Stories: Research

Dec
5
2020
Falling Seed: Caring for others through trauma-sensitive language
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

I memorized this verse as a child and earnestly sought to live it out. For most of my adolescence, I thought it meant being nice and cordial to the people around me. After learning about trauma-sensitive language, the verse has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

I now am aware of the diversity of experiences I might encounter on a daily basis in my congregation members or clients. I must remember each individual has a different story and has experienced things that caused deep pain and harm in their lives. I must remember we all handle things differently.
Nov
12
2020
Exploring the Mental Health Impact of Aging Women
Through the expansion medical care and technological advances, the lifespan of older adult women has progressively increased. According to the National Vital Statistics Reports of the U.S., in the year 2017, the national average of female life expectancy is the age of 81. Compared to the 1920s, female life expectancy was the age of 54. Older adult women are living longer and are experiencing the world through many significant changes throughout the lifespan. They experience milestones of struggles, hardships, love, and laughter throughout their lifetime that is monumental to their well-being.
Nov
12
2020
The Gift of Self-Care to Yourself and Others
Amidst the busyness of life, it can be hard to take time for yourself, let alone get the care you need. In this interview, Holly Oxhandler provides insight on the importance of self-care and the best ways to cultivate it for yourself and others during any season.

Holly Oxhandler, Ph.D., LMSW is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and an Associate Professor at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. Dr. Oxhandler has studied the intersection of faith and mental health over the last decade and is particularly interested in the degree to which mental health care providers discuss and integrate clients’ religion/spirituality in mental health treatment. She’s also the co-host of CXMH, a weekly podcast on the intersection of faith and mental health, and is currently writing her first book to translate her research on this intersection for everyday helpers.
Sep
1
2020
From Carver School to Baylor: A legacy of ‘doing the word’
Editor’s note: Laine Scales and Melody Maxwell have written a new book about the history of the Carver School of Church Social Work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, its 1997 closing and its legacy carried forward at Baylor University. What follows is an excerpt of the Epilogue to their book.

In November 2017, Kristen Tekell Boyd stands in the pulpit of Truett Seminary’s chapel in Waco, Texas, and preaches, taking Ezekiel chapter 37 as her text. As she describes the valley with the prophet Ezekiel coming upon the dry bones, she reads a key question from the Scripture: “Can these bones live?”

This question might have been asked 20 years before when Carver School of Church Social Work closed in 1997, an event that seemed like a death to many of its alumni.

She continues, “God created (these bones) from the dust, and God is the only one who can breathe life into them once again.” After recalling several stories of loss and death, Boyd assures her listeners that God is with us. She closes her sermon with a hopeful directive: “Let us be a people that rise and bear witness; rise and remember!”
Jul
16
2020
School’s history reflects changing Southern Baptist attitudes
Laine Scales at Baylor University believes the history of a school that ceased to exist 23 years ago is worth telling because of what it reveals about changing Southern Baptist attitudes toward gender roles and social ministries.

Scales, a professor in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, and co-author Melody Maxwell, associate professor of church history at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, Canada, wrote Doing the Word: Southern Baptists’ Carver School of Social Work and Its Predecessors, 1907-1997.

Scales and Maxwell trace the history of the school through its various iterations—the Woman’s Missionary Union Training School for Christian Workers, the Carver School of Missions and Social Work and finally the Carver School of Church Social Work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In spite of “twists and turns” along the way, Scales sees one constant: “It’s never a predictable or boring story.”
Jun
8
2020
Professor awarded grant to support ethnographic research in today’s African American church
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has awarded Baylor University’s Dr. Stephanie Boddie a grant of nearly $18,000 to support ethnographic study of ways to create worship practices that integrate traditional theology, Negro Spirituals, storytelling and social history.

Amid increasing racial tensions and a decline in church attendance by millennials, Boddie’s research project focuses on establishing worship practices that help African American churches reconnect spirituality with the social justice legacy of the African American Church. The research will also examine how corporate worship practices, coupled with individual spirituality, creates transformative church experiences and communities.
Feb
5
2020
Holiday Blues by Joyelle Gaines
It’s that time of the year again, where we sing about what a wonderful time of the year it is. Hot cocoa, warm fireplaces, Friendsgiving’s and family gatherings galore make this time of year such a special and beautiful time for so many people. Although this season is full of love and giving, this year is hard for me because it is my first year without my sister. Last year on December 5th I lost someone very dear to me, my big sister, Kimberly. She was 28-years old and died from a 10-year battle with diabetes.
Sep
30
2019
New Research from Baylor University Student-Faculty Pair Explores Hunger Among Teenagers in Waco
WASHINGTON, DC (September 17, 2019) – New research by Ana O’Quin (Baylor University ‘20) and faculty advisor Dr. Stephanie Boddie was published today by the Center for Public Justice (CPJ), a Christian civic education and public policy research organization based in Washington, D.C. Now in its second year, The Hatfield Prize (previously called the Student-Faculty Research Prize) honors the late Senator Mark O. Hatfield, a U.S. Senator from Oregon known for integrating his Christian faith and his public policy commitments. The Hatfield Prize is made possible through the generous support of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Sep
26
2019
PhD Profile: Bonni Goodwin, a quest for post-adoption solutions
Bonni Goodwin, a recent recipient of the Oklahoma NASW’s Emerging Leader in Social Work award, stumbled upon a passion she is now pursuing in the form of a PhD through the Garland School of Social Work (GSSW). Goodwin studied Family and Human Services at John Brown University, received her MSW at Washburn University and now holds a position in the Center for Child Welfare Training and Simulation at the University of Oklahoma while she completes her PhD in social work. While working with an adoption agency in Kansas for her MSW generalist practicum, Goodwin’s eyes were opened to the world of adoption and foster care.
Jun
3
2019
Baylor School of Social Work receives grant to assess religion and spirituality in social work education
The Spencer Foundation recently awarded Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work (GSSW) a $50,000 grant to study if and how accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) programs incorporate curricula around religion and spirituality (RS) into social work education as well as assessing faculty views around the topic and how universities’ religious affiliations impact MSW education.

Assistant Professor Dr. Edward C. Polson and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development Holly K. Oxhandler are co-principal investigators for the study, entitled “Graduate Social Work Faculty Views on Preparing Students to Ethically Integrate Clients’ Religion/Spirituality in Practice: A National Survey”.
Feb
15
2019
The Impact of Social Workers on Mental Health
Did you know that 43.8 million adults experience some form of mental illness in a given year? Within that 43.8 million, nearly 1 in 25 adults (roughly 10 million) are living with a severe mental illness.

Social workers are in a unique position to offer hope and healing to those suffering from mental illness. Read on to learn about the need for experienced and competent mental health social workers and how a master’s in social work degree best prepares these professionals to meet the need of this growing population.
Oct
29
2018
Associate dean joins mental health podcast as co-host
Podcasting … a seemingly vast and overwhelming realm of possibilities. Any topic one might be interested in is probably available via a podcast, from politics to polar ice caps and everything in between … including mental health. Podcasting is a valuable tool in the mental health care arsenal. Podcasts provide educational opportunities for both those experiencing mental health issues and those wanting to learn more about how to help people cope with and thrive through those issues.

To that end, our own Dr. Holly Oxhandler, associate dean of research at the Garland School of Social Work, is now co-hosting “CXMH: A Podcast on Faith and Mental Health”. According to its creator, Robert Vore, CXMH is at the intersection of faith and mental health, bringing Christian leaders and mental health professionals together for “honest conversations”.
Apr
16
2018
GSSW Professor and Baylor Sociologist Publish Research on the Effects of Worshipping in Multi-ethnic Congregations on Whites
Many believe the idea that the most segregated time of the week is when Sunday church services take place. GSSW professor Dr. Clay Polson along with Baylor Department of Sociology professor Dr. Kevin Dougherty are interested in seeing how multi-cultural churches are changing this notion.

They recently published a joint research article, “Worshiping across the Color Line: The Influence of Congregational Composition on Whites’ Friendship Networks and Racial Attitudes.”
Nov
29
2017
The Religiosity and Spiritual Beliefs and Practices of Clinical Social Workers: A National Survey
This article describes the religious and spiritual beliefs and practices among a national sample of 426 licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs). Given the significant role LCSWs’ intrinsic religiosity plays in whether or not they consider clients’ religion and spirituality (RS) as it relates to practice, it is critical that the profession best understands current LCSWs’ religious and spiritual beliefs, and in what ways these mirror or contrast those of the clients whom they serve.
Oct
25
2017
Baylor team prepares for Mastering Your Marriage program
Service to others is a calling many social workers feel. Service to others through life-threatening situations is not usually part of it, though. Military and first-responder families deal with a unique set of circumstances that many civilians may not understand.

Serving to keep others safe sometimes comes at a cost ... ask almost any soldier, police officer, firefighter, paramedic or the spouse of one. Marriage can be hard enough for couples in any stage of life, but add in the stresses of deployment and life-and-death situations, and it just might be unbearable.
Oct
25
2017
Dissertations Defended, Hooding Ceremonies Celebrated
Two more students from our very first PhD cohort added new titles in front of their names this summer. Congratulations are in order two very special graduates, one in May and one in August ... DR. Erin Olson and DR. Lori Sousa!
Oct
25
2017
Faculty Member Researches Adoption Policies

A study by a Garland School researcher gives voice to women who have placed a child for adoption and suggests changes to the options counseling process and policies that guide agencies and other adoption professionals.

Oct
25
2017
Gerontology Researchers Win Award
Congratulations to our Gerontology researchers for receiving an Honorable Mention 2017 Innovative Research on Aging Award from the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging for their work on the following publication... "Work-life Stress and Career Resilience of Licensed Nursing Facility Administrators (LNFAs)" Myers, D., Rogers, R., LeCrone, H., Kelley, K., & Scott, J. (2016). Work life stress and career resilience on licensed nursing home administrators. Journal of Applied Gerontology.
Oct
25
2017
Spirituality Research Featured on Podcast
The National Association of Christian Social Workers featured Dr. Holly Oxhandler's research, "Integration of Clients’ Spirituality among Christians in Social Work" in the June edition of the their podcast.
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