Jennifer Turner-Marks

LMSW, LPC, DSW Candidate

How Does Mentorship, Professional Development, and Creating an Inclusive Environment Support the Accession of Black Women into Leadership Roles in Higher Education?


The gap between gender and leadership has been a notable issue for many years, specifically for Black women in higher education. Effective mentoring has been noted as having multiple functions in promoting professional growth, fostering the abilities of Black female faculty in learning to navigate barriers to career advancement, and supporting recruitment and retention of faculty of color. This presentation will examine the benefits of mentoring, professional development, and an inclusive environment for the accession of Black women seeking leadership roles in higher education. This presentation highlights the findings from three separate papers: a Systematic Literature Review, a Conceptual Paper, and a Practice Application paper. The systematic literature review will address relevant research, systematic search strategies, and a synthesis of the findings. The conceptual paper will apply Black Feminist Theory and Intersectionality as the theoretical frameworks to examine the barriers and benefits of mentorship, cross-race mentoring, and training. The Practice Application paper discusses the mentoring structure at Texas A&M University Texarkana and the development of a mentoring program and other supports to address the recruitment and retention of Black female faculty.


Jennifer Turner-Marks is a DSW candidate in the School of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Henderson State University, a Master of Science in Counseling from Southern Arkansas University, and a Master of Social Work from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Jennifer has over 20 years of experience in the field of social work. She is the MSW Field Director and Clinical Instructor of Social Work at Texas A&M University Texarkana. Before TAMUT, she worked as the Bachelor of Social Work Program Director/Associate Professor and Title IV-E Coordinator at Southern Arkansas University. Jennifer’s research focuses on child welfare, public health, and leadership development.

Her capstone project aims to understand the barriers Black women face when seeking leadership roles in higher education and the impact mentoring and professional development have on their ascension into leadership roles. Jennifer is a contributing author of one publication, “Unsubstantiated Use of Force in the Killing of Atatiana Jefferson: A Critical Analysis,” published in The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice.

Jennifer’s scholarship in administrative leadership informs and enriches the way she practices and leads in the field of social work, guiding her to implement innovative strategies, foster collaboration, and cultivate a supportive environment that nurtures clients, students, and colleagues alike.