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Dr. Suk-hee Kim National Honored with a Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Education Award

Dr. Suk-hee Kim National Honored with a Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Education Award


Nov. 8, 2021 —  Northern Kentucky University’s Dr. Suk-hee Kim will be honored by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) with its Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Education Award as one of the significant recognitions at the national level. Dr. Kim, an associate professor of Social Work, will be honored at the CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting Nov. 4-7.

The prestigious award recognizes a social work educator’s exemplary achievements within the last 10 years in at least two of the three areas: research and scholarship, pedagogy and curriculum development, and organizational leadership. Dr. Kim is a former site coordinator for the Public Child Welfare Certificate program in NKU’s College of Health and Human Services School of Social Work. She is also a faculty fellow of the Institute for Health Innovation and a representative for NKU at the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

“To receive this unanimous recognition from the CSWE Board of Directors is a great honor because the council supports quality social work education, provides opportunities for leadership, and plays a central role in achieving the profession’s goals of social and economic justice. The Council on Social Work Education is the national association representing social work education as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States and its territories,” said Dr. Kim. “It’s so fulfilling to educate the next generation of social workers to follow their calling. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my passion with our students.”

Dr. Kim was also recently appointed to a three-year term on CSWE’s Commission on Research at the national level. The Commission provides leadership in establishing key research priorities for improving social work education, in promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning within social work education, as well as in specifically promoting quality in research curricula across methods and paradigms in the Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work and in doctoral programs.

Not only a proactive leader in gerontological social work research, but also in the opioid epidemic in the social work education, Dr. Kim brought her expertise to NKU by developing the school’s first ever gerontology curriculum. She and her colleagues also guided the creation of the university’s gerontology micro-credentials: (1) Gerontology: Dynamics of Aging; (2) Aging & Society; and (3) Social Entrepreneurship. [ShK1] Dr. Kim is an Age-Friendly University Initiative and Coalition founding member. She was actively involved in helping her institution earn the Age-Friendly University designation[ShK2]  in 2020, making NKU the first university in the region to join the international effort to increase accessibility and support services for students of all ages. Dr. Kim and her colleagues are currently building a coalition. [ShK3] Her initiative, Rising Hope for Aging, enlists social work students to work at a public housing community providing critical assistance for its low-income senior population. Dr. Kim’s innovation in elevating the field of gerontology and responding to the needs of older adults has earned her the prestigious CSWE Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Education Award.

After her involvement of federal grant funded studies from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in September, Dr. Kim received the National Institutes of Health Federal Grant Subaward through the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The HEALing (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) Communities Study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, and is in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Dr. Kim is currently working with the University of Cincinnati Criminal Justice Intervention Design Team, providing expertise in the implementation of evidence-based practices in criminal justice settings, and is serving as the County Lead in Guernsey County in Ohio over the study period.

She has received numerous accolades for her teaching, research, and service contributions, including NKU’s 2021 Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Award, NKU’s 2020 Inclusive Excellence Faculty Leadership Award, CSWE’s 2019 Commission for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice Community Partnership Action Inaugural Award (focused on opioid addiction), the Korean American Social Work Educators Association’s 2020 Middle Career Achievement Award, and CSWE’s 2020 Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education Community Impact Award at the national level. 

In October, Dr. Kim was honored with the Outstanding Career in the Field of Social Work Award from her alma mater, Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW). This award acknowledges and honors a BUSSW graduate who, throughout her/his career (minimum twenty years), has consistently demonstrated exceptional contributions to the profession and the community-at-large with examples Dr. Kim’s contributions throughout her/his career in any or all aspects of social work practice including advocacy; clinical practice with individuals, families, and/or groups; education; community organization; administration; program development; research; public policy; and social planning.

Dr. Kim was a doctoral fellow in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She earned her joint Ph.D. in social work from the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville, an M.S.W. from Boston University with a clinical social work emphasis, and a B.A. in social welfare from Han-il University and Presbyterian Theological Seminary in South Korea.

For more information on NKU’s School of Social Work, visit the university’s social work webpage.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit