Academic Programs Update

February 10, 2015
Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences Established and Named

Last May, Baylor Regents established the College of Health and Human Sciences, and in October, the Regents announced a significant gift from William K. and Mary Jo Robbins of Houston, naming the new College in their honor. Bill Robbins is a Baylor graduate and member of the Board of Regents. His wife, Mary Jo, earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Texas and spent 27 years in the nursing profession.

“We are so grateful for the generous gift given by Bill and Mary Jo Robbins to name the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. We are truly humbled by their visionary support that serves to strengthen academic excellence in health-related education and research here at Baylor,” Shelley F. Conroy, EdD, said. Conroy serves as the inaugural dean of the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences and professor of the Louise Herrington School of Nursing.

The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences unites four existing health-related academic units — communication sciences and disorders; family and consumer sciences; health, human performance and recreation; and the Louise Herrington School of Nursing — to create an organizational structure that will draw upon Baylor’s Christian mission and tradition in health care to prepare its students for the future.

School of Social Work Sets its Sights on Houston

Baylor’s School of Social Work hopes to ease the burden of commuting and relocation by opening a new campus for its Master of Social Work in Houston. The unique structure of the program in Houston — which begins August 2015 — will include a combination of in-person courses and courses taught in a live virtual classroom using high-definition videoconferencing.

Baylor Social Work provides a distinctive focus on the integration of religion and faith with the ethics, values and practices of the social work profession. This focus will remain strong in Houston, where there is a need for well-trained professionals in the diverse and growing regional population.

“Houston is an ideal setting for an educational social work program due to its booming economy, growing populations and cultural diversity,” School of Social Work Dean Diana Garland, PhD, said. “Shadowing these opportunities are the realities of social challenges that such a growing economy and population create. Houston will benefit from Baylor’s purposeful engagement as a catalyst for transformational change.”

Environmental Science PhD Approved

Over the next five years, Baylor anticipates an increase in doctoral production in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. In 2014, Baylor produced 28 STEM-field PhD graduates; by 2019, the University expects that it will award 44 STEM doctoral degrees. Baylor Regents recently approved a new environmental science PhD, contributing to
this increase.

“The research and graduate education enterprise within the Department of Environmental Science has a well-established history of top-tier research and strong collaborative relationship with natural, physical, social and health science programs,” said George P. Cobb, PhD, professor and chair of environmental science in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences. “With the addition of the PhD program, the department’s outstanding faculty, students and staff will be poised to help lead Baylor toward the Carnegie Very High Research level that is paramount in Pro Futuris, while boosting the collaborative research base and generating significant levels of external funding at the University.”

The doctoral program will educate a generation of scientists, scholars and professionals who can address the most challenging environmental issues that face humanity by advancing scientific understanding of environmental health, environmental chemistry and toxicology, which are core specialty areas within the department. The program began in January.
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