2016 CHSE Faculty & Staff Awards Announced

Faculty Staff Awards group photo

From left to right: Dean Damon Andrew, Angela Webb, Judith Rhodes, Petra A. Robinson, Eugene Kennedy, Kristin Gansle, Lilly Allen, Denise Chiasson


The LSU College of Human Sciences & Education presented 2016’s Faculty and Staff Awards on Monday, January 11, 2016. These awards honor outstanding individuals dedicated to learning, scholarship, and community engagement.


Petra A. Robinson, School of Leadership & Human Resource Development Assistant Professor, was the recipient of the Advocate for Diversity award for her exceptional work that has brought about lasting impact on the importance of understanding diverse cultures at LSU and beyond.

As an educator, she has designed and taught new classes that focus on diversity, equity, and social justice across various learning environments in a global context. She has successfully maintained high standards of teaching and research while mentoring 15 doctoral students, the majority of which are students from underrepresented groups.

Thanks to her involvement, LSU is now a part of The Urban Education Collaborative, and Robinson currently serves as one of the key organizers for the annual International Conference on Urban Education, further demonstrating her commitment to building meaningful partnerships to advocate for diversity on the global level. 


The Early Career award went to Angela Webb, School of Education Assistant Professor of Science Education, for her exceptional efforts in STEM research, service and education within the first few years of her career.

Webb studies the preparation and early career development of science teachers. Specifically, she is interested in the development and identities of beginning science teachers during their induction into the teaching profession. She brings this lens of teacher development to the courses she teaches.

A committed educator, Webb has taught 23 courses since coming to LSU in 2011, and her desire to help students succeed as they prepare for careers as secondary mathematics and science teachers is evident. Her vast knowledge of the field has allowed for the development of a curriculum that exposes her students to thought-provoking lessons, offering them opportunities to employ critical-thinking and effective communication skills.


Judith Rhodes, Assistant Professor of Research in CHSE’s Office of Social Service Research and Development, received the Engagement award for her established collaboration with agencies and government institutions to mutually exchange knowledge and resources that address significant social issues in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

Currently, she is principal investigator on the U.S. DHHS, Office of Minority Health, Youth Empowerment Program grant (YEP Village), which is a violence prevention program for minority male youth, and she also is principal investigator on a U.S. Department of Education Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) for Disconnected Youth.

Her projects target issues confronting Louisiana’s most at-risk populations and she has implemented several programs within the Baton Rouge community that serve the needs of the youth living here and the political and economic forces working against their success. Through her research, grant-writing and engagement, she continues to play a vital role in developing lasting partnerships that aid our College in impacting disadvantaged members of our community. 


The recipient of the Distinguished Research award was Kristin Gansle, School of Education Special Education Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, for her groundbreaking research and scholarly productivity in the education field.

Gansle has been a faculty member at LSU since 1995. Her research focuses on value added assessment of teacher programs along with effective instruction and professional development. Through careful, methodical research, she examines the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs for new educators.

Her findings show a critical link between teacher effectiveness and student learning. These noteworthy results provide the foundation for future research and education reform. Kristin’s research appears in a variety of scholarly journals, including the Journal of School Psychology and the Journal of Behavioral Education. Her colleagues and other research professionals frequently cite her work.


The Distinguished Teaching award was presented to Eugene Kennedy, School of Education Associate Professor, for his superior teaching and related activities. Kennedy has been at LSU since 1990.

Kennedy impacts students and faculty alike with his leadership, patience and counsel. He continuously works to connect the subject matter of his courses to education and engage his students at every level, and he regularly gives advice to new professors on the joys and challenges of teaching and mentoring.

One example of his passion and commitment to teaching is his Educational Statistics class. For a subject that is known to be quite intimidating, he demystifies the principles of statistics in a way that makes his students feel confident, proficient, and prepared to take on their own study.

His talents and expertise go beyond the classroom. He is a member of the Kenilworth Science and Technology School Board and collaborated with the superintendent on a nationally recognized book titled, A Practice-based Model of STEM Teaching. The book focuses on implementing relevant teaching methods to engage students in STEM studies. 


Lilly Allen received the Outstanding Faculty Service award for her exceptional service to her profession, as well as the School of Social Work, the College, and the University.

For more than 13 years, Allen has served the School of Social Work in a variety of ways. One of her greatest contributions has been her work with the development and ongoing operation of the Life Course and Aging Center, a program she helped implement at LSU in 2001. Beyond working to ensure the Center’s growth and success as a recognized program, she has mentored many young professionals and early career faculty within the Center.

Her service extends beyond the country as well. In October, she presented at the Top Executive Conference in Fiji. Her participation in the conference allowed her to act as an ambassador for LSU to representatives from the University of The South Pacific Faculty of Business and Economics and the President of Fiji.

Her dedication to community, the College, and the University is evident through her willingness to take on countless leadership roles across campus and the globe. Her tireless service continues to inspire those around her to go the extra mile.


Denise Chiasson received the Outstanding Staff Service award for her proven record of exceptional service to the School of Social Work, the College, and the University.

Chiasson currently serves as the Associate Director and Director of Student Services for the School of Social Work, a role she has served in since 1996.

Beyond handling the day-to-day tasks of student matters and graduation details, she was a driving force in the expansion of the School of Social Work’s online master’s program from part time to full time, as well as nationwide.

Furthermore, Chiasson’s vision and innovative problem solving skills led to the development of an undergraduate curriculum for a bachelor of social work degree, which was recently approved by the LA Board of Regents. She strives to provide quality service for the students she assists, and her commitment to the College continues to move the School of Social Work forward.

Her service extends beyond the School of Social Work and CHSE. She was asked to provide insight on several university wide issues and has served a full term on LSU’s Staff Senate. She was one of 50 leaders selected to serve as a Leadership Louisiana Member of the Council for a Better Louisiana.

Please join us in celebrating these colleagues’ achievements. Congratulations from the College of Human Sciences & Education!


At a glance:

Petra A. Robinson | Advocate for Diversity 

Angela Webb | Early Career

Judith Rhodes | Engagement

Kristin Gansle | Distinguished Research 

Eugene Kennedy | Distinguished Teaching 

Lilly Allen | Outstanding Faculty Service

Denise Chiasson | Outstanding Staff Service