Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
The Department of History at Baylor University is committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in our academic and professional community. This includes undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. Through our teaching, mentoring, service, and research, we seek to foster an environment that nurtures and abides by these values. We celebrate differences among individuals, families, and communities, and believe that this kind of understanding is central to our mission.
The Department of History seeks to support, include, affirm, and respect all of its members as people and scholars. To accomplish this, we must be reflective and willing to engage in courageous conversations both in and outside of the classroom. In 2021, the Department established the Robert Gilbert Memorial Endowed Scholarship in History, which recognizes the importance of diversity at Baylor University by honoring Robert L. Gilbert as Baylor's first Black American graduate. This endowed scholarship was established to support students enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences, with preference given to underrepresented students who are pursuing a major in history and come from diverse communities and backgrounds historically underrepresented at Baylor University, including low-income and first generation. The Department is also committed to working with the appropriate University offices to fulfill this vision. Among others, these include the Department of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Belonging.
As scholars, we strive to recruit, support, advance, and retain a diverse group of faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates. We adhere to Pillar 5 of the College of Arts & Sciences strategic plan and define diversity as differences in factors such as age, race, gender, veteran status, physical ability, religion, language, professional experience, skills and specializations, values and culture, social class, etc. Diverse applicants are encouraged to apply for our current open faculty positions. We also encourage diverse applicants for graduate school and postdoctoral fellowships and commit ourselves to working with the University to diversify and support our growing undergraduate population.
As historians, we acknowledge that we live with the consequences of centuries of injustice, colonialism, and discrimination. These legacies cannot be easily overcome, nor can we pretend that we live in a world—or on a campus—free from all forms of hate or inequity. Our profession calls on us to understand the past, yet for too long our understanding has been distorted by the ways in which historians have excluded people, voices, and experiences from our inquires and narratives. We must do better. We cannot hope for peace and justice in the current day if we do not first acknowledge how societies have denied those very things to marginalized communities throughout history. That is why we not only affirm our Department’s Statement on Racial Justice (2020), but also commit ourselves to consciously integrating diverse voices in our classrooms so that our study of the past reflects the full truth of the historical experience. At the same time, we stand by Baylor’s Land Acknowledgement and respectfully acknowledge that Baylor University in Waco and its original campus in Independence are on the land and territories originally occupied by Indigenous peoples including the Waco and Tawakoni of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, the Tonkawa, the Nʉmʉnʉʉ (Comanche), Karankawa, and Lipan Apache.
As people of faith, we repudiate injustice and discrimination as antithetical to the character of the God we serve and contradictory to the idea of humanity as created in God’s own image. As educators whose classrooms and pedagogies all look differently, yet each seek to enrich the intellectual and spiritual lives of our students, we commit to personal reflection on how our own scholarly and classroom practices might perpetuate systemic inequalities rather than address, confront, and/or actively work against them. Finally, as members of the Baylor community, we welcome those voices who feel or have felt unseen and unheard. We recognize the need to listen to, learn from, and value the experiences of all people, and we pledge to do the hard work needed to make our department and campus a place that does so as well.