• Jan 29 2024

Conner Recognized by Society for Social Work and Research

Headshot of Laneshia Conner, PhD, a Black woman in her 30s with long straight hair; she's smiling at the camera wearing salmon/blue/gray striped sweater and a blue turtle neck. In the blurred background is a maroon wall with large portraits.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 10, 2024) — Dr. Laneshia R. Conner, an assistant professor at the UK College of Social Work and former CCTS DREAM Scholar, was recently acknowledged for her exceptional research achievements by the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR).

Conner was the lead author for the scholarly article “Black Experiences Matter: Reflections on Black Faculty Interactions with Black Administrators,” alongside Yarneccia Dyson from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, V. Nikki Jones from Spalding University, and Vanessa Drew Branch from Elon University. This collaborative work was featured in the Journal of Social Work Education in 2022.

The SSWR selected the article for honorable mention among papers submitted for the 2024 Excellence in Research Award. The society typically selects two articles for recognition each year and awards research that “advances knowledge with direct applications to practice, policy, and the resolution of social issues.”

Recognizing the limited research on the interactions between Black faculty and Black administrators, the research explores the experiences of Black social work faculty supervised by Black administrators using mixed methods and a phenomenological approach.

Findings from 55 participants reveal more autonomy, positive interactions, and support from administrators. Some respondents noted more affective perceptions in negative experiences. The study suggests future research should include more details on administrators and the context of respondents and seek views of Black administrators on their roles. “I hope that our work inspires the academy broadly, and social work education,” Conner shared. “I envision this work making long-term impacts on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of Black social work professionals in the academy at all levels.”

The authors indicated that future research should collect additional data, as well as information from Black administrators and how they view their roles working with Black faculty. “We will continue to reach out to social work programs to further development this line of inquiry and share the findings publicly” they shared.

The research team was recognized at the 2024 Society for Social Work and Research Jan. 10-14 in Washington, D.C. Click here for a full list of awards and recognitions.

Dr. Connor’s research program is largely centered on improving scientific knowledge about HIV risk reduction strategies that are acceptable and feasible for older Black women; she develops sustainable programs for aging communities that promote sexual health and culturally relevant sexual health knowledge.

Other areas of Dr. Connor’s scholarship include reflections of her teaching social justice issues using horror films, critical pedagogy in course construction, and salient issues related to perceptions and attitudes of academic self-plagiarism.

In addition to her research, Dr. Connor has served as the advisor to the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) at UK since their inception in 2021.