Three Faculty Members Receive 2018 Baylor Centennial Professor Awards

May 22, 2018
Centenniel faculty 2018

Angela Reed, Ph.D., associate professor of practical theology and director of spiritual formation; Rishi Sriram, Ph.D., associate professor of educational leadership; Beth Allison Barr, Ph.D., associate professor and graduate program director in history. Graphic by Liesje Powers

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WACO, Texas (May 22, 2018) – Three Baylor University professors in theology, history and educational leadership have been selected as the 2018 Baylor Centennial Professors by the Centennial Faculty Development Review Committee.

Created by the Baylor Centennial Class of 1945, the award provides tenured professors with funding for research projects to aid with more in-depth study in their respective fields. This year’s recipients are Beth Allison Barr, Ph.D., associate professor and graduate program director in history in the College of Arts & Sciences; Rishi Sriram, Ph.D., associate professor of educational leadership in the School of Education; and Angela Reed, Ph.D., associate professor of practical theology and director of spiritual formation at George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

“I am so thankful for the foresight of the 1945 graduating class in recognizing the connection between faculty research and student mentorship,” Barr said. “Both teaching and research are critical to my identity as a Baylor professor, and the Centennial Professor award recognizes both aspects as important.”

Barr will use the grant to complete the first and epilogue chapters of her book, Women in English Sermons, while teaching her graduate students to use sermons effectively as historical sources. Funding also will be used to purchase digitized microfilms for research and teaching comprehension of paleography.

“I plan to use this different archival experience to further develop the syllabus for my graduate Archival Research and Grant Writing course, which is designed to better prepare graduate students for working in the archives,” Barr said.

Sriram will travel for a week in June to Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, to attend a research seminar on Residential Learning Communities (RCLs) with the goal of publishing three peer-reviewed journal articles. These articles will focus on ways to increase access to residential communities, how faculty and staff can contribute while balancing other job responsibilities and how these communities shape and are shaped by institutional culture.

“My research continues to demonstrate the powerful ways that residential learning communities shape the student experience and lead to positive student outcomes,” Sriram said. “I think this is an area in which Baylor has the potential to be a national leader.”

Serving as a live-in Faculty Steward for the past five years has given Sriram a firsthand understanding of how residential learning communities impact a student’s learning and development.

“We know that student-faculty interaction is the biggest influencer on student success, but we do not know as much about how or why,” Sriram said. “This research will help us get a better understanding for how and why student-faculty interaction impacts students.”

Reed will use the grant for trips to visit and worship with eight congregations and to interview 24 ministers. She plans to use these visits to shape curricula of spiritual formation and discipleship at Truett Seminary.

“My intent is to meet with congregational members who sense a call to develop ‘houses of prayer’ with diverse opportunities for learning to pray alone and in community,” Reed said.

Reed engages in research and writing in prayer and formation with special attention to spiritual guidance relationships. Her current study will focus on the effective use of prayer in pastoral work.

“Many seminaries have neglected the teaching of prayer in ministry, which may lead to ambiguity about the language and practice of prayer in pastoral work,” Reed said. “This will have implications for training our students to provide spiritual care through the resident chaplaincy and spiritual direction programs serving undergraduates at Baylor University.”

by Liesbeth Powers, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.