News

Aug
14
2019
GSSW student veteran finds success in college
At 72 Beaver Dam Road in Bellport, New York, about 70 miles from Manhattan, a modest home on a lush, tree-lined street is tucked somewhat anonymously into a residential area surrounded by industrial warehouses, paving companies, trucking lots, and construction supply facilities.

Crystal Brown, 36, was born in the Village of Patcogue on the Great South Bay of Long Island, 20 miles from that home, the second of five children, to parents, George, a custodian, and mother, Lucille, a homemaker.

And she remembers a moment on the front lawn of that home where she played with her siblings. Her cousin, Kim, was visiting. And she had news.

That memory – almost three decades ago – stayed with her throughout the years.

“In that moment, I remember wanting more,” she said. “Kim was letting the family know that she was going to law school, and it inspired me to set goals like that for myself.”

Read the full article here.
Jul
26
2019
Spiritual care and first responders: Why bother?
First responders do exactly what their name implies. They are the first to arrive on the scene of incidents as mild as a senior adult seeking assistance or as tragic as a violent death. They work days and nights separated from the comfort of their own homes, missing milestones within their own families and maintaining odd schedules to provide comfort to crying mothers, distraught fathers and lost children who pass in and out of their lives. It’s all part of just another day’s work. Why, then, is there so little effort being made to meet the needs of these individuals who are an integral part of our communities?


A recent survey conducted by the University of Phoenix reveals the current nature of mental health within the first responder community in the United States. As of April 2017, a reported “85 percent of first responders have experienced symptoms related to mental health issues”. Of this 85 percent, only 34 percent have received a formal mental health disorder diagnosis, which indicates a significantly smaller number, or one-third, of individuals who are seeking help for the symptoms they are experiencing.

To put this in perspective, of the estimated 2.8 million first responders in the U.S., only an approximate 400,000 of them are not experiencing symptoms related to mental health. There still are more than 2 million first responders facing mental health symptoms: 2 million first responders whose families are affected by their loved one’s work, 2 million first responders who deserve just as much concern as the people they serve every day.

Read the full article here.
Jul
18
2019
Why all congregational ministry should be trauma ministry
“Our church is a place where no questions are asked and we follow the pastor with our whole heart.”

“Our morning service is typically around an hour and a half and is filled with exuberant worship. We clap and lift our hands, sing aloud and offer sincere expressions of worship, including laying hands on you to pray over you.”

“We fill up quickly, so get here early! We keep the sanctuary lights dimmed, so it’s hard to see where the open seats are.”

Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Did any of these statements make your heart race a little faster, make your stomach a little queasy or just make you a little uncomfortable?

“Traumatic events can range from one-time physical traumas, such as a car wreck or an assault, to long-term poverty or abuse.”

These are examples of statements, situations and scripture verses printed in church bulletins, preached from the pulpit or published on a church website. While most likely well-intended, these and similar sentiments have something in common that may surprise many Christians and congregational leaders: they can be triggering and re-traumatizing, causing harm to persons who have experienced trauma.

Read the full story here.
Jun
13
2019
A month honoring foster parents is nice. But what they really need is paid leave.
By Alumna Kaley Eggers—

As Foster Care Awareness Month ticks along in May, I love scrolling through Instagram and finding images of families like mine, sharing their stories to bring foster care to light.

But I can’t help but think it’s not enough. Really, what foster families need are public policies that make it easier to say “yes” to a child, beginning with paid leave for new parents.

As a social worker and foster mom, I know the statistics well. More than 690,000 children spend time in foster care each year, with more entering the system than leaving it annually. Meanwhile, the number of foster families isn’t growing at the same rate. In many communities, including my own, there is a growing need for placements, meaning Child Protective Services often has trouble finding homes for children. As a result, kids’ entire lives are uprooted when they are taken into custody. Some are forced to move to new places and change schools because there aren’t open foster homes nearby. Others have to sleep in CPS offices, hotels or makeshift shelters until longer term accommodations can be made.

Read the full article here.
Jun
13
2019
Alum dreams of helping veterans with mental illness
KILLEEN, TX — A Temple veteran, who struggled in school, went off to push boundaries in his higher education.

Kino Hickey was working at the VA sterilizing medical equipment when he dreamed of a job where he could help people battling mental illnesses. But this plan would require him to pursue a degree.

Before working at the VA, 10 years ago, he was failing out of school and later dropped out. Now, he's older and chose to further his education. However, he knew that he would likely be in classrooms with much younger students.

He also has dyslexia, which would be an added challenge in the traditional classroom setting. It would be a tough road to fulfill his goals.

Hickey's wife inspired him to give education another try. He enrolled in Central Texas College where he doubled his former GPA with a 3.8. He continued his success at Texas A&M Central Texas before going on to get his master’s in social work from Baylor University.

See the full story here.
Jun
13
2019
Alum to become CBF Moderator-Elect at Birmingham General Assembly
DECATUR, Ga.—A Missouri senior pastor and young leader deeply invested in CBF life is the nominee to become the next Moderator-Elect for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship at the 2019 General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala.

The CBF Nominating Committee has selected Carol McEntyre to serve as Moderator-Elect in 2019-2020. McEntyre has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbia, Mo., since 2012. She previously was community minister at First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tenn. (2005-2012) and Christian education minister at Church of the Holy Comforter in Augusta, Ga. (2004-2005).

McEntyre is a graduate of George W. Truett Theological Seminary and the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University, where she earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work in 2003. While in seminary, McEntyre served as ministerial assistant at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, from 2001-2003. She was ordained in 2002 at Lake Shore Baptist.

A Tennessee native, McEntyre is a graduate of Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn., earning her bachelor of arts in human services and psychology. She also has a doctor of ministry from Drew University in Madison, N.J.

McEntyre has received numerous honors and awards that recognize her passion for congregational ministry and her commitment to Cooperative Baptist life. She received CBF’s Young Baptist Award in 2015 and Carson-Newman College’s Outstanding Young Alumna Award in 2010. McEntyre also completed the Center for Congregational Health’s Young Leader’s Program and is a graduate of the inaugural class of CBF Fellows (2012-2015).

She has served on the Leadership Team for Baptist Women in Ministry (2015-2018) and is currently a member of the CBF Governing Board.

Read full story here.
Jun
13
2019
Central Texas city hits 2 milestones with black female mayor: Alum Carolyn Lofton
MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) History was made in Falls County Tuesday night--twice.

Carolyn Lofton made history when she was sworn-in Tuesday night as the new Mayor for the City of Marlin. (Photo by Rissa Shaw)
The City of Marlin not only now has it's first female black Mayor, Carolyn Lofton is the first black person who has ever held the office, according to city officials.

It was made official during the swearing-in ceremony at Tuesday night's regularly scheduled council meeting where well over one-hundred supporters packed Marlin City Hall to celebrate the milestones for minorities.

According to 2018 U.S. census data, more than 41 percent of Marlin's nearly 6,000 people were black or African American.

"My goal is to unite the citizens of Marlin around issues that need to be corrected here in Marlin, work together as a team to get these things corrected and let's make Marlin a great place to live again," said Lofton.

See the full story here.
Jun
13
2019
Two Baylor professors receive 2019 Centennial Professor Awards
WACO, Texas (May 20, 2019) — Two Baylor University professors are equipped to conduct research they hope will result in two new books after being named 2019 Baylor Centennial Professors by the Centennial Faculty Development Review Committee.

Created by the Baylor Centennial Class of 1945, the award supports faculty development by providing a $5,000 grant for a project that will help professors contribute to Baylor’s academic growth. This year’s recipients are Laine Scales, Ph.D., professor and Master Teacher in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, and Sarah Gilbreath Ford, Ph.D., professor of English in the College of Arts & Sciences and director of the Beall Poetry Festival. Scales and Ford were selected from 15 applicants this year.

Centennial Professor projects can include international or domestic travel for study or research, the development of innovative teaching materials or other professional development activities.

“It’s an honor that the Class of 1945 looked ahead and determined we need to make opportunities for professors to do research that will impact the classroom,” Scales said. “The foresight people had to set aside money and look to the future is wonderful. I think the Centennial Award complements teaching and research together, and at this important time at Baylor as we strive toward becoming a ‘Research One’ university, we need as many opportunities as we can find to tie together research and teaching so that both move forward together, along with our Christian commitments.”

Scales will use the research funding to produce a biography of Jewell Legett Daniel, a Texas native, Baylor graduate and missionary to China from 1909-1926. Daniel served in Pingtu, where she operated a school for Chinese girls under the supervision of Lottie Moon, a Southern Baptist missionary who served nearly 40 years in China with the Foreign Mission Board. Scales will conduct her research in the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, Tennessee, and at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, which will provide access to Daniel’s records and letters she wrote to the Foreign Mission Board.

In 2016, Scales started a non-profit in Waco called Good Neighbor Settlement House, modeled after the experiences of Daniel and other Southern Baptist women.

Read full article here.
May
29
2019
Baylor School of Social Work receives grant to assess religion and spirituality in social work education
WACO, Texas (May 2019) — 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.

Read the full article here.
Apr
17
2019
Social Work Professor Gaynor Yancey Honored as Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year
Gaynor I. Yancey, D.S.W., professor of social work, Master Teacher and director of the Center for Church and Community Impact at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, was honored April 12 during the annual Academic Honors Convocation as the 2019 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year.

Click here to access the full article.
Apr
5
2019
Bill would criminalize clergy sexual abuse among adults
Concerned residents from throughout the nation and elected officials in Maine gathered in Augusta on March 29 to testify in favor of a bill that would criminalize clergy sexual abuse among adults.

The bill, LD 913: “An Act To Protect the Public from Clergy Sexual Abuse,” if passed, would make it illegal for clergy members use their positions of power to have sexual relations with adults.

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David Pooler of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, helped find the “perfect language” to execute the bill. Language pulls from legislation in Texas and Arkansas, two of the states where the clergy sexual abuse bills have been approved. Where the previous bill was thought to be too broad, the new language narrows down its scope.

Click here to read the full article.
Apr
5
2019
Research collaboration between GSSW faculty and alumna
Dr. Edward C. Polson and Kelsey Miller, MSW '17, have collaborated and published a research article entitled "exploring the social justice beliefs of Baptist Christians."

To access the full article, click here.
Apr
5
2019
School of social work strives to integrate faith in a unique way
One of the principles of a Baylor education is the integration of faith and academics according to the Baylor mission statement. The Baylor School of Social Work highlights this combination as one of its core values, and strives to provide its students with the tools to achieve an ethical, faith-based social work practice. The application of this, however, looks different for every student.

The School of Social Work’s website sites the integration of faith and academics as a unique characteristic of a social work education at Baylor.

Click here to read the full article.
Apr
5
2019
Survivors support bill to criminalize adult sexual abuse by clergy
Survivors of clergy sexual abuse and experts from across the country traveled to Maine March 29 to support legislation making it a crime for clergy members to abuse their positions of trust to have sexual relations with adults.

An Act To Protect the Public from Clergy Sexual Abuse, LD 913, would make it a crime punishable by five years’ imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine for a member of clergy in any religious denomination “in a position of trust or authority” over another person to cause that individual “to submit to or participate in [a] sexual act by exploiting the person’s emotional dependency.” Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have similar laws already on the books.

“Every state needs to criminalize clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse,” David Pooler, a professor of social work at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, testified before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in the Maine Legislature.

Click here to read the full article.
Apr
3
2019
Voices: Taking our hearts and looking them in the face
A character in Gaudy Night—a novel by Dorothy L. Sayers—heard the prayer of a well-meaning but incoherent curate and never forgot it: “Lord, teach us to take our hearts and look them in the face, however difficult it may be.”

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The words “take our hearts and look them in the face” call us to action. The example of Jesus, throughout his earthly ministry, was one of calling people—especially religious leaders—to look at their heart issues. I can think of many examples that would prompt us to “take our hearts and look them in the face.”

Click here to access the full article.
Mar
27
2019
Baylor professor and alumna publish article together
Dr. Clay Polson and GSSW alumna, Rachel Gillespie, collaborated to explore the impact of racial/ethnic diversity on the bridging activity of religious congregations. Click here to check out the full article.
Mar
27
2019
Sherman ISD addresses need for mental health counseling
Experts say 50 percent of mental health problems are established by age 14.

The Sherman Independent School District has added two new counselor positions to help its students. There is now a counselor of student support and a behavioral specialist for both the middle and high schools.

Click here to read the article and view the clip, featuring GSSW alumna, Amelia Vierstra.
Mar
22
2019
As Jesuits Report Abusers, Experts Doubt Completeness
In the midst of an abuse crisis within the Catholic Church, the five Jesuit provinces in the United States released lists in December and January of priests accused of child sexual abuse. Yet the incomplete nature of these lists has sparked even greater criticism from lawyers and advocates, including lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented over 2,000 survivors of clerical abuse.



“My research suggests that there aren’t that many people out there doing these single acts,” Pooler said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “This is a way of being, a way of exploiting vulnerabilities and misusing power.”

To access the full article, click here
Mar
20
2019
A Personal Journey into Social Work: A Podcast
Dr. Holly Oxhandler talks with Kelsey Moffatt, a Garland School of Social Work student (now alumna), about her story, why she thinks integrating faith into therapy is important, being real with God in hard times, and more.

Click here to listen to the podcast!
Mar
20
2019
Youth utilize life skills during Escape Room challenge
Methodist Children’s Home residents are enjoying a new “escape room” activity challenge at the MCH Boys Ranch designed with clues that reinforce MCH Life Skills in an entertaining way.

Maegan Molnar, home life manager at the Boys Ranch, and Sarah Pitman, social work graduate intern from Baylor University, have been working since January to convert the Fern Cone building at the Ranch into the intricate escape room game consisting of Western props, activities and riddles that youth must work together to solve.

To access the full article, click here
Mar
18
2019
Register Today for our Women's Empowerment Conference
Join our "Women Empowerment Series: Learning to Boldly Equip and Empower Women and Girls", hosted by the SERVE team at the Garland School of Social Work and sponsored by the Grant Me The Wisdom Foundation. CEUs are provided for conference attendance. We have several great guest speakers lined up, and our SERVE team members will be on a Q&A panel. Topics include: empowering women and girls in areas of mental health, leadership and mentorship, and congregations. Thursday evening, we will welcome keynote speaker Anna Coffey, Chief Executive Officer of The Women’s Home. Ms. Coffey has a background in social work, public health and law. She has served women in a wide range of roles from working with rural women in West Africa to helping women make smart decisions about health care.

RSVP HERE:
Conference registration for March 28-29.

The SERVE Project is a grant-funded, research-based project seeking to Support, Encourage, Respect, Value, and Empower women and girls: SERVE Project Website.
Mar
14
2019
GSSW MSW Program Ranks in Top 25% in Nation
WACO, Texas (March 12, 2019) – Baylor University graduate programs were among those nationally ranked in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings, released today.

The latest rankings in law, business, nursing and health disciplines, education, engineering, the sciences and social sciences and humanities are published online at www.usnews.com/grad.



Social Work graduate programs in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work moved up nine places to No. 59.
Mar
8
2019
Celebrate Women's History Month!
March is Women's History Month, and Baylor has several fun and informative events lined up for you! Check out our featured events, and be on the lookout as more are planned.
Mar
8
2019
Dr. Pooler Interviewed About Clergy Sexual Abuse
(RNS) — A “Safe Churches and Ministers” video features a woman recalling how, from the first day she worked as an interim youth minister, the senior pastor of a prestigious Baptist church began making inappropriate sexual advances.

“Is her story familiar?” asks a narrator after the woman describes too-long hugs, inappropriate conversations and an offer to share a hotel room at a denominational meeting.

Read full article here.
Mar
8
2019
GSSW Alumna Chosen as President of Texas Christian Community Development Network
The board elected Bethany Molinar Rivera, youth and families program director of Ciudad Nueva, as its new president.

The realignment at the network reflects natural changes and a desire to use the strengths of all of the people involved, said Molinar Rivera, a graduate of Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary and Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.

To access the full article, click here
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