School of Social Work Names Recipients for Two Inaugural Endowed Positions

  • News Photo 4849
    Jon Singletary
  • News Photo 4848
    Dennis Myers
Feb. 3, 2010

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The School of Social Work at Baylor University has filled its two inaugural endowed positions established in August 2009. Dennis Myers has been named the Dorothy Barfield Kronzer Professor in Family Studies and Jon Singletary has been named the Diana R. Garland Chair in Children and Family Studies. The positions become effective June 1.

"Our search committee advertised nationally and we received an excellent pool of applicants, but we came to the conclusion that none was as qualified as two of our own faculty," said Diana Garland, dean of the School of Social Work.

Myers, associate dean for graduate studies, will transition from that position to accept the responsibilities of the family studies professorship. His areas of research and publication are in gerontology and intergenerational family relationships.

"I believe I can make a significant contribution to scholarship, education and practice in family gerontology," said Myers, who has authored or co-authored 13 articles and book chapters and made 23 presentations related to aging and family life in his career. "I have a particular interest in developing measures of relational quality and in exploring the contours and texture of the adult child and parent relationship."

The Kronzer professorship had its origins in an undesignated gift given by Jim and Dorothy Kronzer of Houston in 1985 to establish a Baylor endowment fund. Their children, Walter J. Kronzer III and Kim Kronzer O'Brien, chose to designate the gift to the School of Social Work in recognition of Dorothy's passions and ministry to families and the elderly.

"Throughout their lives, service was very important to both of my parents," O'Brien said. "It's great for us to make possible an opportunity where others can follow that example and do great things helping others. Dean Garland's vision is very exciting, and with this relatively new school, it's thrilling to be a part of its early stages."

Singletary joined the school in 2003 and was tenured in 2009. He is an associate professor and has been the director of the School's Center for Family and Community Ministries since 2005.

"That the chair was named for our dean, funded by a member of our Board of Advocates and others, and then filled by a current member of the faculty, I think really celebrates who we are and what we do here in the School of Social Work," Singletary said.

An anonymous donor gave the lead gift for the Garland chair in 2005. Babs Baugh of San Antonio completed funding through a gift to the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation.

"Diana has been a hero to me since her days at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary," said Baugh, who currently serves on the Schools Board of Advocates, an advisory group. "Diana's interest in involving churches with social work is particularly wonderful and should be looked on with great anticipation by churches all over the country. She is one of the brightest stars in Baptist life."

Singletary's areas of research and publication include congregational early childhood education, family violence and elder care. Currently he is involved in an initiative to measure the support for family and community models of care for vulnerable children in various regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. Vulnerable children are usually defined as orphans and those suffering with AIDS. For the first time, two graduate students from the school are interning in Kitale, Kenya, this semester, and Singletary serves as their faculty adviser. He traveled with them in January to help the students get settled into their internship roles.

"I can't forget that I'm part of a global community also and that those are my brothers and sisters struggling to keep their families together," he said of his interest in this topic.

"I want to learn from our neighbors how to ask the right questions. One of the values of our profession is self-determination, and so we need to listen and learn and help our clients, or in this case our global neighbors, think through the oppressing factors and listen as they arrive at their own solutions."

Garland appreciates the opportunity these two appointments will provide for adding new scholarship and knowledge to the social work profession, especially in the ways it intersects with the church and faith-based organizations.

"There is a real need in our profession to provide relevant research and knowledge that addresses the interface of faith and practice to pave the way for practitioners who feel called to address client needs holistically," she said. "Baylor School of Social Work is uniquely qualified to make that contribution."

Contact: Vicki Marsh Kabat, Baylor School of Social Work, 254-710-4417

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