Newsbriefs, Spring 2010

March 23, 2010

Baylor summit aims to end hunger in Texas

More than 250 representatives from advocacy groups, social service providers and federal, state and local governments attended "Texas at the Table," a hunger summit dedicated to finding ways to eradicate hunger across the state. The November event was hosted by the Texas Hunger Initiative, a partnership between Texas Baptists and Baylor's School of Social Work.

The USDA estimates that 96 billion pounds of food are wasted annually in the United States, and food insecurity costs the government more than $9 billion a year, in part because of lowered productivity and illness related to hunger, according to a study by the University Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University.

Crucial to success is organizing communities, education and changing approaches to find efficient ways to distribute food, said Jeremy Everett, MDiv '01, director of the Texas Hunger Initiative. The first priority will be to increase the number of children in feeding programs in summer 2010, Everett said. Texas has the nation's highest rate of "food insecurity"--not knowing where the next meal will come from--among children. That's an estimated 22 percent of those younger than age 18.

Baylor University Campus Kitchen celebrates 1st anniversary

Since celebrating its grand opening Jan. 19, 2009, on MLK Day of Service, Baylor University Campus Kitchen student volunteers have rescued 3,030 pounds of food, supplying those in need with 4,000 meals, and provided 2,382 hours of volunteer service.

Baylor's resourceful anti-hunger program--the first and only Campus Kitchen at a Texas university, and one of just 20 nationwide--allows students to recover unserved food from university dining halls, turn these donations into nourishing meals, and deliver those meals to the people in the Waco area who need it most. The Campus Kitchen gives students an opportunity to develop leadership skills and serve others, while building relationships with those in poverty throughout the community.

School psychology program receives national approval

Baylor University's school psychology program has received national approval from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), one of the specialized professional associations of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) that conducts national program reviews.

"This is a wonderful accomplishment for the school psychology program," said Dr. Eric L. Robinson, interim chair of the department of educational psychology in Baylor's School of Education. "Getting nationally recognized by NASP is a significant milestone for our program." 

The focus of Baylor's school psychology program program is on psychological and educational factors that might prevent students from making the most of their educational experience. NASP recognition of the program is an important indicator of quality graduate education in school psychology, comprehensive content, and extensive and properly supervised field experiences and internships, as judged by trained national reviewers.

Top scoring CPA

Nikki Laing, BBA '06, a Baylor Law School student, was recognized as one of the Top 10 highest scorers in Texas on the CPA exam during swearing-in ceremonies in Austin, where newly licensed CPAs are honored.

Fred R. Norton Jr., BBA '80, JD '83, Baylor Law alumnus and partner at the law firm Norton and Wood, LLP, where Laing works part-time, said, "Never have I been associated with someone who is so committed to continuing improvement--improvement of self and improvement of business processes. She is driven, though in a healthy sense, to always be better, whether it means being a better student, a better professional, a better businesswoman or a better mom. Anyone who knows Nikki knows that she does it all. She has been an inspiration to us. Baylor Law School will be proud to number her among its graduates, and we will be even happier to have her as a member of our firm."

Social Work fills endowed positions

The School of Social Work at Baylor University filled its two inaugural endowed positions, established in August 2009. Dr. Dennis Myers, BA '68, was named the Dorothy Barfield Kronzer Professor in Family Studies, and Dr. Jon Singletary, BA '93, was named the Diana R. Garland Chair in Children and Family Studies.

"Our search committee advertised nationally and we received an excellent pool of applicants, but we came to the conclusion that none was as qualified as two of our own faculty," said Dr. Diana Garland, dean of the School of Social Work.

Garland said she appreciates the opportunity these two appointments will provide for adding new scholarship and knowledge to the social work profession, especially in the ways it intersects with the church and faith-based organizations.

"There is a real need in our profession to provide relevant research and knowledge that addresses the interface of faith and practice to pave the way for practitioners who feel called to address client needs holistically," she said. "Baylor School of Social Work is uniquely qualified to make that contribution."

Business professor earns lifetime achievement award

The United States Association for Small Business and Entreprenuership (USASBE) honored Dr. Ray Bagby, professor in Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, with the Max S. Wortman, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship at the January 2010 USASBE meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

"His pioneering work in entrepreneurship education and research epitomizes the principles of the award," said the chair of the awards committee, Dr. Jeffrey Alves.

According to the Web site, the USASBE presents this award "in recognition of a lifetime in entrepreneurial achievement that encompasses the ideals of entrepreneurial activity extending to both those who have pursued a lifetime of successful venture creation as well as those whose life's pursuits supported and advocated entrepreneurial ideals."