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Jul
21
2020
GSSW diversity & iInclusion expert shares tips to cultivate cultural humility, antiracism
As individuals and institutions across the country consider necessary changes to effectively fight racism, two terms are gaining familiarity: cultural humility and antiracism.

Kerri Fisher, LCSW, an expert in cultural humility training and lecturer in Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, defines those terms and shares five tips to help people cultivate cultural humility and antiracism in their personal and corporate lives.

“We are all impacted by the supremacist cultures that socialize us,” Fisher said, “so while we are not responsible for our first thought, we are responsible for our second thought and our first action. This means we must be brave enough to admit when our brain, body and behaviors are exhibiting racist reactions.”
Jul
20
2020
PhD student pens article: Sanctuary of nature, presence of God
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory (Psalm 63:2 NIV).

Nature calms me and reminds me in times of doubt and feeling disconnected from God that the Creator truly is. I find assurance in the creativity of each leaf, tumbling stream, dipping valley, rolling wave, bird song and even the blade of grass surviving against all odds in the crack of the sidewalk.

The minute details of nature act like a balm to my weary soul. They remind me with a fierceness something has been here creating and is still here creating.

Remembering this brings me to God’s sanctuary. Sanctuary is a word too often equated with a building. It actually means “refuge” or safety.” It means God’s very presence.

Read the full article here.
Jul
17
2020
LISTEN: Dr. Oxhandler talks mental health wellbeing in COVID-19 context
The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 public health crisis has placed added focus on mental health. Dr. Holly Oxhandler, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Assistant Professor in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, is a recognized expert on the intersection of faith and mental health. In this Baylor Connections, she shares how individuals can prioritize their own mental wellbeing through both immediate and long-term practices, and discusses the role of an individual’s faith in their mental health.
Jul
15
2020
Meet Kevin Pranoto, MDiv/MSW '16, of Mission Oak Cliff
Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Pranoto.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kevin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Houston, Texas, in the most diverse county in America. Growing up, I was most fascinated by my Social Studies classes, especially when we discussed the sections on human and civil rights movements. For college, I attended Baylor University, where I received my Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences and was pre-med. The sciences was not a fulfilling track for me, and I quickly found out that I was meant to do something different. Shortly after working at MD Anderson Cancer Center as a nutritionist, I switched tracks and went back to Baylor to attend graduate school, where I received a Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Master of Social Work (MSW). My first MSW internship was working with homeless and unaccompanied youth in the Waco Independent School District. I primarily worked with high school students, many of whom had been kicked out of the house and were living in foster care or in group homes.

Read the full article here.
Jun
23
2020
Faculty member reflects on antiracism listening sessions
Recently, I had the privilege of hearing from our Black social work students in a Listening Session hosted by our departmental administration. The students were vulnerable and raw and brave. They expressed exhaustion and hope and disappointment. They pointed out ways in which the Garland School of Social Work could be better, Baylor could be better, and our curriculum could be more inclusive and supportive. Many of our Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color have likely felt this for many years, but they finally had the collective voice and platform to express this hurt. I am thankful for them and to them.

I will be honest, some of it was hard to hear. My thoughts raced, and I found myself internally defending a program I have worked hard to help develop, a program that I attended as a student. I was uncomfortable. I was sad, and I was even more saddened when I realized I was making it all about me. You see, my discomfort is one small insight into the discomfort I imagine that BIPOC feel in so many spaces. And, I also realized it is time for me (as a White person) to also be uncomfortable.

Racial justice work takes deep inner work. As Ronda V. Magee writes in her recent book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice, “Racial literacy requires emotional awareness. If you are like most people, you will feel strong emotions in reaction to what others share about race and – you will also feel emotional when you reflect deeply on your own experiences.”

This means that I have to sit with the discomfort I feel and examine the places I have been the perpetrator of racism and privileged by racist structures. All of this introspection requires a willingness to dig into the discomfort, to be wrong, to apologize, to make reparations and to try again.

Read full article here.
Jun
23
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.


Laine Scales
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.”

Read the full article here.
May
27
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.
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