Two Baylor Professors Receive 2019 Centennial Professor Awards

May 20, 2019

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-6275
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by Brooke Hill, student newswriter

WACO, Texas (May 20, 2019) — Two Baylor University professors are equipped to conduct research they hope will result in two new books after being named 2019 Baylor Centennial Professors by the Centennial Faculty Development Review Committee.
Created by the Baylor Centennial Class of 1945, the award supports faculty development by providing a $5,000 grant for a project that will help professors contribute to Baylor’s academic growth. This year’s recipients are Laine Scales, Ph.D., professor and Master Teacher in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, and Sarah Gilbreath Ford, Ph.D., professor of English in the College of Arts & Sciences and director of the Beall Poetry Festival. Scales and Ford were selected from 15 applicants this year.

Centennial Professor projects can include international or domestic travel for study or research, the development of innovative teaching materials or other professional development activities.

“It’s an honor that the Class of 1945 looked ahead and determined we need to make opportunities for professors to do research that will impact the classroom,” Scales said. “The foresight people had to set aside money and look to the future is wonderful. I think the Centennial Award complements teaching and research together, and at this important time at Baylor as we strive toward becoming a ‘Research One’ university, we need as many opportunities as we can find to tie together research and teaching so that both move forward together, along with our Christian commitments.”

Scales will use the research funding to produce a biography of Jewell Legett Daniel, a Texas native, Baylor graduate and missionary to China from 1909-1926. Daniel served in Pingtu, where she operated a school for Chinese girls under the supervision of Lottie Moon, a Southern Baptist missionary who served nearly 40 years in China with the Foreign Mission Board. Scales will conduct her research in the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, Tennessee, and at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, which will provide access to Daniel’s records and letters she wrote to the Foreign Mission Board.

In 2016, Scales started a non-profit in Waco called Good Neighbor Settlement House, modeled after the experiences of Daniel and other Southern Baptist women.

“Settlement houses were something that existed in Jewell’s day,” Scales said. “It was a place where neighbors could come together to do all kinds of things: worship together, classes for adults, immigrants could learn English, arts programs. Eventually the settlement houses went away, but they were a key part of social work history. We tried to revive that old tradition here in Waco. We have a board and work with volunteers. Many of the volunteers are social work students, Truett students, some of them are just people from the community, but they live on-site. That’s the idea behind the settlement, that you settle in the neighborhood where you’re going to live and work alongside neighbors. Jewell would’ve done similar work in Kentucky when she was learning to be a missionary.”

Ford will use her award to travel to the Eudora Welty Archive at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, Mississippi, to analyze and photocopy drafts of several of Welty’s short stories. She aims to show that Welty was not a follower of the Modernist move to experiment with narrative, but was, instead, an innovator.

“I teach a lot of courses in American literature, Southern literature, gothic literature, and in all of these, I incorporate the work of Eudora Welty,” Ford said. “I plan to teach a graduate course in the next couple of years on the work of Eudora Welty, so certainly my research about her writing process would be interesting and helpful to those students. In the spring, I hope to teach a short story course, and what I’m particularly looking at is Eudora Welty short stories, so I hope for my undergraduates that I’m able to bring the information, the drafts, the background I’ve gotten into that class, so they can see a writer’s process.”

Ford recently finished a book on gothic depictions of slavery and hopes to write a book about Welty following her research.

“I have spent most of my career writing about southern literature, and a lot of my individual articles are on Eudora Welty, but I’ve never had the chance to spend time in the archives, and I’ve not written a book on Eudora Welty,” Ford said. “I have time, I have the opportunity, and now, because of this award, I will get to go to the archives and look at the drafts and hopefully will have a book out of this.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work is home to one of the leading graduate social work programs in the nation with a research agenda focused on the integration of faith and practice. Upholding its mission of preparing social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership, the School offers a baccalaureate degree (B.S.W.); a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree available on the Waco or Houston campuses or online; three joint-degree options, M.S.W./M.B.A., M.S.W./M.Div. and M.S.W./M.T.S., through a partnership with Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business and George W. Truett Theological Seminary; and an online Ph.D. program. Visit to learn more.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments and seven academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit