Baylor School of Social Work moves downtown

March 14, 2011

Baylor University's School of Social Work moved from campus to its new home in downtown Waco over Christmas break, placing the School in the heart of the community it serves.

The School of Social Work relocated from its space in the Speight Avenue Parking Garage to the former Wells Fargo Bank building at 811 Washington Ave. Faculty and staff were ready as students returned for classes in January.

Baylor is leasing the 33,000-square-foot, three-story building, which nearly triples the School's 11,700 square feet in the Speight facility. For the first time in the school's five-year history, social work faculty will be able to office and teach classes in the same building. The new facility also will have meeting spaces available to the community.

Downtown Waco will feel the effects of the move, as nearly 300 faculty, staff and students will teach, work and take classes in the school's new location. To make it easier for graduate and undergraduate students to travel between the main and downtown campuses, the university expanded the DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle) route to include the Washington Avenue location.

In addition to faculty and staff offices, the new space includes:

  • 12 classroom/seminar rooms;
  • four practice labs;
  • two recording labs;
  • a computer lab (20 stations);
  • a 4,300-square-foot multipurpose space; and
  • a student lounge.

Dr. Diana Garland, dean of the School of Social Work, said the school "already collaborates with more than 100 nonprofit social service agencies in our community," providing social work students with field internships that amount to "more than 68,000 hours of free professional services annually to Central Texans."

In addition, more than 25 professionals from Waco bring together community service and classroom learning by teaching part-time in Baylor Social Work programs.

Next fall, the School of Social Work will begin its first Ph.D. program. The innovative "hybrid" program, which includes both on-campus and distance coursework using university-sponsored technology, will focus on preparing professional social workers as leading researchers and educators in the areas of inter-generational relations (child and family studies and aging), the ethical integration of religious faith and social work theory and practice, and social work in congregations and religiously-affiliated organizations.

"As school dean, I'm so pleased Baylor has taken this initiative," Garland wrote in a Dec. 12 Waco Tribune-Herald guest column. "I believe our relocation is another step that Baylor and Waco have taken to collaborate for the good of our community."