Deans spark Interdisciplinary Research Dialogue

March 31, 2022
Research Dialogue 3.1

WACO, Texas (March 31, 2022) – Earlier this week, 40 Baylor researchers shared lunch together. It may not sound like much, but conversations started today could be tomorrow’s solutions.

A dozen researchers – six each from Baylor University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) and Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences (RCHHS) – gave brief overviews of their research specialties, focusing on projects ripe for partnership between the two Baylor schools. Approximately 40 faculty attended the research dialogue session at Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building.

“It’s too easy for university researchers to stay in their own lab spaces or generally interact only with those in their own departments,” said Dennis O’Neal, Dean of Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science. “This meeting was an opportunity not only to introduce faculty newer to Baylor to colleagues across disciplines, but also to create opportunity for efficient, effective collaboration right here on campus.”

Topics discussed today included development of biosensors for early detection of diseases, exercise physiology, sharing access to data, community partnerships, reducing fall risk among seniors, biosensors in clothing textiles, understanding how people use apps, predicting health outcomes, and physical therapy, among others.

“Some of the benefit is simply awareness – knowing about specific labs and equipment, capabilities, and the expertise that’s out there – knowing who is working on projects that require interdisciplinary solutions,” said Sheri Dragoo, Interim Dean of Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, who joined the Baylor faculty in 2019. “I’m excited for the potential growth of relationships between our RCHHS faculty and ECS, and I plan on visiting some ECS labs at the BRIC (Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative) soon.”

While some faculty from the two schools already actively collaborate on research projects, intentional meetings like this can lead to even more meaningful relationships that help Baylor fulfill its mission as a Christian University and Research 1 institution, said Dean O’Neal. It may seem obvious for professors at the same university to work together across disciplines, but in the world of academic research, it doesn’t always happen organically. The leaders of each School made it a priority to bring their faculties together.

“We anticipate meetings like this, as they have in the past, will result in fruitful partnerships and research activity that fits Baylor’s mission,” O’Neal said.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 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.

Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) prepares its students to be innovators for worldwide impact by training graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian view. Students can choose from majors, including computer science, electrical and computer engineering, general engineering, informatics, and mechanical engineering. ECS also offers graduate programs in all areas of study within the school. We stand out from the crowd through Christian commitment, a strong community, expert accessibility, leading practical experience and teamwork. Visit to learn more.

The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University was established in 2014, a result of identified priorities for strengthening the health sciences through Baylor’s strategic vision, Pro Futuris, and the University’s Illuminate strategic plan. The anchor academic units that form Robbins College – Communication Sciences and Disorders; Human Sciences and Design; Health, Human Performance and Recreation; Occupational Therapy; Physical Therapy; Public Health; and Division of Health Professions – share a common purpose: improving health and quality of life. The College’s curricula promotes a team-based approach to transformational education and research that has established interdisciplinary research collaborations to advance solutions for improving quality of life for individuals, families and communities. For more information, visit

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