Six years after it was established in 1999, the School of Social Work at Baylor will have independent status beginning with the 2005-06 academic year as a result of action by Baylor's Board of Regents at its September meeting.
"We are deeply excited about the support of the regents," said Diana Garland, professor and chair of social work. "This status gives visibility to social work education and stature along with the other professional schools at Baylor."
Under the leadership of Garland, who came to Baylor in 1997, the faculty has grown from five full-time professors and lecturers to a full-time faculty of 15. Graduate student enrollment in the program has increased from 17 to 65, and undergraduate enrollment has grown 24 percent to 105 students. External funding for research has almost doubled to $1.3 million annually.
The School has gained national prominence for conducting research on religion and spirituality in social work practice. Last spring, the School broke into the top 100 graduate social work programs in the country, with a No. 87 ranking in the annual U.S.News and World Report Best Graduate Schools edition.
The Board also directed Baylor's NCAA Division I-A intercollegiate athletics program to add women's equestrian beginning in 2005-06 as part of its ongoing commitment to Title IX compliance. Baylor added softball and women's soccer in 1996. The University currently sponsors 17 intercollegiate athletics teams, nine for women and eight for men.