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Diana Garland

Diana Garland Dean, Baylor School of Social Work
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 Christian 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 35 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, Diana (in press). Family ministry: A comprehensive guide (Revised Edition). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
  • Garland, Diana (2010). Inside out families: Living the faith together. Waco: Baylor University Press.
  • 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 R. . (2012). A process model of family formation and development. Journal of Family Social Work, 15(3), 235-250.
  • Garland, Diana R. (2012). Christian social services. Encyclopedia of Social Work (Revised). Washington, D.C.: National Association of Social Workers.
  • Garland, D. R., & Yancey, G. I. (2012). Moving mountains: Congregations as settings for social work practice. In T. L. Scales & M. Kelly (Eds.), Christianity and social work: Readings in the integration of Christian faith and social work (4th ed., pp. 311-336). Botsford CT: North American Association of Christians in Social Work.
  • Garland, D. R. (2012). Is that church on fire? A unique moment of opportunity for social work leadership. Social Work & Christianity, 39(1), 88-99.
  • Rogers, Edward B., Stanford, Matthew and Garland, Diana R.(2011). The effects of mental illness on families within faith communities, Mental Health, Religion & Culture, First published on: 25 May 2011 (iFirst)
  • Garland, D. R., & Argueta, C. A. (2011). Unholy touch: Church leaders and sexual misconduct with adults. In C. Franklin & R. Fong (Eds.), The church leader's counseling resource book (pp. 405-416). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Justice, Jessica A., and Garland, Diana R. (2010). Dual relationships when clergy counsel congregants: Reflections from a social work perspective. Social Work & Christianity, 37 (4), pp. 437-445
  • Garland, D. R., & Argueta, C. (2010). How clergy sexual misconduct happens: A qualitative study of first-hand accounts. Social Work & Christianity, 37(1), 1-27.
  • Chaves, M., & Garland, D. (2009). The prevalence of clergy sexual advances toward adults in their congregations. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(4), 817-824.
  • Garland, Diana R., Myers, Dennis M., & Wolfer, Terry A. (2009). Protestant Christian volunteers in community social service programs: What motivates, challenges, and sustains them. Administration in Social Work. 33(1), 1-17.
  • Garland, D. R., T. A. Wolfer, and D. M. Myers. 2008. How 35 congregations launched and sustained community ministries. Family and Community Ministries: Empowering Through Faith 35:229-257.
  • Garland, D. R., and J. E. Singletary. 2008. Congregations as settings for early childhood education. Early Childhood Services 2:111-128.
  • 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.

Research Interests

  • Congregational Social Work
  • Family Ministry
  • Families in Crisis; Family Life Education
  • Community-based Child Welfare Services
  • Clergy Sexual Misconduct
  • Religiously Affiliated Organizations


Diana R. Garland, Ph.D, M.S.S.W., is inaugural Dean of the School of Social Work, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, where she has served on the faculty since 1997. She previously served as Professor of Social Work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, where she was on the faculty for seventeen years and was Dean of the Carver School of Church Social Work and Director of the Center for Family Ministries. Prior to teaching, she was administrative director of a pastoral counseling center.

She is author, co-author, or editor of 19 books and more than 120 professional articles and book chapters. She has raised more than $7 million in research and program grants since coming to Baylor in 1997, from organizations such as Lilly Endowment, Inc, Pew Charitable Trusts, Inc., the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. Her research and practice has focused on the family and community ministry of congregations and religious organizations in family and on understanding and supporting the faith life of families.

She has been married to Dr. David Garland for 43 years. He is Dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary. They are the parents of Sarah (a journalist and author), her husband Matthew (also a journalist and an author), John (a pastor and a middle school science teacher), and his wife Abby (a high school history teacher). They are the proud grandparents of Aurora Grace (2010) and Azalea Faith (2012).