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University of Illinois Springfield

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Department of Social Work University of Illinois Springfield



Kay McChesney

Kay McChesney Kay Young McChesney is originally from Los Angeles.  She has Bachelor’s degrees in psychology and music, Master’s degrees in counseling, marriage and family therapy, and social work, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Southern California.  She has been concerned with poverty, inequality and lack of social justice, particularly as experienced by African-Americans, since she first went to work in Watts as a teenager.  She incorporates a lot of African-American and African history into her teaching.  She is studying factors related to the retention and graduation of African-American university students.  Her current research is on the relationship between the university’s racial climate, racial microaggressions experienced by minority college students, student social support networks, and retention and graduation.  She also studies gender equality in Africa and has a recent paper on successful approaches to ending female genital cutting in Africa.  During the summer of 2013, she presented a paper at the International Council for Social Development meetings in Kampala, Uganda, and led a Global Studies course for Social Work students to do service learning in Uganda. She and her husband have five adopted children, including three from Ethiopia.  Her hobbies include hiking, choral conducting, and gardening with native plants.

Leadership lived


University of Illinois Springfield
One University Plaza
Springfield, Illinois 62703-5407



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