By Rebecca Flannery
Baylor’s School of Social Work is heading to Houston to expand its services and opportunities offered to students, becoming the first satellite campus from Baylor University to occupy Houston.
Dr. Diana Garland, dean of the School of Social Work, said the expansion will take effect next fall after the school acquires a space to hold classes.
“We’re talking with a church congregation about leasing space in their existing building,” Garland said. “We’re in the process of finalizing a contract with them.”
Garland said the expansion is in response to the school’s survey of the Houston area. In the survey, the school determined the need of aid in the area would be able to be provided by social workers in a field where about 700 positions are unfilled.
“Though we have wonderful internships in Central Texas, there is a greater diversity of internship possibilities in Houston,” she said.
They surveyed positions from clinical services, hospice, congregations and child welfare services and all settings where social workers practice, Garland said.
The program will be the first from the university to be housed in Houston.
“The teachers in Houston will include both residential faculty in Houston as well as our Waco-based faculty members who are planning to travel to Houston,” Garland said. “We want to have one faculty, one program, located in two places.”
The School of Social Work’s website says the school has agreements with over 200 agencies, including agencies in Central Texas, nationally, and internationally for internship opportunities for students. Students earning a bachelor’s in social work and a master’s in social work intern for agencies for an average of 240 hours per semester.
“We’ve been working on this program since the spring,” Garland said. “Since then we’ve been dreaming about what we can do to be a resource for the peoples and communities of Houston.”
Friendswood junior and social work major, Katie Smiley, said the expansion will make job opportunities more attainable after graduation.
“It’s going to be a cool opportunity to expand the school’s outreach to the community of Houston,” Smiley said. “It will help expand internship opportunities and help us learn in more tangible, hands-on ways.”
Dr. Garland said the school decided to choose Houston over other cities in Texas because of its diversity.
“Houston is a fast-growing global city with a diverse population of people from around the world,” Garland said. “We’re aiming to serve and expand our work there.”