Meet Baylor’s expert on integrating social work and primary health care
9.6.23—We all get the need for good medical health care. More and more people are becoming aware of the need for good behavioral health care, as well — treating mental health, substance abuse, and other stressors that often affect physical health. Read more here.
Baylor researchers earn $2.5 million grant to prep mental health providers for local schools
8.1.23—There’s no shortage of challenges that can impact a child’s mental health — but unfortunately, school districts often face a shortage of qualified mental health professionals to help meet those needs.
Baylor researchers in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work are working to bridge this gap in Central Texas. Read more here.
Nine Baylor graduate programs among U.S. News’ top 25 in their field
5.26.23—Every year, U.S. News unveils its annual ranking of American colleges and universities to the world. Last fall, Baylor came in at No. 77 in the nation — again among the top 20% of national universities — and was one of just eight schools to make the outlet’s top 25 for both undergraduate teaching and undergraduate research opportunities. (Baylor was also named among the nation’s top 10 for first-year student experiences and top 20 most innovative schools.)
Such rankings typically focus on undergraduate education, which has long been Baylor’s bread and butter. But for those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, there’s another important U.S. News ranking: its “2024 Best Graduate Schools” rankings, released earlier this spring. Nine Baylor graduate programs rank among the top 25 nationally in the latest rankings: Read more here.
Meet Baylor’s internationally recognized expert on religion in Latin America
5.2.23— When it comes to more fully understanding religion and faith in Latin America, Dr. Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa bridges data, social work and theology — and at Baylor, he’s found a collaborative spot to continue decades of research in this area.
Esparza Ochoa came to Baylor in 2019 in a multi-faceted role. He serves as a director of the Program on Latin American Studies in Baylor’s Institute for the Studies of Religion (ISR), and as a research assistant professor in both ISR and Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. Read more here.
10 books by Baylor authors for your Summer 2023 reading list
4.19.23—We don’t stop learning just because we’ve finished college — and while podcasts and documentaries can be great, there’s just something about picking up a good old-fashioned book. Even better than that? Reading a book written by a fellow Bear!
Baylor faculty and alumni authors have been busy this spring, writing on everything from history to leadership to faith (and more). Here’s a round-up of some Baylor Bears’ books that you might want to add to your summer reading list: Read more here.
Baylor dedicates statues honoring first Black graduates outside Tidwell
4.5.23— Tuesday was a historic day on Baylor’s campus, as the university unveiled and dedicated statues of Rev. Robert Gilbert (BA ’67) and Barbara Walker (BA ’67) — Baylor’s first two Black graduates.
The statues now stand outside Tidwell Bible Building, where Gilbert (history) and Walker (sociology) took classes in their academic majors. The honor recognizes the pair for the trails they blazed in helping integrate Baylor more than a century after its founding: Read more here.
Pro Texana: How Baylor research efforts are benefitting Texas
9.22.22— Most every Baylor alum knows the university’s motto: Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana — for the church, for Texas. Befitting the Lone Star State’s oldest continuously operating university, our impact has lived out that phrase for more than 175 years in a variety of ways. Today, Baylor is a global university, with research addressing challenges both close to home and in far corners of the world — but our roots are still firmly anchored in Texas.
While it would be nearly impossible to list the breadth of research at Baylor with ties to our home state, here are just a few examples of BU research projects infused with a spirit of “Pro Texana”: Read more here.
Why do research at Baylor? Compassion, curiosity and courage.
9.7.22— Baylor’s growing emphasis on faculty and student research is driven by three factors:
Compassion — the desire to help people in countless ways;
Curiosity — the desire to learn more about the world God created; and
Courage — the desire to go places and tackle issues that others might shy away from.
Beyond that, each Baylor professor has their own specific “why”; below, five BU faculty members explain what drives their work: Read more here.
Summer reading suggestions from Baylor Family authors
5.18.22—Looking for some summer reading? Whether your interest is sports, healing racial division, or self-care, we’ve got some recommendations for you — all written by Baylor Bears!
First up: The Road to J.O.Y.: Leading with Faith, Playing with Purpose, Leaving a Legacy, by Baylor men’s basketball coach Scott Drew. Drew’s rebuilding of the Baylor program has been talked about at length — but with this new book, we get an inside look into the culture of J.O.Y. (Jesus, Others, Yourself) that he has instilled throughout his two decades as head coach. (As we write this, the book is No. 2 on Amazon among Christian Business & Professional Growth books, and No. 5 in Basketball Biographies.) Read more here.
Honoring some familiar Baylor faces retiring this year
4.20.22—Every spring, the Baylor Family bids happy retirement to professors and staff who have dedicated their professional lives to the university and its students. It’s always a bittersweet mix — sadness in seeing them go, happiness for a well-deserved next step — but we wish them all well in the next phase of their lives.
Here, we honor some of the longest-serving and most recognizable professors who are retiring this year — men and women whose faces will be missed, but whose impact will not be forgotten: Read more here.
Meet the Baylor researchers starring in this year’s national brand campaign
9.16.21—You don’t have to search far to find Baylor faculty conducing high-level research. They’re in labs, classrooms and fields, where they drive breakthroughs for clean water, create tools for health and serve the underserved — just to name a few.
This month, Baylor is again sharing that message far and wide. Be watching for five of those researchers in this year’s national brand campaign that will spotlight their work and its impact. Read more here.
Baylor social work prof earns $3.1 million grant to test care for women in juvenile justice system
7.9.21—When Dr. Danielle Parrish worked with young women in California’s juvenile justice system as a mental health clinician in the late 1990s, she noticed significant gaps in the support the women received. Given the variety of challenges they faced, Parrish recognized a need for comprehensive support to cover a variety of issues, such as substance abuse and pregnancy. What she saw was mostly siloed care.
Today, Parrish is a professor at the Houston campus of Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work who has long applied her research efforts to filling the gaps. Earlier this spring, she was awarded a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to test comprehensive risk reduction intervention efforts for young women in the juvenile justice system. Read more here.
Meet Baylor’s expert on the impact of Black fatherhood
6.17.21—Within the social work profession, the topic of fatherhood is often understudied and misunderstood, particularly within Black families. Cue Dr. Brianna P. Lemmons, an assistant professor in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, who’s working to address such shortcomings.
Lemmons came to Baylor in 2018 after teaching at California State University, Los Angeles and at Howard University, where she set the course for her career: to change the ongoing narrative surrounding Black fatherhood and create avenues for Black fathers to tell their own stories. Read more here.
Baylor to add statues honoring first Black graduates to campus landscape
4.9.21—When Baylor released the report and recommendations of the Committee on Historic Campus Representations last month, most attention was (rightly) placed on the committee’s historical study of Baylor’s connections to slavery and the Confederacy and their recommendations for what changes could/should be made to better tell the full story of our university’s history. The university is now working to evaluate those recommendations and decide next steps toward accomplishing that goal.
One first step, however, was announced that same day — the creation of on-campus statues honoring Baylor’s first Black graduates, Rev. Robert Gilbert (BA ’67) and Barbara Walker (BA ’67). The statues are to be placed in front of Tidwell Bible Building, where both students took classes (and along the same street where the Judge Baylor statue still sits). The artistic process is already underway; the university expects to review sculptors and initiate design proposals this summer, and to select a final sculptor early this fall. Read more here.
Baylor alums distribute meals to thousands of Dallas families during pandemic
3.29.21—Kevin Pranoto (BS ’11, MDiv/MSW ’16) and Travis Aune (BBA ’19) attended Baylor at different times and studied different things. But in 2019, their paths crossed at Mission Oak Cliff (MOC) — and definitely for the better.
For 70+ years, MOC has served Dallas families with its food pantry, but the organization faced a harsh reality when the pandemic hit. The nonprofit saw a 75% increase in the number of clients coming for food services, as many families lost income and dealt with other impacts from COVID-19. Read more here.
Baylor social work, physics profs recognized as Undergraduate Research Mentors of the year
11.19.20—One point that often gets lost in the academic debate of teaching versus research is that research, at its best, is teaching. Baylor’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award — presented each year by Baylor Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) — aims to recognize those who exemplify that by mentoring undergraduate students in a research setting.
This year’s honorees? Dr. Stephanie Boddie from the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, and Dr. Lorin S. Matthews (BS ’94, PhD ’98) from the Department of Physics. Read more here.
Statewide campaign shines light on Baylor’s research efforts
9.29.20—Very few universities today can (or would) claim to be preeminent research institutions that fearlessly proclaim the name of Jesus — but that is Baylor’s aim. We recognize that all truth is God’s truth — so at Baylor, our academic strivings and research efforts are all about learning more about what God has made on this earth, and inspired in human hearts.
Last Friday, the university took that message public to celebrate the great research being done at Baylor, using social media, billboards and other advertising to call attention to the impactful work being done by Baylor faculty and students. Read more here.
Baylor profs leading national & international academic journals
8.5.20—No matter your relationship to higher education, there’s a good chance you’re aware of the importance of professors getting published. To be published means a professor’s research appears in a peer-reviewed academic journal, having been approved by a group of peer editors and then distributed to a wider academic audience — thus contributing to the body of knowledge within their field.
Baylor professors have a long record of publishing meaningful research, but their contributions to these journals don’t stop there. Many Baylor professors actually serve as the editors of journals within their field, positions of great importance and influence in their field. Read more here.
Meet Baylor’s expert on the prevention of substance-exposed pregnancies
6.11.20—Babies develop both physically and mentally while in utero — so it likely comes as no surprise that the use of drugs and alcohol by a mother during pregnancy can negatively impact the child, often leading to lifelong challenges. Sometimes the damage is done before a mother even knows she’s pregnant. Resources to prevent such problems or maintain a healthy pregnancy can be difficult to come by, and Baylor professor Danielle Parrish is working hard to change that.
Dr. Parrish, an associate professor of social work, joined the Houston campus of Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work in 2018. She began her career in social work as a clinical social worker in a large public mental health system, where she provided infant mental health, outpatient mental health, and juvenile justice mental health services. It was there that she was inspired to bridge the research-practice gap in social work programs. Read the full post here.
Meet Baylor's nationally recognized expert on how churches address societal issues
4.1.20—Baylor’s focus on offering a distinctly Christian educational environment includes cultivating thought leaders who can help congregations answer the call of societal challenges. Dr. Stephanie Boddie, an assistant professor of church and community ministries at Baylor, is one of those leading the way.
Boddie is known nationally for her research on congregation-based social services and trends in faith-based initiatives. Over the years, much of that research has been through the lens of the black church, with a focus on the social and entrepreneurial approaches these institutions have used to address disparities in wealth, health and food insecurity in their communities. Read the full post here.
Two GSSW professors recognized this year (2019) with two of the highest faculty awards
5.22.19—It’s official: The academic year has come to a close. Finals grades are in, seniors have walked the stage — and Baylor’s professors of the year have been named. Congratulations to Master Teachers Drs. Gaynor Yancey and Laine Scales. #sicemsocialwork Find the full blog post here.
Meet Baylor’s nationally renowned expert on counseling, social work and elder care
5.8.19—Dr. James Ellor‘s education — a bachelor’s in sociology, master’s degrees in social work and divinity, and both a D.Min. and a Ph.D. in working with the elderly — gives him a unique viewpoint on the intersection of faith and care for the elderly. Since 2004, Ellor has taught in Baylor’s Garland School of Social Work, serving today as the Dorothy Barfield Kronzer Endowed Professor in Family Studies and the doctoral program’s co-director. His research includes work in endosomal therapy, hunger, spiritual assessment, meaning and aging, and the role of the church — especially among the elderly. Read the full post here.
Baylor faculty & students honored for career contributions and promising new research
04.11.19—It’s always impressive when any one Baylor student or professor wins a statewide, national or even international award — but yet again, Bears have been winning so many awards that we can’t write about them fast enough!
Take a moment to check out these six amazing Bears and the work they’re doing in their respective fields:
Check out the full article by clicking here.
Meet 24 Baylor women who have made their marks on the world of education
3.39.19—When Baylor was chartered in 1845, it was one of the first coeducational colleges or universities west of the Mississippi River — about 10 years before any public institution of higher learning would introduce mixed-gender learning, and a full 75 years before American women were guaranteed the right to vote. Since that groundbreaking beginning, countless women have come through the halls of Baylor before going on to do amazing things. Here’s a look at some Baylor Bears who have made big impacts in education — at Baylor and beyond ... Read the full post here.
$2 million gift boosts Baylor’s Global Mission Leadership Program
03.20.19—A generous $2 million gift made by anonymous Baylor parents from California will support Baylor’s nationally renowned Global Mission Leadership (GML) initiative, a unique program that prepares Christian leaders to become catalysts for change in communities all over the world.
The GML program, established in 2009 within within Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, provides students with a master’s degree in social work that prepares them for transformational service in the country they choose. Part of the degree is a concentration in Global Mission Leadership — a credential largely unattainable in many countries, especially those where working in social work is rare.
To read the full article, click here.
50 influential Baylor women you should know
03.07.18—When Baylor was chartered in 1845, it was the first (or one of the first, depending on the source) coeducational college or university west of the Mississippi River — about 10 years before any public institution of higher learning would introduce mixed-gender learning, and a full 75 years before American women were guaranteed the right to vote.
Since that groundbreaking beginning, countless women have come through the halls of Baylor before going on to do amazing things.
Click here to access full article.
Meet Baylor’s nationally recognized expert on coping with grief and loss
01.17.18—"Dr. Helen Harris has centered her life’s work on a topic that most would prefer to avoid: grief and loss. While no one likes to think about the loss of a loved one, facing grief is unavoidable. Harris’ research on those tough subjects has made her one of the nation’s most-sought after experts on the topics of bereavement, trauma, the role of faith in processing grief, and more.
Before coming to Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Harris worked in the trenches daily alongside people grappling with these very issues. She was the first director of the Hillcrest Community Hospice in Waco, where she also served as a social worker and bereavement coordinator. Even after coming to Baylor in 1997, she has continued to volunteer with hospice organizations and provide training to hospices throughout the area.
Baylor partners with Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to support military & first responder marriages
11.3.17—"The images and videos of spouses and families reunited after military members return home from deployment leave most of us glassy-eyed and appreciative of the sacrifices they make. But for most of us, that’s where it ends.
For military families, however — and for the families of first responders like police and firefighters — the demands of the job constantly present a unique set of challenges to relationships.
Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work has teamed with the University of Texas and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to develop curriculum and build a program to help military and first responders build stronger, more resilient marriages. The resulting program, “Mastering Your Marriage,” is believed to be the first outcome-based model of military and first responder marriage enrichment training of its kind. This fall, the Baylor team has provided the training to 21 active military and first-responder couples."
#BearsOfBaylor — “My whole family is Deaf.”
09.11.17—“My whole family is Deaf. My parents, my twin sister and some extended family members are all Deaf. I grew up in a home where American Sign Language was my first language. I’m a social work major, because I’ve seen oppression on a lot of different levels, and I’ve seen people discount my family just because they couldn’t hear. I’m really into helping people who feel like they don’t have a voice find their voice and make them heard.”
#BearsOfBaylor — “I tell people I found my calling during Chapel at Baylor…”
08.29.17—“I tell people I found my calling during Chapel at Baylor, which is weird, but true. I’d never thought of anti-human trafficking efforts and things like that before, but the more I was in my major, the more I realized I didn’t want to work in policy about people. I wanted to work specifically with people, and help them with whatever needs they have. The cool thing is that’s exactly what social work is. I really like it.”
Three triplets, three personalities, one college — Baylor
08.11.17—When starting their college search, one major factor for many high school students is distance from family. Your college years are about meeting new people, growing into your own person, and having your own experiences — independent of your parents and siblings. That’s all the more important when you’ve lived your entire life as a triplet, and it’s exactly what the Bascos — Casey, Thomas and Matthew — had in mind when they began their college search.
6 reasons Baylor Law students are recognized for service
07.21.17—Over the years, Baylor Law School has received national recognition countless times — for the quality of its students, the quality of its graduates, and for its value. But if there’s one particular thing for which Baylor Law is best known, it’s service.
Congratulations, Baylor Class of 2017!
05.15.17—More than 2,500 Bears walked the Ferrell Center stage over the weekend at Commencement to receive their diplomas and officially become Baylor alumni.
How Baylor Bears are working to fight human trafficking
04.13.17—Slavery isn’t just something we read about in history textbooks; sadly, it’s still an issue today, all over the world — including here in the United States. Through force, fraud or coercion, individuals are exploited for sex, physical labor, drug transportation and other acts — treated purely as expendable commodities.
Thankfully, people are standing up to the problem — including many Baylor Bears.
#BearsOfBaylor—"It's always client-centered work."
08.08.16—“I’m going into my second year of the MSW program. … It’s always client-centered work. We wanna know that, if faith or spirituality is something that’s important to you, how can we incorporate that into your care and make it be something that grows you as a person, or whatever need you’re in.”
Baylor School of Social Work names new dean
05.20.16—It’s official: Dr. Jon Singletary, BA ’93, is the new dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.
And it won’t take Singletary long to get up to speed; neither the position nor the school is entirely new to Singletary.
From sacks to social work, former NFL star Santana Dotson is still making an impact
09.24.15—Santana Dotson, BA ’91, was a true difference maker on the defensive line for Coach Grant Teaff’s Baylor football teams in the early 1990s (and then for a decade in the NFL with Tampa Bay and Green Bay). The 6-foot-5 defensive tackle from Houston earned first-team All-America honors at Baylor and went on to be part of one of the most dominant defensive lines in NFL history, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Packers in 1996.
Two decades later, he’s still a difference-maker, albeit in a different game since retiring from the gridiron.
Waco isn't the only place to earn a Baylor degree
09.23.15—What do aspiring nurses in Dallas have in common with up-and-coming business leaders in Austin? It’s the same thing social workers in Houston share with ambitious professionals in the Metroplex and pastors in the Hill Country. In each of these locations, individuals are pursuing Baylor degrees in places that meets their unique personal needs — places outside of Waco. Please note: Houston is now a Research Center for the GSSW, rather than a campus (as of 2022).
Baylor grads minister to impoverished Miami-area communities
07.21.15—The neighborhood of Overtown, Fla., isn’t what most people picture when they think about Miami. Located just across Biscayne Bay from the glamour of Miami Beach, Overtown is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, and its residents daily face the difficult issues that come from living in poverty.
Overtown is also the home base for Touching Miami With Love, a nonprofit organization led by Baylor graduates that ministers to neighborhood families by providing resources to help them overcome the negative influences in the area.
School of Social Work named for outgoing dean Diana Garland
04.28.15—The names “Baylor social work” and “Diana Garland” have been virtually intertwined since Garland took leadership of the program in 2001. From now on, the names will be officially connected.
Baylor’s School of Social Work is now the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, the university announced Friday night to a group of students, faculty/staff, alumni and friends gathered to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary. And there couldn’t be a more fitting name.
Baylor prof named the most influential social worker alive today
11.13.14—If you’re among the countless students who have benefitted from Dr. Preston Dyer’s teaching at Baylor over the past 45 years, you’re likely not surprised to hear that a recent ranking of the most influential social workers alive put Dyer at No. 1.
Interdisciplinary Baylor partnership to study best ways of reaching and serving hungry children
09.09.13—We covered Baylor’s Texas Hunger Initiative in depth back in the spring, describing how the program (begun in Baylor’s School of Social Work in 2009) is working to develop a reproducible model that significantly reduces hunger by maximizing efficiency in current state programs.
Thanks to a $2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, THI staffers will now be aided by a team of researchers from Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business as they seek ways of making summer and afterschool meal plans more efficient so that more children can be served.
Social work’s Global Mission Leadership to move ahead thanks to generous gift
12.01.11—A $3.6 million gift from Carl and Martha Lindner will allow Baylor to continue a unique program that prepares Christian leaders to become catalysts for change in communities all over the world.
Launched in 2008, the Global Mission Leadership Initiative brings to Baylor’s School of Social Work international graduate students who have demonstrated servant leadership and strategic thinking while working in their home cultures.
To better serve Waco, School of Social Work moves into new home downtown
01.07.11—Perhaps no other school at Baylor is more involved with the local community than the School of Social Work, and that involvement is at the heart of the school’s move over Christmas break into a new home in downtown Waco — right in the middle of the people the school and its students aim to serve.
Daughter’s fight for health leaves former Lady Bear facing staggering bill
09.30.09—Lady Bear fans from a decade ago will remember Michelle Neely, who transferred to Baylor from Grayson County College and played in 46 games from 1999-2001 during head coach Sonja Hogg’s final season and head coach Kim Mulkey’s first year at Baylor. Neely graduated from Baylor with a degree in social work in 2002, and three years later, she and her husband were blessed with a child, Ashlyn.
At the age of 13 months, however, an unknown virus caused significant damage to Ashlyn’s brain, leaving her unable to move the right side of her body and with sensory and feeding issues.
Truett Seminary, School of Social Work share a family bond
07.24.08—A growing number of Baylor graduate students are pursuing a pair of master’s degrees that work uncommonly well together. In addition to earning their master of divinity degree from Truett Seminary, they also are earning a master’s degree from the School of Social Work, combining both the theoretical and the practical sides of ministry.
“What does the Gospel look like?” recent graduate Tihara Vargas asked rhetorically in a Baylor Magazine article last year. ” That’s where social work comes in. Truett is one of the only (seminaries) I’m aware of that integrates the two.”
After seeing how well the two programs work together, it probably wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the deans of Truett and the School of Social Work are a husband-wife team.
School of Social Work teaching service, from Waco to Moldova
06.20.08—Baylor’s School of Social Work is perhaps the University’s fastest growing program; 86 students graduated from the program last month, double the previous year’s class. To put that in perspective, the three-year-old program graduated more students than Truett Seminary, Baylor Law School and the Louise Herrington School of Nursing.
Baylor social work students from Waco to Washington, D.C., worked with churches and charities this past year that received large grants from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Locally, graduate student Kelly Baker (pictured) worked with University Baptist Church to plan out a mentoring program between neighborhood children and college students, after-school tutoring, parenting classes, and English as a Second Language classes.