession that makes all others possible, education has a foundational role in serving society.
The mission of Baylor’s Center for School Leadership (BCSL) is to be the most influential Christian leadership catalyst for educators in the world.
Flourishing people lead flourishing communities. To flourish is to be in the process of spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally, professionally, and physically becoming all that we were created to be as image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:27). Educators serve well when they help students become all they were created to be as together we reflect God’s glory. Because of our foundation in Christ, our program exists to nourish the leaders we serve so that they can serve educators and students. Healthy leaders have greater capacity to serve others well. We prepare flourishing leaders by explicitly grounding all we do in five actions:
We connect people
As humans, we are created in God’s image. Because God himself is in community within the Trinity, humanity reflects the image of God when relationships are experienced. As Christian leaders, reflecting the image of God best occurs when our relationships are grounded in the grace and love of Christ empowering Christian leaders to love and serve others so that they can flourish (Matthew 22:37-39).
We cultivate leadership
As Christians, before we are leaders, we are followers of Christ (Matthew 4:19). This simple acknowledgment reminds us that leadership is not about us. Our leadership is with and for others in pursuit of shared goals (Eckert 2018; 2019). We serve God by serving the needs of others (Matthew 25:40) and ensuring their well-being. Humble leadership is relational and is dependent on vulnerability, empathy, and curiosity that leads to adaptive improvement (Schein & Schein, 2018). Humble leaders come alongside to elevate other leaders as they support student flourishing.
We conduct research
The BCSL is unique as it is positioned within a preeminent research university that is unambiguously Christian. Through research and scholarship, the BCSL brings a competent and relevant voice to bear in addressing education’s most meaningful challenges. With Illuminate, Baylor’s academic strategic plan, as our guide we endeavor to conduct research that contributes to the flourishing of students and leaders in all types of schools.
We catalyze improvement
Catalytic leaders come alongside others to improve the work they are doing. A strong orientation toward growth that encourages iterative cycles of reflection, risk, and revision is a mark of a learning organization that is built on the principles of improvement science (Bryk et al., 2015). We catalyze leadership best when we tap intellectual curiosity helping leaders identify problems of practice, research evidence-based practices, and reflect on personal and organizational growth through reasoned and empathetic discourse. To be catalysts, we work for good policies at federal, state, and local levels (Urick et al., 2018; Wronowski & Urick, 2019); advocate for the needs of each student; and lead with vulnerability and integrity. In this way, leadership is about shared influence that improves decision-making processes through the collective wisdom of administrators, teachers, students, and the community that each school serves. When difficult decisions have to be made, student flourishing always drives our decisions.
We contribute to Baylor’s mission
By supporting leaders in these five ways, the BCSL will catalyze leadership that does justice, loves kindness, and walks humbly in schools of all types across the world.