Associate Professor, Cassandra Chaney, Receives Mentor of the Year Award


Dr. Cassandra Chaney, an associate professor in the School of Social Work (SSW) in the College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE), was named Mentor of the Year by the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, the largest gathering of minority PhD scholars in the country.

“This award is a visible acknowledgement of the personal commitment that I have given my students over the years,” Dr. Chaney said. “I always stress to my students the importance of giving to others, and this philosophy is the basis on which my courses include a service-learning component. When one mentors others, it means that they have consciously put the needs of others before their own. Bringing out the best in the others is the source of true happiness.”

Dr. Chaney said mentorship is a crucial component of family studies.

“In order for students to be their best selves, they must be mentored within and outside of the classroom,” she said. “Mentorship is important in any field of study, however it is uniquely important to Child and Family Studies (CFS) because our students complete two family-focused internships. Through this experience, our students are supervised by various professionals, which deepens their desire to help families be the best they can be and pass on the gift of mentoring to others.”

Dr. Chaney is a Black families’ scholar with broad interests in the formation, structure, and function of Black families. In particular, her research examines the narratives of single, dating, cohabiting, and married Blacks, as well as how religion and spirituality support these families, both historically and today.

Her scholarship is rooted in a strengths-based perspective and is devoted to emphasizing the various ways that Black families remain resilient in the face of these challenges. Her work has been published in EthnicitiesFamily RelationsInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in EducationInternational Journal of Religion and Society, Marriage & Family Review, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Journal of Family Issues, the Journal of African American Studies, Forum for Family and Consumer Issues, Negro Educational Review, the Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, Religion & Society, Religion, Mental Health, & Society, and The Western Journal of Black Studies.

“To be even nominated for this award was a surprise and great honor,” Dr. Chaney said. “With this honor, I remain committed to the work of mentoring current and future students. In addition, this award heightens national and international attention to my work, the influence of my work, Louisiana State University, as well as the College of Human Science & Education. ”

Dr. Chaney was recently featured in a story about the Obama family in The Undefeated, chosen for commentary because of her expertise and knowledge of African American family ideals.

The Institute on Teaching and Mentoring provides workshops, recruitment and networking opportunities to promote the continued importance of faculty diversity in the country’s universities. The Institute, a four-day conference, is sponsored by the Compact for Faculty Diversity.

About SSW
The LSU School of Social Work (SSW) aspires to be a leading graduate school of social work, a vibrant center of intellectual development, a leader in promoting and supporting diverse communities, and an advocate for an integrated and inclusive model of social work, all within a learning environment that supports best educational practices. The Child and Family Studies (CFS) undergraduate degree integrates theory, research, and practice to focus on child development and family dynamics.

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About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

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