WACO—Baylor University appointed Jon Singletary dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, effective June 1.
Singletary, who has been serving as the school’s interim dean since June 2015, succeeds its inaugural dean and namesake, who died in September following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
The committee appointed to recommend the dean unanimously nominated Singletary after “an extensive, painstaking national search,” Interim Provost Todd Still said.
Singletary is “a gifted teacher, insightful researcher and skilled administrator” who “will lead the School of Social Work in ways that will both honor and extend the noble and notable legacy of Dr. Diana R. Garland,” Still said.
“Dean Singletary’s energy, creativity and ability will redound to the school’s and the university’s great good,” he added.
In addition to his role as interim dean of the School of Social Work, Singletary also served the school as associate dean for graduate studies, associate dean for baccalaureate studies, director of the Baylor Center for Family and Community Ministries, professor and associate professor. He holds the Diana R. Garland Endowed Chair in Child and Family Studies.
“It is an honor to continue the legacy of our founding dean, namesake, and my mentor, Diana Garland, while also partnering with our faculty in a new way as we prepare social workers to care for others in a hurting world,” Singletary said. “We will continue to be known for our commitment to the ethical integration of faith and social work practice, and are already looking at new ways to incorporate the same sense of calling in our research efforts.”
The Garland School of Social Work is engaging in research and equipping students in efforts to promote mental health, strengthen families and build communities, Singletary said.
“To this end, the profession of social work is growing by leaps and bounds, and our commitment to matters of faith and spirituality are essential in the care families and individuals need and demand,” he said.
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Singletary earned his bachelor of arts degree in speech communications from Baylor in 1993; master of divinity from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in 1999; master of social work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999; and doctor of philosophy from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003.
His research interests include strengthening congregational community ministries, community development advocacy and social justice. He has published numerous articles and studies in those areas.
During his tenure as an administrator and professor in the School of Social Work, Singletary has collaborated with faculty and staff to develop new structures for the future of the school, with a focus on strengthening graduate programs, expanding scholarly capacity and organizing the structure of leadership to achieve goals in support of Baylor’s strategic vision.
He has focused on increasing endowed scholarships for social work students in Waco and the new Houston master of social work campus, as well as endowed faculty positions in Waco and Houston.
He has worked to strengthen faculty research initiatives to promote new cross-disciplinary team members and externally funded graduate students, including projects in gerontology, trauma and mental health, congregations and global mission leadership.