News

Nov
26
2018
Dr. Dennis Myers Installed as Inaugural Holder of The Danny and Lenn Prince Chair in Social Work
Baylor University today announced the installation of Dennis R. Myers, Ph.D., as the inaugural holder of The Danny and Lenn Prince Chair in Social Work within the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. The installation was part of the Career Resiliency in Senior Living Leadership Symposium, a conference to provide support and education for licensed nursing home administrators to withstand job stress and pressures.

To access full story, click here.
Nov
26
2018
Rising Star faculty member honored as Gerontological Society of America fellow
Dr. Jocelyn McGee of the Garland School of Social Work (GSSW) at Baylor University was formally honored as a Gerontological Society of America fellow during the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting on November 16th, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Additionally, she shared her research on caregiving, positive psychology, spirituality, and health at the Meeting.

To read the full story, click here.
Oct
29
2018
Alumna doesn't allow cancer to derail her career in social work
Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2010, a key question Becky Ellison seeks to live by is: "If I had one more minute and I wanted to live it like God wanted me to live it, what would that look like?"

For Ellison, part of that answer involves those who lead two key ministries to hurting people across Texas -- Christian Women's Job Corps and Christian Men's Job Corps.

Ellison, who holds bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from Baylor University, has been involved in CWJC/CMJC ministries for 14 years. She began serving as a contract consultant with Woman's Missionary Union of Texas in 2008. Six years later -- and four years after her diagnosis -- she was invited to serve as the state WMU's full-time CWJC/CMJC strategist, consulting with 56 ministry sites throughout Texas.

To access full article, click here.
Oct
29
2018
Alumna incorporates importance of human-animal bond, nature into social work education
When Bretzlaff-Holstein, Baylor MSW, '06, talks to students about doing family assessments, she includes companion animals.

“I’m really kind-of talking to them about the human-animal bond and why that is important as social workers to pay attention to, to not minimize a client’s love for their dog,” said Bretzlaff-Holstein. “If you have a family who is wanting to put an older relative into a nursing home because they can no longer care for themselves, but they are resistant to that, part of the social worker’s assessment would be to find out what’s going on. Is it money, is it the particular place or is it because the place won’t allow the cat to come with?”

Bretzlaff-Holstein acknowledges the social work bachelor’s degree program at the college in Palos Heights focuses on training future generalist practitioners, rather than offering a specialty in humane education. But she has found ways to weave human and animal rights into to her lectures, as well as respect for the environment.

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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”.

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Oct
29
2018
Check out our online magazine, Community Connection
Did you know the GSSW has an online magazine called Community Connection? Click here to check it out!
Oct
29
2018
Grow Your Grit: 3 Ways to Help Students Build Resilience for Life’s Challenges
College and life present challenges, but people who approach life with grit and resiliency learn from their failures and become better through them.

Learn more about grit from Baylor professor Sarah Ritter in a recent edition of Baylor Family News by clicking here!
Oct
29
2018
GSSW Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Discusses Clergy Sexual Abuse on CXMH Podcast
In this important episode, Robert Vote and Dr. Holly Oxhandler talk with Dr. David Pooler, who has done extensive research talking with survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by faith leaders. Dr. Pooler talks us through the survivors’ experiences within their churches (largely bad), as well as those survivors’ suggestions for preventing abuse, being prepared to respond, helping the victims find healing, and helping the congregation find healing.

To access the podcast, click here.
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 well.

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
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