Faculty & Staff Reception Recap

February 16, 2024

BCDD Executive Director, Dr. Erik Carter, with Faculty and Staff at the Reception. 

The Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD) held a reception for Baylor faculty and staff on January 31 as part of their year-long 10th anniversary celebration. Over 70 faculty and staff from across the university attended to learn about the BCDD, its mission, and the ways they could help Baylor grow its research, training, and leadership related to disability.

Executive Director Dr. Erik Carter and Director Dr. Kristen Padilla shared the Center’s vision of a future where people with disabilities and their families have the opportunities, support, services, and relationships needed to thrive in all aspects of their lives and communities. They emphasized that everyone should experience inclusion and belonging in the places and among the people that matter most to them—including in their schools, colleges, workplaces, and faith communities. 

As the Center enters its second decade of growth and impact, faculty and staff will be working to create a flourishing future for people of all abilities and backgrounds. Carter noted that the work of the Center focuses on children and adults with an array of disabilities. He added, “One in five adults has a disability. And among all families, nearly one in three households has at least one family member who experiences disability.”

Dr. Stephen Reid, Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Belonging at Baylor shared his reflections on why this work matters so much for the entire Baylor community. Reid said, “The Center is central to the School of Education, but we’re also saying the Center is important for the identity of the University.” 

The Center is committed to helping Baylor become a national leader in interdisciplinary research and training focused on the flourishing of people with disabilities and their families. Padilla said, “As the only center on developmental disabilities at a Christian research university, we have a unique voice to contribute to this work.”

In addition, the Center wants to help prepare Baylor graduates to serve and lead communities that are inclusive of people with disabilities through their chosen professions. Carter explained, “Baylor University is uniquely positioned to become a national leader and prophetic voice in research and training focused on the flourishing of people with disabilities, their families, and communities.”

Dr. Terrill Saxon, School of Education Associate Dean of Graduate Studies & Global Engagement and Professor, concluded the reception by addressing the Center’s importance and impact over the past decade. He invited Baylor colleagues to think about how the work of the BCDD can connect with their current work. “Open your mind to the discipline you are in and what kind of connection might be there,” he said.

The event served as an invitation to faculty, staff, and students from across the university to join in innovative and collaborative. Attendees enjoyed refreshments from Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, a local store that employs people with and without developmental disabilities. 

The BCDD is hosting various events throughout the year to continue celebrating its 10 years; take a look at their website (baylor.edu/bcdd) for all upcoming events.