• School of Social Work renamed for outgoing dean Diana Garland

    Dr. Diana Garland

    [9/22/15 update: Dr. Garland passed away yesterday following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, particularly her husband, Dr. David Garland, and all those in the Baylor social work family. The Waco Tribune-Herald and Baylor President Ken Starr each wrote wonderful pieces honoring her legacy, and the School of Social Work is collecting tributes from all who knew or were impacted by Dr. Garland.]

    The names “Baylor social work” and “Diana Garland” have been virtually intertwined since Garland took leadership of the program in 2001. From now on, the names will be officially connected.

    Baylor’s School of Social Work is now the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, the university announced Friday night to a group of students, faculty/staff, alumni and friends gathered to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary. And there couldn’t be a more fitting name.

    Dr. Garland came to Baylor as a professor in 1997, when social work was still a degree track within the College of Arts & Sciences. Social work became its own department in 1999, and Garland was named chair two years later. When the School of Social Work was officially established in 2005, Garland was named dean.

    Over the past decade, the school has grown to include 20 full-time faculty members and almost 250 students, evenly split between graduate and undergraduate students. Baylor’s master’s degree program in social work was rated No. 60 in the nation by U.S. News in its most recent rankings, and this fall, a Houston-based location will open offering the master of social work degree.

    But more important than the accolades and achievements is the school’s identity — a vision developed largely from Garland’s leadership, focused on infusing social work with our Christian faith.

    [Hear Dr. Garland’s own words about Baylor social work’s identity and mission.]

    “Social work grew out of the church,” Garland told Baylor Magazine in 2011. “Our profession began with volunteer church women going into the slums during the turn of the 20th century. … My calling, as I’ve found it, is to help the church be the church, through my discipline of social work.”

    The school’s founding dean announced earlier this month that she would be stepping down from her position effective June 1 for health reasons. After a research sabbatical this fall, she hopes to return to the classroom next spring.

    “I have nothing but joy in stepping aside and watching what will happen in this next chapter; it’s going to be fun to watch,” Garland told the Waco Tribune-Herald“I hope that my name attached to this school will make people laugh, that once again, as we find throughout the Bible, God chooses flawed but willing characters and threw them to work . . . I find great comfort in that, that God doesn’t choose the most visionary and the wisest, but those that are willing. I have been so honored to work with this group of people.”

    Sic ’em, Dr. Garland!