News

Sep
28
2018
Elizabeth Mukasa: Living out her faith through social work
Whether working with the refugee community in Kampala, Uganda, interviewing vulnerable youth in Western Africa, or beginning her master’s degree at the Garland School of Social Work in Waco, Texas, Elizabeth Mukasa stated that faith has been the driving force in her desire to know and help others.

To access the full story, click here.
Sep
28
2018
Global connection: local nonprofit raising funds to provide new roofs in Malawi
Norman Cultural Connection is proving that compassion can stretch around the globe.

About 9,000 miles away, in the southeastern African nation of Malawi, there is a group of female elders who have committed to raising orphans of parents who have died of AIDS.

Their story became the focus of a lecture by Oklahoma native and Baylor University professor Dr. Jocelyn McGee. When Norman Cultural Connection Executive Director Marial Martyn heard McGee’s talk, The Wisdom of Malawian Grandmothers, she knew it was perfect for the nonprofit’s lecture series. Martyn also thought it was a perfect opportunity to turn learning into action.

To access this story, click here.
Sep
28
2018
The Catholic Church’s Hidden Shame: Priests Abused Grown Women, Too
Dr. David Pooler, associate dean of academic affairs, was recently interviewed for a story discussing the recent abuse case in Pennsylvania and the abuse of grown women, as welll.

Click here to access the article.
Sep
24
2018
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
From September 15 until October 15, we recognize the numerous contributions that individuals of Hispanic origin have made within our nation by celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. In acknowledging the positive impact that generations of Hispanics have brought to American society and culture, we hope to bring light to the benefits of diversity and cultural competence, which are core tenets of effective social work practice.

Click here to access Baylor's department of multicultural affair's events for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Aug
20
2018
When Birthmothers Regret the Adoption
For many mothers, becoming pregnant is joyful. But for a few, it’s time of struggle. This is especially true of teen mothers who find themselves deciding between keeping the baby and giving it up for adoption. Either answer involves sacrifice and pain. What do we really know about what goes on in the minds of birth mothers in adoption? A new study looks at how birth mothers felt about their decision many years down the road. The results include some surprises.

To listen to this podcast, click here.
Aug
16
2018
Baylor research asks if birth mothers are satisfied with giving their child up for adoption
Baylor research reveals effects of time, age, education, and income on birth mothers’ satisfaction following ‘life-altering decision’.

New research finding from the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work could change the adoption landscape for birth mothers.

Baylor states there is a consensus among researchers that for many birth mothers the experience of placing their children for adoption brings negative feelings of satisfaction.

Read full article here.
Aug
16
2018
Discuss religion when treating young adults with mental illness
A majority of young adults with severe mental illness—bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or major depression—consider religion and spirituality relevant to their mental health, according to a new study from Baylor University.

Holly Oxhandler, associate dean for research and faculty development in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, served as lead author on the study, published in the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice.

Researchers examined data from 55 young adults, ages 18-25, with serious mental illness who had used crisis emergency services. Of the 55 young adults interviewed, 34 “mentioned religion or spirituality in the context of talking about their mental health symptoms and service use with little-to-no prompting,” researchers wrote.

Access full article here.
Aug
16
2018
Social Work Professor: Episode 24
Both of her parents grew up in poverty, and she says she then grew up with some wealth. She is the daughter of an immigrant and a woman of color. This all ties closely to her calling of social work education and social justice. In her work as a professor of social work, Luci's areas of interest include diversity, ethical faith integration in social work practice, work with children and families, curriculum development, and undergrad student experiences. And, she was the first person in her family to attend college. Luci Ramos Hoppe: social work professor.

Click here to access podcast.
Aug
10
2018
Governor Abbott Appoints Four To Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Abraham Mathew to the Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee for a term set to expire on February 1, 2021. Additionally, the Governor appointed Amanda Burnett and Sheila Haley, Ph.D. and reappointed Dennis Myers, Ph.D. for terms set to expire on February 1, 2023. The committee provides the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services with recommendations for licensure sanctions and rule changes for the Nursing Facility Administrator Licensing Program.
Jun
27
2018
Prayers for migrant children and prayers for ourselves
Last Sunday we drove nearly 500 miles from Waco to Brownsville, Texas, to pray. When we got there, what we really wanted to do was sneak through the fence, over a wall and through a window of the repurposed, former Walmart used to house children forcibly separated from their migrant parents.

We wanted to sit on the floor and hold babies, toddlers and preschoolers in our laps and wait with them until their mamas could come. We wanted to hear the names and listen to the stories of every child inside that facility. We wanted to shake the guards at the entrance by the shoulders and remind them that these are babies – children – someone else’s very best, most precious gift. We wanted to ask how on earth they could just stand there.

But we knew we could not get inside the building, the largest of the facilities where children from migrant families seeking asylum in the U.S. have been housed. Instead, we stood vigil with a group of people committed to praying, to speaking the injustice aloud and to declaring that our allegiance is to God – and that separating children from their families in this way is not only untenable but decidedly unbiblical, un-Christian and un-American.

Read full story here.
Jun
25
2018
‘Not on our watch,’ Cooperative Baptists Say of Immigrant Family Separation
BROWNSVILLE, Texas—Cooperative Baptists gathered near the U.S.-Mexico border and declared “not on our watch” to political forces that use children’s freedom as a deterrent to parents who seek safety for their daughters and sons in the United States.

They prayed, read Scripture and sang in Brownsville, Texas, standing beside the largest immigrant detention center in the country, which houses more than 1,000 children and teenagers. News crews also descended on the location, where only hours earlier, a 15-year-old boy escaped.

Fellowship Southwest organized the vigil in partnership with eight other groups concerned for immigrants. They sought justice for more than 2,300 children separated from their parents by the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.



“It is sad we have to gather on a day like this, in a situation like this,” said Jon Singletary, dean of the Diana Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. In seeking safety and security for their children, “families have to make hard decisions, life-and-death decisions,” he noted. “I cannot imagine my children being used as a deterrent to decisions I might make.”

Read full story here.

(Picture from Facebook.)
Jun
25
2018
Baylor expert identifies signs of elder abuse
WACO—About 5 million older adults in the United States are abused, neglected or exploited each year, according to the Administration for Community Living, and a Baylor University gerontology expert wants people to know how to identify elder abuse.

Family members, hospital staff and law enforcement submit most reports of abuse, said James Ellor, professor in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.

But churches and other organizations also should be diligent, he said, noting clergy are considered mandatory reporters in many states.

Read full article here.
Jun
25
2018
Cooperative Baptists trek to border for prayer, advocacy outside migrant child care center
A Cooperative Baptist Fellowship subsidiary organized a weekend vigil outside a former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, re-purposed as the country’s largest migrant child care center to pray for children separated from their families while seeking asylum in the United States.



Jon Singletary, dean of the Diana Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University, said he has a hard time imagining what it must be like for migrant families facing life and death decisions on behalf of their children.

“I cannot imagine my children being used as a deterrent for decisions that I have made,” Singletary said. “I cannot imagine standing by as your children are being used as a deterrent for choices that you make. I can’t imagine allowing that to happen and I can’t imagine allowing it to happen to the children of our neighbors.”

“So we gather today hoping that we find a way in our nation for that to happen no more,” Singletary said. “We hope we are learning lessons of mercy and lessons of justice. We hope that we find new ways forward for our families, for our children. We are all in this together.”

Read full article here.

(Picture from Facebook.)
Jun
23
2018
#VeryBiblical: a response to Jeff Sessions
Even as someone ordained as a Christian minister, I must admit that I don’t read my Bible all that often. I’m out of the habit. I was one of those kids who grew up memorizing scripture. I barely remember many of those verses now. I know I’m not the only one.

While most of us hardly know what is really biblical most days, I was struck by the Twitter hashtag that rose to popularity last weekend: #biblical.

On June 14, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the press, “It is very biblical to enforce the law.” The Twitterverse soon exploded with examples of other things that are biblical – and that our lawmakers might want to consider.

Sanders made her remark in defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who had said, “If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”

With those words, it is clear to me that Sessions is using evil to deter mothers migrating to the U.S. with their children. He is using the law to do harm to our neighbors.

“Illegal entry into the United States is a crime, as it should be,” he added a few days later. “Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

That is one view. But #biblical tweets in response to Sessions have quoted other passages such as these:

- Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17).

- You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things (Romans 2:1).

- Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).

- This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other’ (Zechariah 7:9–10).

Also in Romans 13 are these verses Sessions failed to cite:

- Whatever other command there may be, they are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (verses 9b-10).

The law of the land, as it stands today and is now being interpreted and applied, results in tearing children apart from their parents. That is anything but loving. It is thoroughly harmful. And it is absolutely unbiblical.

A #biblical response must be love. In order to achieve such a response we must act on that love and let our elected leaders know that people of faith will no longer support a misreading of scripture and, more importantly, we will no longer stand by while our government destroys families.

Regardless of how you vote, of which political party you support, or your views on the president, let us join together as people of faith to urge Congress to support the “Keep Families Together Act, S. 3036.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
Jun
19
2018
Lead Story on KWTX: GSSW Dean Contacts Churches about Housing Children
WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Dean of Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Jon Singletary, has reached out to several area churches about the possibility of housing the children of illegal immigrants who have been separated from their parents.

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in April that the administration was implementing a “zero tolerance” policy under a federal law that prohibits both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry into the United States by an alien, more than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents, who are jailed pending criminal prosecutions.

"As global citizens here in Waco, we have to not just be attuned to what's happening in our own community, but we have to take a look around the state, what's happening at the border and be prepared to offer a compassionate response," Singletary said Tuesday.

Read full article here.
Jun
7
2018
Are Birth Mothers Satisfied with Their Decisions to Place Children for Adoption?
WACO, Texas (June 6, 2018) – New research findings from Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work could change the adoption landscape for birth mothers struggling with the life-altering decision to place their children.

There is consensus among adoption researchers that for many birth mothers the experience of placing their children for adoption brings feelings of grief, loss, shame, guilt, remorse and isolation. Any level of satisfaction (or lack thereof) in such a decision varies. But how is that level of satisfaction – that feeling that the right decision was made – affected by time?

“Little is known about the interaction of these two variables,” said Elissa Madden, Ph.D., associate professor of social work at Baylor and lead author of the study, "The Relationship Between Time and Birth Mother Satisfaction with Relinquishment." Much of Madden’s research focuses on the birth mother experience in the adoption process – an area, she said, has historically been underrepresented.

“This article seeks to address a clear void in the literature,” she said, “and we hope it has some implications for future practices and adoption policies.”

Read full article here.
May
23
2018
The Good Neighbear Podcast featuring GSSW Lecturer Kerri Fisher
#diversity #antiopressivepractices #culturalhumility #socialwork Check out the latest episode of The Good Neighbear Podcast featuring #gssw Lecturer Kerri Fisher having an important convo with host Josh Ritter. LISTEN HERE —> Kerri Fisher on The Good Neighbear Podcast
Apr
23
2018
GSSW Deans Discuss Enneagram and Faith on CXMH Podcast
[Dr. Oxhandler] sits down with Dr. Jon Singletary to talk about the Enneagram in part one of a two-week series. This week, they talk about how the Enneagram helps you learn about yourself including an overview of the Enneagram, what each number means, how they can impact our faith journey and self-awareness, and what to do once we recognize our Enneagram number.
Apr
23
2018
Where You Live Is More Influential Than Where You Worship When It Comes to Shaping Racial Attitudes
WACO, Texas (April 23, 2018) — Whites in multiracial congregations have more diverse friendship networks and are more comfortable with minorities — but that is more because of the impact of neighbors and friends of other races than due to congregations’ influence, a Baylor University study has found.

“Solving America’s racial problems may be hoping too much from religious congregations,” said Kevin D. Dougherty, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences and study co-author. “Where people live is more influential than where they worship in shaping racial attitudes.”

While a small but growing number of congregations are gathering attendees across racial lines and counting diversity as a central part of their mission, most Americans who attend worship do so mainly with those of their own racial or ethnic line. That is the case in nearly nine of 10 congregations, researchers said.

“The responsibility for moving toward racial integration still rests considerably with the majority group,” wrote authors Dougherty and Edward C. Polson, Ph.D., assistant professor in Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, in the article.
Apr
13
2018
Baylor Connections: Jim Ellor on Mental Health and Spiritualty of Older Adults
Dr. Jim Ellor is a professor in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, gerontologist and bi-vocational minister. In this episode of Baylor Connections, he shares expertise and insights on working and living with older adults, mental health, the spirituality of aging and more.
Mar
23
2018
50 influential Baylor women you should know
When Baylor was chartered in 1845, it was the first (or one of the first, depending on the source) coeducational college or university west of the Mississippi River — about 10 years before any public institution of higher learning would introduce mixed-gender learning, and a full 75 years before American women were guaranteed the right to vote.

Since that groundbreaking beginning, countless women have come through the halls of Baylor before going on to do amazing things.

For full article, click here
Mar
22
2018
GSSW Dean serves as keynote for CBF ChurchWorks
ChurchWorks, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s (CBF) annual discipleship/spiritual formation conference, recently brought ministers from all across the nation to Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. The focus was on “Congregational Wellbeing,” led by Dr. Jon Singletary, dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University.

Read the full article here.
Mar
22
2018
Voices: You are not your personality: Why the Enneagram matters
You are not your personality.

In “The problem with personality assessments,” Daniel Harris is right about that. Your personality is not who you truly are, but it is who you have become, whether you like it or not, and whether or not you know it.

The funny thing is, once you figure out your Enneagram number, you’ll never forget how it shapes you, and everyone else will see how those characteristics have shaped you on your faith journey.

Read the full article here.
Mar
12
2018
Despair is killing Americans. Here's how people of faith can help
SALT LAKE CITY — Steve Austin wasn’t supposed to be depressed.

He was about to celebrate his son’s first birthday. He had a fulfilling job as a youth pastor in a Southern Baptist church in rural Alabama. He was married to a woman he loved. He believed in a loving God who was personally involved in his life.

Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/2IkpWSn
Feb
22
2018
Powerful women compelled Baptists to confront clergy sexual abuse
BROWNWOOD—Baptists began to deal with clergy sexual abuse more significantly when a few women rose to powerful positions in denominational life, one of those women told a crowd at Howard Payne University.

Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, spoke on “Women’s Leadership, Global Mission and Course Correction” during the Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures at HPU.

“Can we redeem power with power?” she asked, describing how she worked to address issues of clergy sexual abuse alongside Diana Garland, dean of Baylor University’s School of Social Work; Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry; and Shauw Chinn Capps, immediate past moderator of CBF.

To access full article, click here
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