Meet Baylor’s nationally recognized expert on how churches address societal issues
Baylor’s focus on offering a distinctly Christian educational environment includes cultivating thought leaders who can help congregations answer the call of societal challenges. Dr. Stephanie Boddie, an assistant professor of church and community ministries at Baylor, is one of those leading the way.
Boddie is known nationally for her research on congregation-based social services and trends in faith-based initiatives. Over the years, much of that research has been through the lens of the black church, with a focus on the social and entrepreneurial approaches these institutions have used to address disparities in wealth, health and food insecurity in their communities.
Before coming to Baylor, Boddie was an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis and also served as a fellow at both the Penn and Carnegie Mellon. At BU, she holds faculty appointments across three different areas, teaching in the Garland School of Social Work, Truett Seminary and the School of Education, and was selected to the 2017-18 class of Baylor’s Rising Stars Fellowship program.
Boddie has co-authored several books and edited volumes, including The Newer Deal: Social Work and Religion in Partnership; The Invisible Caring Hand: American Congregations and the Provision of Welfare; The Other Philadelphia Story: How Local Congregations Support Quality of Life in Urban America; and Faith-Based Social Services: Measures, Assessments, and Effectiveness. She has also co-produced four short films.
Her research at Baylor includes partnering with Ana O’Quin, an undergraduate student in the School of Social Work, to be recognized as one of three nationwide recipients of the 2019 Hatfield Student-Faculty Research Prize. The study — “The Hidden Epidemic of Teen Food Insecurity” — focused on Waco teenagers’ access to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that offers nutrition assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families.
In 2019, Boddie led a group of Baylor graduate students from the School of Ed, Truett and the School of Engineering and Computer Science to build a greenhouse and expand the outdoor learning environment at Connally Elementary School in Waco. Those efforts were inspired by Boddie’s previous work with faith leaders and schools in Pittsburgh. The Baylor course, “Education from a Gardener’s Perspective,” taught graduate education and seminary students in settings that helped them re-imagine the garden and translate these insights into a new vision for education.
Sic ’em, Dr. Boddie!