SSW_Web_Gallery_8_2_1C62681 Left Col - 2.5 Left Col - 3.1 Left Col - 4.2 Left Col - 5.1

Diana R. Garland

Diana Garland Dean, Baylor School of Social Work
Director, Center for Family and Community Ministries
Phone: 254-710-6223

"I have spent my career exploring social work as a vocation for church leadership. My practice experience has been in church-related settings--a Christian counseling center, a Baptist child and family services agency, and a Catholic residential treatment home for abused adolescent girls. In those settings, I wondered what would happen if social workers looked at the church as more than a funding source to support their work. What if we equipped congregations to support and strengthen families, to build communities of care and advocacy for the most vulnerable members of our communities? That wondering has turned into my life's work. "For the past 30 years, I have had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the development of congregation's family and community ministries. Now I love watching our alumni take paths beyond what I ever dreamed to lead congregations to be transformational agents in the lives of children, families, and communities, not just locally but all over the world. I laugh a lot these days in sheer amazement -- in those early days, I could never have imagined a school like Baylor Social Work, charting new paths for the church and her work in the world."


Ph.D., University of Louisville
M.S.S.W., University of Louisville
B.A., University of Louisville
Full Curriculum Vita

Professional Credentials

Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, National Association of Social Workers The Academy of Certified Social Workers, Licensed Master Social Worker, Advanced Clinical Practitioner, Texas

Selected Publications

  • Garland, D.R., Myers, D. M., & Wolfer, T. A. (2008). Social work with religious volunteers: Activating and sustaining community involvement. Social Work, 53(3), 255-265.
  • Garland, D.R., Sherr, M., Dennison, A., & Singletary, J. (2008). Who cares for the children? Family and Community Ministries: Empowering Through Faith, 22(1), 6-16.
  • Garland, Diana (2008). Christian social services. Encyclopedia of Social Work. Washington, D.C.: National Association of Social Workers.
  • Sherr, Michael E., Garland, Diana, & Wolfer, Terry. (2007). The role of community service in the faith development of adolescents. The Journal of Youth Ministry, 6(1), 43-54.
  • Garland, David E., and Garland, Diana R. (2007). Flawed families of the Bible: How God's grace works through imperfect relationships. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press.
  • Garland, Diana (2003). Sacred stories of ordinary families. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
  • Garland, Diana (1999). Family ministry: A comprehensive guide. InterVarsity Press.
  • Garland, Diana R. (2006). When wolves wear shepherds' clothing: Helping women survive clergy sexual abuse. Social Work and Christianity 33 (1), 1-35

Research Interests

  • Church Social Work
  • Families
  • Religiously Affiliated Organizations


Dr. Garland is a well-known family scholar and has pioneered research in the integration of faith and service in congregations and in religiously affiliated organizations. She is the past president of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW) and the recipient of the National Association of Social Work Lifetime Achievement Award from the NASW Waco Unit (2002). Her book, Family Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide (InterVarsity Press, 2000), received the Book of the Year 2000 award from the Academy of Parish Clergy. She also authored Sacred Stories of Ordinary Families: Living the Faith Everyday (Jossey-Bass) in 2003. Her latest book, co-authored with husband Dr. David E. Garland, associate dean of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, is titled Flawed Families of the Bible: How God's grace works through imperfect relationships (Brazos Press, 2007). Dr. Garland previously served as director of the graduate program and director of the Center for Family and Community Ministries, which she founded in 1998. Before coming to Baylor, she served as professor of Christian family ministry and social work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where she was on the faculty for 17 years and served as dean of the Carver School of Social Work. She has provided consultation in child and family services for family and children's services agencies and has served as consultant to congregations and church agencies in the development of family and community ministries. She also leads family life workshops and preaches in congregations. She is a licensed clinical social worker. She and her husband, David, are the parents of two adult children, Sarah, married to Matthew, and John, married to Abby.