A Model for Intercultural Engagement at Baylor University
In an increasingly interconnected world, it is essential that the Baylor University graduates know how to lead and serve well in complex and diverse environments. Indeed, more and more organizations are seeking candidates who demonstrate inclusive leadership skills. These are people with intercultural maturity who seek understanding, value belonging, and model care and respect for others. As we endeavor to meet this global need for interculturally mature servant-leaders, we do so out of our firm Christian commitment—embodying the biblical virtues of humility, justice, and wisdom—setting students on a faithful trajectory toward healing a fractured world so that all may flourish.
Our Faithful Trajectory intercultural engagement model at Baylor allows us to curate thoughtful and intentional opportunities and experiences to cultivate the development of intercultural maturity in our students, faculty, and staff. A distinctive of this model is the infusion of the virtues, providing a faith-filled entry point for learning about culture and toward equipping individuals to know how to navigate cultural differences well. This is mission-centric relational work rooted in the command to love our neighbor as ourselves (Galatians 5:14).
On top of the underlying virtues, the Faithful Trajectory model layers three levels of learning toward increasing intercultural maturity. It begins with a foundational layer that emphasizes the virtue of humility as posture for engaging with different cultures and perspectives at Baylor and beyond. This foundational layer will be delivered to all new students at Baylor through New Student Programs, New Student Experience courses, Campus Living & Learning, and through other training opportunities and initiatives.
The next layer of learning—intermediate—invites students to think critically about culture and diverse perspectives through a lens of justice that is grounded in orthodox Christian teaching and practice. Available to all students, this layer of co-curricular learning will be required of most student leaders and student organizations.
Lastly, the advanced layer of learning is open to all students and required of select student leadership positions. As a result of engaging in learning at this level, we want students to demonstrate the ability to lead responsibly in intercultural situations with the virtues of empathy, patience, and—primarily—wisdom.
The Faithful Trajectory model is not complex and provides flexibility. It is not only applicable to our undergraduate student population, but it also makes room for graduate students, and for faculty and staff. Each layer of learning offers space to customize training and experiences to meet the needs of different populations. Moreover—because of the emphasis on the virtues—our model is inclusive of students who do not orient around the Christian faith, recognizing that the virtues of humility, justice, and wisdom are present in the very best of all major world religions.
The disunity facing society today is more pronounced than ever. But this reality provides Baylor with an opportunity to shine as ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5), to tear down the dividing walls of hostility (Ephesians 2), and to embody the virtues of faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13) in the process. The Faithful Trajectory intercultural engagement model is a means to equip our community to carry out this good work at Baylor and beyond.