Chadron State College
Chadron State College

Employee Profile


Rich Kenney

Professional Studies - CPSW/Social Work
Associate Professor

Contact Information

Phone: 308-432-6333
Office: Miller Hall 206


M.S.S.W. Social Work, University of Texas (Austin)
B.A. Radio/Television Production, University of Arizona (Tucson)
A.A. Communication, Cape Cod Community College (W. Barnstable, MA)
Creative Writing Certificate, Phoenix College (Phoenix, AZ)

Teaching Areas

Professional Social Work
Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Methods I: Individuals and Families
Methods II: Therapeutic and Task Groups
Policy Analysis and Advocacy
Essential Interviewing Skills
Matters of Opinion (FYI – Essential Studies)
Around the World in 20 Days (Capstone – Essential Studies)

Campus Involvement

Social Work Program Director
Social Work Club Co-Sponsor
Essential Studies Committee

Recently Published Works

  • Faculty Focus, March 2018, “An Approach for Helping Quiet Students Find Their Voices”
  • The New Social Worker, March 2018, “Perspectives” (a poem about diversity; winner of the 2018 Reverse Poetry Contest)
  • Imitation Fruit Literary Journal, Spring 2018, “Pushing Cotton” (a short story about a hospice social worker; winner of the 2018 Milestone Contest)
  • Social Work Today, Summer 2017, “Crossing the Line” (a poem about recess, stigma, and finding common ground)

Hobbies and Interests

Word Astronomer (see Random Stuff below)
Baseball Buff

Random Stuff

I was a former centerfielder who played on the East Braintree, Massachusetts Little League All Star baseball team in 1963.


Word Astronomer Explanation:

“Words are like stars,” my sixth-grade teacher, Miss Madden, would tell us, “and you should always reach for them.” She believed that words led to ideas that often led to questions. She’d lower her voice to almost a whisper and follow with, “It’s the answers to these questions that lead to new ways of thinking and that’s something for which you should strive.” And wouldn’t you know, she made ‘strive’ a look-up word almost every week until everyone had made it their own.

For the past six years, the words I’ve been reaching for have led me to deeper contemplation of such topics as teaching, learning, and social work. I’ve been asking questions… lots of them. They clock in during my lesson plan prep time. “How will I teach this?” Then, “Why should I teach it this way?” The questions pop up in the classroom. I’ll ask a student, “How did you learn that?” To another, “How do you know you’ve learned it?” In my social work classes, I ask about the challenges of diversity, fairness, and social justice.

My work in words is an examination of the answers to these questions, heartfelt reflections in a series of poems, essays, and memoirs. Words lead to writing- my way of learning, my way of thinking in fresh perspective. Inspiring my students to think in new ways is what I strive for, a lofty endeavor sparked by a sixth-grade teacher who believed in stars and the glitter of words…  


What Is Social Work?

It is a confident yes to equality.
It's small steps and small victories.  
It's about speaking up for someone who can't.

It is a second-chance language
that helps one realize possibilities.

It’s about taking a stand, going to bat for someone else.
It is blackening the eye of social injustice.

It's an inner voice, a compass, a chance to get the world right.

It is a way of leaning into life.