Kutztown University professor Dr. Kenney named American Counseling Association Fellow

Photo courtesy of Jeff Unger, KU Dr. Kelley Kenney

Kutztown University professor Dr. Kelley Kenney recently received the American Counseling Association Fellow award for her exceptional contributions to the field of counseling.

“At this level of my career, being named an ACA Fellow feels like the ultimate accomplishment, but there is more work to be done,” she said. “I am passionate about this population and I am committed to continuing to contribute to the body of knowledge necessary for the delivery of competent and effective counseling services. I also plan to continue serving the profession through leadership.”

Kenney received her award at the 2013 ACA Conference onMarch 23 in Cincinnati.

For Kenney, educating people about the counseling needs of multiracial families and serving the profession of counseling isn’t a job – it’s a calling.

“It’s not just my work,” said the KU professor of counseling and student affairs. “This is my life – I consider the colleagues I’ve been able to work with in the counseling field my family. I’ve had numerous opportunities to grow and learn from them and they mean the world to me. My husband, Mark, also collaborates with me. I introduced him to the field 25 years ago and we have been working together ever since.”

Before 1993, the unique needs of multiracial individuals and families were not addressed within the counseling field – and that’s when Kenney entered the conversation and identified the exigency of meeting this population’s needs. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to revolutionize the practice and delivery of counseling for interracial couples, multiracial individuals, and multiracial families, including trans-racial adoptees and families.

“Dr. Kenney richly deserves recognition as an ACA Fellow,” said Dr. Carmen Salazar, professor of counseling in the Department of Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce. “Her work inspires those of us who are counselor educators to increase our efforts to sensitize our students and supervisees, each of whom has the potential to positively affect the mixed heritage families and individuals they serve.”

Kenney’s dedication to the field is an investment: she commits her assets (time, research, funding), and the returns manifest as scholarly interest and awareness within the field, publications, and now, national recognition for her success.

“It’s a prestigious honor from the ACA,” said Dr. Brian Wlazelek, president-elect of the Pennsylvania Counseling Association and KU professor of counseling and student affairs. “It recognizes the valuable contributions Dr. Kenney has made over the years to the field of counseling, as well as to the ACA. It’s a wonderful honor for her to be recognized by all the leaders in the field. Personally, I’ve appreciated her leadership and contributions to the PCA.”

Recipients of the ACA Fellow award are recognized for their significant and unique contributions in professional practice, scientific achievement and governance, or teaching and training. Kenney has made contributions to the field of counseling in all three of these categories – she co-directs Rainbow Support Network, a diversity training and consulting business, with her husband; serves as a member of ACA’s governing council; serves on ACA’s audit committee; co-chairs ACA’s Multiracial/Multiethnic Counseling Concerns Interest Network and has been a professor at KU for almost 30 years.

Along with these accomplishments, Kenney also serves as an advisory member for the Loving Day Organization, which fights racial prejudice through education, and is an avid scholar with numerous publications who gives presentations on multicultural counseling throughout the nation. In recent years, Kenney has received the Counselors for Social Justice Ohana Award for Service (2011), ACA’s Don Dinkmeyer Social Interest Award (2008) and PCA’s Service Award (2005).