College Directory



Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
677 Patterson Office Tower

Areas of Expertise

As a social worker, Dr. Benner is committed to improving the wellbeing of children and families. Her research interests primarily reflect my area of social work practice – the intersection of child welfare and mental health, including substance misuse. She is committed to educating efficacious social work practitioners, so her research interests also reflect the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and ensuring educational opportunities achieve the intended outcome.


  • Benner, K., Loeffler, D. L., & Pope, N. D. (2021). Social, economic and environmental justice: Building social work practice skills. Springer Publishing Company.
  • Pope, N.D., *Ratliff, S., *Moody, S., Benner, K. (2022). Peer support for new foster parents: A case study of the Kentucky Foster Parent Mentoring Program. Children and Youth Services Review.
  • Hargons, C., Benner, K., *Hollan, J., & *Bohmer, C. (2021). Striving, surviving, but not thriving: Mental health trainees adjusting during COVID-19. Field Educator Journal, 11(2).
  • Pope, N.D., Gibson, A., Benner, K., & *Littrell, L. (in press). Navigating trauma tourism in social work study abroad. Journal of Social Work Education.
  • Salt, E., Wiggins, A. T., Cooper, G. L., Benner, K., Adkins, B., Hazelbaker, K., & Rayens, M. K. (2021). A Comparison of Child Abuse and Neglect Encounters Before and After School Closings due to SARS-Cov-2. Child Abuse & Neglect, 18:105-132.
  • Pope, N., Miller, J., & Benner, K. (2020). Cultivating resilience in new foster parents through mentoring: A dyadic analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 110.

Current Projects

  • Building SUD Workforce Capacity in the Appalachia Region (Grant #T98HP33473) – sponsored by US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administration
  • Program evaluation for interprofessional health education trainings with social work students
  • Understanding the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACES) in college students
  • Assessing the role of COVID in academic motivation
  • Building knowledge related to how students perceive efficacy related to justice perspectives and behaviors.

Alma Mater

  • University of Missouri – Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, Master of Social Work, PhD

Get to Know Dr. Benner

Dr. Benner is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and has spent a decade working with children and families in practice before returning to academe. She is committed to ensuring that MSW students become good practitioners, well-grounded in assessment and evidence-informed interventions. Her passion is fueled by the countless individuals and their families who are impacted by abuse and neglect, mental illness, and substance use disorder. Families are particularly important to Dr. Benner because she cherishes her own – a husband of 30 years, and four boys. She is an avid sports fan and always knows the score of the St. Louis Cardinals or Kansas City Chiefs. Dr. Benner enjoys being outdoors and hiking, though she admits she has a terrible sense of direction.