When Dr. Driskell arrived at Baylor in 1997, she took a position as an assistant professor of sociology in a department that hadn't hired new faculty in ten years. "I didn't think I would be hired so I went for good interviewing experience," she says. "Dr Diana Kendall and I were hired the same year and now, we're the only two faculty left from that era."
To the note of change, the course that the department has taken over the last several years has driven the program away from one that offered a standard, terminating master's degree to one that engenders an interdisciplinary, top-notch doctoral program. The priorities of time, energy and finances are directed toward the 20 to 25 students who come in every year. "We are not as interested in growing the program in numbers as we are about making sure that each student is trained and taken care of to become a contributing, growing member in the field of sociology."
In the same vein, Dr. Driskell's tenure at Baylor is also conducted with diligence, vibrato and progress, as evidenced by awards and honors she receives from the university and the field of sociology at-large. Most recently, she served as president for the Southwest Sociological Association in 2007 and earned a large grant in 2008 for the Waco Downtown Project. "But the awards that mean most to me are the ones that are voted on by students," she says. "In 2004, I was awarded an Outstanding Teaching Award by the university and in 2008 as an Outstanding Graduate Program Director."
In addition to her official capacities, she is an active researcher and participant in her field. "Right now, I am researching community sociology," Dr Driskell says. "The concern is that as we become more mobile, we are not finding communal connections in traditional ways." With society becoming more segmented, she is finding that even though socializing and community doesn't happen as frequently in neighborhoods and schools anymore, we are, indeed, constructing community elsewhere.