By the Baptist Standard
Diana Garland, inaugural dean of Baylor University’s School of Social Work, will step down from her administrative post due to health reasons effective June 1.
Provost David Garland has named Jon Singletary interim dean. Baylor plans to initiate a national search in the fall for a new dean.
“Diana Garland has done an amazing job leading the School of Social Work,” said Singletary, who holds the Diana R. Garland Endowed Chair of Child and Family Studies and currently serves as associate dean of graduate studies in the School of Social Work.
“She is beloved by our students and alumni and has earned the trust and respect of the faculty and administration. While I am most certainly honored and humbled at this interim opportunity, I know that no one can adequately step in to fill the shoes of Diana Garland.
“My focus will be on continuing the good work she has done leading the School of Social Work and keeping us moving forward as effectively and energetically as I can during this period of transition.”
Garland will take a research sabbatical in the fall before returning to the faculty for the spring 2016 semester.
‘Baylor became my community’
“I came here as a stranger, neither a Texan nor a Baylor alumna, and I found glad welcome,” she said. “Baylor University became my community of colleagues and friends who have encouraged me to explore with them what a school of social work in a Christian university could contribute to scholarship and in preparation of leaders for the church and for the world.
“I leave the role of dean with great joy, because I believe that what we have done together, we have been able to do only because God was at work in our midst, and that work will continue.”
Baylor President Ken Starr praised Garland for her long service to the university and its School of Social Work.
“Under her leadership, social work at Baylor has grown from a strong department to an independent school whose impact is evident not just on campus or in our community, but in the study, discipline and practice of Christian social work nationally,” Starr said.
Baylor began its social work program in 1969 within the department of sociology, anthropology, archeology, gerontology and social work.
With a grant from the Lilly Endowment, the Baylor Center for Family and Community Ministries was established in 1998 with Garland as director. Baylor launched its master of social work degree program that same year.
In 1999, the social work department was created in the College of Arts and Sciences. Garland became chair of the department in 2001.
In 2005, it became the School of Social Work with Garland as its inaugural dean.
School grew from five professors to 20
During Garland’s tenure as dean, the Baylor School of Social Work has grown from five full-time professors and lecturers to a full-time faculty of 20. Graduate student enrollment in the program has increased to 120 and undergraduate enrollment has grown to 120 students.
Garland earned her undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees all from the University of Louisville. She joined the Baylor faculty in 1997, after serving as professor of Christian family ministry and social work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville for 17 years. She also served as dean of the Carver School of Church Social Work and director of the Center for Family Ministries. Prior to teaching, she was administrative director of a pastoral counseling center.
She is author, co-author or editor of 21 books and more than 106 academic articles. She has been the editor of the Journal of Family and Community Ministries since 1993.
Garland served as a board member of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work from 2009 to 2014 and councilor for the Council on Social Work Education from 2003 to 2013. She served multiple terms as president of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work.
Since coming to Baylor in 1997, Garland has raised more than $7.4 million in research and program grants, and the School of Social Work has established an endowment of $14.5 million.
In December 2010, the Baylor School of Social Work tripled its teaching and lab space when it moved into renovated space in downtown Waco.
Garland will be honored at a “Family Dinner” event April 24 at the Baylor Club, located in McLane Stadium. The School of Social Work will also celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Based on reporting by Tonya Lewis of Baylor University.