Jennifer Smyer Dickey
Senior Lecturer, Director of Global Mission Leadership Initiative, and the Endowed Chair of Global Leadership
PhD, Baylor University
MSW, Baylor University
BSW, Baylor University
- International volunteerism and its impact on host communities and international volunteers
- The virtue of humility and cultural humble practices
- International reciprocity
- Measuring impact of non-profit organizations
Jennifer Smyer Dickey, PhD, LMSW serves as faculty and director of the Global Mission Leadership (GML) Initiative at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. After her undergraduate education, she lived in Northern Sudan for several years gleaning from and serving alongside of Sudanese colleagues within social work and congregational contexts. Upon return to the US, she worked for a missions organization as director of team training and oversight to international relief/development work post the Tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004 and the Haitian Earthquake in 2009.
Dickey’s international relationships built through 15 years of international engagement has forged her deep conviction that international leaders have the unique capacity to transform their communities. In line with this vision, Dickey became the Director of the GML initiative at the Garland School in 2008. The GML initiative aims to cultivate reciprocal cross-cultural learning and strategic innovation among the Garland School’s students and faculty. The GML initiative identifies Christian international leaders to come to study at Baylor who desire to pursue a master of social work degree, are willing to lead and influence the Garland student body in their cultural expertise, and are committed to returning to their home countries upon graduation as catalysts for holistic change.
Dickey is committed to collaborative transnational partnerships through research. She recently collaborated with GML Kenyan alumna Rose Wasike on a research project entitled “Listening to Our Global Partners: Kenyan Perceptions of International Volunteers’ Attitudes, Behaviors, and Humility Practices.” The study explored the experiences of Kenyan host community members’ interactions with international volunteers and impact of cultural humility on the intercultural relationship. This complexity of building mutually beneficial intercultural relationships between international volunteers and host communities is daunting in light of historical misuses of power yet crucial in light of globalization. The virtue of humility has the potential to repair and strengthen intercultural relationships between international volunteers and host community members.
Dickey is active in local church life, consulting with church congregations and missions organizations that respond to the practical needs of persons both domestically and internationally. She treasures her family, finds strength in the love of Christ, is inspired by college students, and feels most at home near the beach.