By Stephanie Reyes, Staff Writer
Baylor’s School of Social Work is now offering a Master of Social Work program in downtown Houston. This new location is uniquely structured to serve those who seek the MSW degree, but for whom relocation to Waco is not the best option.
Dr. Jon Singletary, interim dean and Diana Endowed Professor in Child/Family Services, said Houston is an exciting location with many opportunities in one of the most diverse cities in the country.
“In every setting there’s just so many opportunities that make Houston attractive to students and because there are more internship opportunities there are more job opportunities,” Singletary said. “This is just a great way to get the door open to a future job for students who would be interested in living in Houston.”
The Houston location welcomed their first two cohorts, which consisted of a total of 18 people. Students who participate in the program will have classes on site at South Main Baptist Church in downtown Houston and will participate in a combination of in-person courses and courses taught in a live virtual classroom. These virtual classrooms use high-definition videoconferencing to complete the 60-credit-hour curriculum.
“Our space that we’re using for classrooms is actually in one of the churches there and several of the churches are such big Baylor homes that.” Singletary said. “They’re really excited about Baylor coming to Houston.”
In addition to taking classes, students who participate in the program also have to participate in internships during their two years in can intern in areas such as Dallas, Austin, Houston, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Africa, South East Asia and Central America.
Singletary said students participate in internships in places such as hospitals, schools, adult living facilities and mental health treatment centers, among others.
“We have internships all over Central Texas but we need more internship placements,” Singletary said. “So it makes sense for us to think about spreading and we talked about Dallas and Austin but Houston was just a natural fit in so many ways.”
Singletary said there are various reasons for prospective students to attend the master of social work program located in Houston, one of which is the integration of faith and practice.
“I believe students should attend a Baylor social work program because of the unique attention we give to students and that’s true both in Waco and in Houston,” Singletary said. “[We] focus on the small classes and we really get to know the faculty, we really focus on the connection between scholarship learning, how to be the highest quality professional and learning the practical skills.”
Christen Argueta, lecturer and extension program manager of the Houston Social Work location, said being the program manager has not only been exciting but it has also been a breath of fresh air and new perspective.
“We’re seeing things within the Houston community that we don’t see in the Waco community,” Argueta said. “We’re being able to touch populations and impact lives that we haven’t had the opportunity to impact in Waco.”
Argueta said she hopes for continued growth and interest in the Houston community.
“We see the students lining up to come and be a part of this program and we see community members that are excited about having this program within Houston,” Argueta said. “What we’re really hoping is to bring those two together, to gather more excitement in people who are knowledgeable about the fact that were here and to see students wanting to make an impact in the areas they didn’t know they could make an impact in before.”