Baylor University Celebrates National Research Administrator Day as University Advances R1 Research Progress

September 24, 2021
National Research Administrator Day 2021
Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (Sept. 24, 2021) – As Baylor University continues substantial progress toward Research 1 recognition among the nation’s top research institutions, the University today is honoring all staff who work behind the scenes to support research across the campus on National Research Administrator Day. Ads and content shared through social media also will highlight faculty whose mission-driven work addresses significant global challenges, fueling Baylor’s research growth toward preeminence as a Christian research university.

On this day, Baylor recognizes the research administrators, grant writers, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students who each play an important role in the University’s success by supporting Baylor faculty and principal investigators in “research driven by compassion, curiosity and courage.”

To celebrate National Research Administrator Day, Baylor has taken over 70 digital boards in Dallas, 12 in Houston and two in Waco. In addition, Baylor will utilize the Texas Tribune as part of a day-long “takeover strategy” that shines a light on Baylor’ researchers whose work uncovers solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

These digital billboards and social media outreach will feature the Baylor researchers highlighted in this year’s campaign:

* Bryan Brooks, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science and Biomedical Studies: Brooks is a globally recognized leader in water quality, the environment and health, addressing the impacts of increasing urbanization. He has partnered with the CDC to convene global meetings that galvanize efforts toward addressing these challenges holistically.

* Amanda Hering, Ph.D., professor of statistical science: Hering applies her data science expertise and research towards societal challenges such as water usage and availability. She’s part of a team that won a $100 million grant from the Department of Energy to transform the U.S. water system.

* Ronald Angelo Johnson, Ph.D., The Ralph and Bessie Mae Lynn Chair of History: Johnson is a leading scholar in diplomacy, race and religion. Having published two books on the subject, he studies how diplomacy and religion have brought people together throughout history, and illuminates the historic importance of lesser-known figures.

* Danielle Parrish, Ph.D., professor of social work: Parrish’s work addresses health outcomes for underserved young women in the juvenile justice system. An expert in the prevention of substance-exposed pregnancies, she recently earned a $3.1 million National Institutes of Health grant to test integrated programming and interventions to support these teens’ well-being and health.

* Zhenrong Zhang, Ph.D., associate professor of physics: Zhang’s research supports her fellow scientists across a variety of disciplines. She’s developing a nanoscale imaging microscope to enable researchers to view materials at the smallest possible level, with implications for clean energy, health diagnosis and advanced materials.

Led by the National Council of University Research Administrators, National Research Administrator Day is observed annually on Sept. 25 to recognize the contributions made by research administrators and managers throughout the year. With this year’s date falling on a weekend, Baylor is celebrating a day early to further illuminate research administrators and managers whose roles, while often unsung, are incredibly valuable. These individuals assist faculty and researchers, protect the institution or organization, assure sound stewardship of sponsored research dollars and more. Baylor has expanded resources available to support faculty in recent years, including growth in research staff. These roles are an important piece of the University’s systemic research growth.

In 2019, Baylor University officially announced plans to pursue R1/T1 recognition by building on Illuminate, the University’s strategic plan. Those efforts have driven significant progress toward R1 research recognition by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. R1 universities are doctoral-granting institutions with the “highest research activity.”

The University has rapidly advanced towards that goal, demonstrating purposeful growth in a variety of areas, such as:

  • Increased research doctorates from 110 in 2016-2017 to 167 in 2020-2021, with a goal of 286 research doctorates awarded by 2022-2023;
  • Growth in research expenditures from $29.4 million in 2017 to $47 million in 2021, with external research expenditures currently growing at 28%. The University’s goal is to reach $52 million in research expenditures in FY 2023;
  • Increased awarded research dollars from around $11 million in 2017 to more than $27 million so far in 2021; and
  • Increased research staff (STEM, social sciences and health) from 47 in fall 2016 to 68 in fall 2020. The University’s goal is to reach 100 research staff by fall 2022.

Those metrics have positioned the University to reach R1 research status as early as 2024.

“This is an incredible opportunity that God has given us to do what very few, if any, universities have achieved: maintaining our foundational Christian mission while reaching R1 status as a top-tier research university,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Through the dedicated work of our faculty and staff, we have made remarkable progress over the past four years on our Illuminate strategic plan to build on our historic strengths and strategically invest in new areas of research and service. Through top-tier research, scholarship and external funding support, R1 universities bring their voice to bear in addressing our world’s most meaningful challenges. And as a Christian research university, Baylor can infuse the quest for solutions, at the highest levels, with the University’s distinct voice and mission.”

Illuminate provides the framework and commitment to those ends, a strategic plan built upon Four Pillars, where Baylor will be a community recognized for its:

  • Unambiguously Christian Educational Environment
  • Transformational Undergraduate Education
  • Research and Scholarship Marked by Quality, Impact and Visibility
  • Nationally Recognized Programs in Human Performance through the Arts and Athletics

Within Illuminate, Baylor is further investing in five key areas for research growth:

  • Health
  • Data Sciences
  • Materials Science
  • Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics
  • Baylor in Latin America

“Baylor has made incredible research progress, so much so that we’re getting quite close to goals we set to become an R1 research university. There’s work to continue to do, but we’ll get there,” said Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D. “Our faculty and staff have done fantastic work, meeting and exceeding our goals every year. Everyone is rowing in the same direction—to make an impact on the world through research. We’ve had incredible alignment as we strive to become the preeminent Christian research university, and it’s exciting to be at an institution which truly values that.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 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 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.