Baylor School of Social Work Begins Move to Downtown Waco
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Baylor University's School of Social Work begins the move today from campus to its new home in downtown Waco, placing the School in the "heart of the community" it serves.
The School of Social Work will relocate over the next three days (Dec. 13-15) from its current campus space in the Speight Avenue Parking Garage to the former Wells Fargo Bank building at 811 Washington Ave. in downtown Waco. Faculty and staff will spend this month getting settled in and then open for business in January, when Baylor returns from the Christmas break.
Baylor will lease the 33,000-square-foot, three-story building, which triples the School's current 11,700 square feet in the Speight facility. For the first time in the School's five-year history, Social Work faculty will be able to office and teach classes in the same building. The new facility also will have meeting spaces available to the community.
Downtown Waco will feel the effects of the move, as nearly 300 faculty, staff and students will teach, work and take classes in the School's new location. To make it easier for graduate and undergraduate students to travel between the main and downtown campuses, the university expanded the DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle) route to include the Washington Avenue location.
"We come expectantly, intent upon being good neighbors," wrote Dr. Diana Garland, dean of the School of Social Work, in a guest column in Sunday's Waco Tribune-Herald.
The School's Washington Avenue location will include:
- 12 classroom/seminar rooms
4 practice labs
2 recording labs
1 computer lab (20 stations)
1 4,300-square-foot multipurpose space
1 student lounge
Garland said the school "already collaborates with more than 100 nonprofit social service agencies in our community," providing social work students with field internships that amount to "more than 68,000 hours of free professional services annually to Central Texans."
In addition, Garland wrote, more than 25 professionals from Waco bring together community service and classroom learning by teaching part-time in Baylor Social Work programs.
Next fall, the School of Social Work will begin its first Ph.D. program. The innovative "hybrid" program - which includes both on-campus and distance coursework using university-sponsored technology - will focus on preparing professional social workers as leading researchers and educators in the areas of intergenerational relations (child and family studies and aging), the ethical integration of religious faith and social work theory and practice, and social work in congregations and religiously-affiliated organizations.
Begun in 1969 as part of the sociology, anthropology and gerontology department, Baylor's social work program became its own department within the College of Arts and Sciences in 1999. That year, Social Work began a graduate MSW program, and the academic unit was designated a "school" although it was still under the umbrella of the College of Arts and Sciences. The Baylor Board of Regents granted the school independent status in November 2004. The School held its first convocation as the Baylor School of Social Work in fall 2005.
"As school dean, I'm so pleased Baylor has taken this initiative," Garland wrote. "I believe our relocation is another step that Baylor and Waco have taken to collaborate for the good of our community."