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Kesslyn Brade Stennis PhD

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Kesslyn Brade Stennis holds the rank of Full Professor of Social Work and serves as the Executive Director of the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Center for the Advancement of Social Justice at Coppin State University. She is also the Director of the Minority Fellowship Program at the Council on Social Work Education.

Dr. Brade Stennis holds a PhD in Social Work from Howard University and a Master of Social Work degree from The Ohio State University. She has also earned a Master of Divinity degree and Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Howard University.  Finally, she is a proud graduate of Oakwood College (now Oakwood University). 

Throughout her career, Dr. Brade Stennis has focused on empowering people through the educational and artistic mediums of public speaking, preaching, publishing, and performing various musical genres. Dr. Kesslyn has utilized her unique gifts in the classroom as a social work educator for almost 25 years at a variety of private and public universities and has held a number of leadership positions including but not limited to Immediate Past Chair of the Department of Social Work at Coppin State University and Chaplain at Georgetown University. Within professional organizations, she has served as an editorial consultant, reviewer or editor for various professional journals including Social Work, Social Work and Christianity, Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, and the Journal of Social Work Education. Additionally, she has served on boards for several professional organizations, chaired and co- chaired international meetings, facilitated organizational task groups, and has participated on national nominating committees. Of note is her "herstoric" role within the North American Association of Christians in Social Work as the first African American woman to serve as President of the Board of Directors in the organization’s history. 


Bent-Goodley, T., & Brade, K. (2007). Domestic Violence and Kinship Care: Connecting Policy and Practice, Journal of Health and Social Policy, 22 (3/4).  

Bent-Goodley T., & Brade Stennis, K. (2015). Men’s Violence in African and Bible Believing African American Churches in Andrew Johnson (Ed.) Religion and Men’s Violence against Women by Springer Publishers, NY: NY.

Brade, K. (2000, Third Quarter). “Mentoring Youth: You Can Make A Difference” in Corner Stone Youth Resource Publication. 

Brade, K. (January/February 2001). “Suffering in Silence” in Message Magazine.

Brade, K. (2008). Lessons from Our Past: African American Christian Women and the Integration of Faith and Practice, Social Work and Christianity, 35 (3).

Brade, K. (Winter 2008/2009). “I Believe in Miracles: A Critique of Insensitive Pastoral Theology”. The African American Pulpit.         

Brade, K., & Bent-Goodley, T. (2009). A Refuge for My Soul: Examining African American Clergy’s Perceptions Related to Domestic Violence Awareness and Engagement in Faith Community Initiatives, Social Work and Christianity, 36 (4), 430-448. 

Brade Stennis, K. (2011). This Is My Story. This Is My Song in Finding Our Way Home: The Lenten Journey Through Prayer and Reflection. Georgetown University Protestant Ministry & The Office of Mission and Ministry. Washington, DC.

Brade Stennis, K. (2012). God’s Plans, Processes and Promises in Faith: Journey for a Lifetime: The Lenten Devotional. Georgetown University Protestant Ministry & The Office of Mission and Ministry. Washington: DC.

Brade Stennis, K. (2014). Reflection: A Lesson on Grace in Lent: A Daily Devotional by and for the Georgetown University Community. Georgetown University Protestant Ministry & The Office of Mission and Ministry. Washington, DC.

Brade Stennis, K. (2015). Have Faith, Find Friends, Fight or Fold: The Plight of Black Churches in Washington, DC Facing Gentrification in A. Pollard and V. Love (Eds.), Equipping the Saints: Promising Practices in Black Congregational Life Research Findings. Washington, DC: Howard University.

Brade Stennis, K., & Ally, R. (2019). “’I’m a Survivor’: Reconsidering Identity, Stigma, and Institutions for Domestic Violence Survivors” in Women and Inequality in the 21st Century. Oxford, UK: Routledge. 

Brade Stennis, K., & Gilliam, C. (2019). “Editor’s Corner: Voices from the Margins” [Special Issue Editors]. Social Work & Christianity, 46 (1), 3-5.

Brade Stennis, K., Fischle, H., Purnell, K., Bent-Goodley, T., & Williams, H. (2015). S.T.A.R.T.© – The Development of a Culturally Competent Intimate Partner Violence Intervention: Implications for Competency-Based Social Work Practice. Social Work & Christianity, 42 (1), 96-109.

Brade Stennis, K., Purnell, K., Bryant, V., Taylor, A., Gilliam, C., & Bynum, E., (2021). Establishing Professional Pathways: Considerations for African American Women in Social Work Education. In C. Gadling-Cole (Ed). African American Women in Academia: Intersectionality of race and gender. Nova.

Brade Stennis, K., Purnell, K., Perkins, E., & Fischle, H. (2015).  Lessons Learned: Conducting Culturally Competent Research and Providing Interventions with Black Churches. Social Work & Christianity, 42, (3), 332-349.  

Brade Stennis, K., Purnell, K., Perkins, E., & Fischle, H. (2016). Lessons Learned: Conducting Culturally Competent Research and Providing Interventions with Black Churches. Christianity and Social Work: Readings on the Integration of Faith and Social Work Practice, 5th Edition. NACSW Press. 

Gilliam, C. & Brade Stennis, K. (2019). “Developing Leaders, Building Collaborations and Addressing Social Justice: One HBCU’s Experience”. Urban Social Work, (3), 40-51.

Perkins, E., Brade Stennis, K., Spriggs, V. T., Kwegyir-Afful, E. A., & Prather, A. (2014). Is Knowledge Enough? Considering HIV/AIDS Risk Behaviors and HIV/AIDS Knowledge with African American Women. International journal of high-risk behaviors & addiction, 3(3).

Leadership Roles
  • Chair, Department of Social Work
  • Executive Director, Dr. Dorothy I. Height Center for the Advancement of Social Work
  • Director, Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship Program

2009 - Doctor of Philosophy Degree, Social Work, Howard University
Dissertation Title: “Let the Church Stop Saying ‘Amen’: Domestic Violence Perceptions and Experiences from a Cohort of African-American Clergy in Divinity School” 

2009 - Women’s Studies Certificate, Howard University

2006 - Master of Divinity Degree, Howard University

1996 - Master of Social Work Degree, The Ohio State University
Major Area: Clinical Social Work, Health Emphasis

1995 - Bachelor of Social Work Degree, Oakwood College

Professional Activities

Council on Social Work Education
North American Association of Christians in Social Work, Board Member

Expertise and Research Interests

Intersections of Domestic Violence, Women's Wellness, African Americans, Faith Communities and Leadership

Honors and awards
  • Vernon Johns Preaching Award for Social Justice, Howard University School of Divinity
  • William H. Elkins Professorship, University System of Maryland

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