2021 Champions of Change
Introducing our inaugural Champions of Change
Through the Champions of Change recognition program, the University seeks to honor, recognize, and celebrate unsung heroes of Baylor’s past and present.
The Champions of Change program recognizes and acknowledges the accomplishments of individuals that have demonstrated efforts to foster greater appreciation and advancement of diversity, inclusiveness, and equity for communities of color at Baylor and in Waco. By recognizing these leaders, the program will cement their legacy among other Baylor greats, firsts, and champions. Each year, a diverse and representative volunteer committee will seek nominations for a faculty, staff, and alum from Baylor’s past and/or present who embodies the ideals of equity, change, hope, and service.
Dr. Dominique Hill
Dr. Hill works not only to make sure that Baylor has been a welcoming place for students but faculty and staff as well. His work in establishing the Baylor Black Faculty and Staff Association has been transformational in creating a university where all can belong. The late Congressman John Lewis once said never be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. That quote describes Dr. Hill because he does things knowing that they will benefit the campus and the community. Dr. Hill believes that in order for both the Baylor and Waco communities to attract the type of human capital it will need to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population, it is vitally important for each to intentionally focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as it relates to their employment practices: leadership, recruitment, retention, and promotion. The leadership at Baylor University and the City of Waco should understand and be equipped to communicate the value proposition that DEI brings to their respective organizations while ensuring that their employees who are BIPOC can thrive academically, professionally, psychologically, and socially.
Dr. Elizabeth Palacios
Advocating for changes where every member of the Baylor and Waco community are equally heard and have the same opportunities is where Dean Palacios' heart lies. She shows up and speaks the truth about how representation matters in every room and meeting. An example of Dean Palacios' impact comes in the form of listening sessions we have done with groups of students over the years. Several times when we were doing a focus group, students have said, "I never really felt at home at Baylor until I met Dean Palacios. It is very difficult not to see anyone who looks like you in front of the classroom or around Baylor--outside of the cleaning staff." So, not only does Dean Palacios speak to leadership on campus about representation, she has carried the burden of doing a lot of the mentoring of all sorts of students --from online-only students, low-income students, Latinx students, transfer students, veterans, and more.
Dr. Lakia Scott
Dr. Scott is the first African-American professor to achieve tenure within Baylor University's School of Education. Scott has nearly 15 years of combined experience at the elementary, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate teaching levels. She is a recognized scholar in the field of Urban Education, where she has a host of research publications co-authored and co-edited books, book chapters, and educational evaluation reports. Under the research trajectory of providing educational access, equity, and opportunity for traditionally minoritized student populations, Dr. Scott is most widely known for her creation and implementation of the Baylor Freedom Schools program, a summer literacy enrichment initiative in partnership with Waco ISD Transformation Zone Schools and Prosper Waco. She has also been published in numerous journals, including her work on Freedom Schools, teaching training and preparation, issues in diversity, and language differentiation. Additionally, Dr. Scott serves as a key advisor for the My Sister Myself student group. Through this organization, Baylor's African-American female students gather to share information on improving themselves individually and collectively in the community, home, and professional world.