Dr. Donna Cherry receives 2020 Distinguished Faculty Award for Service
JOHNSON CITY (Aug. 21, 2020) – The Distinguished Faculty Award for Service was presented to Dr. Donna Cherry, associate professor in the Department of Social Work in the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences.
The award was presented at the annual Faculty Convocation, which was delivered in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cherry, who has taught at ETSU since 2009, has held numerous service roles at the university and throughout the community.
“Overall, Dr. Cherry’s service record is remarkable,” said Dr. Mary Mullins, chair of the Department of Social Work. “The impact of service extends far beyond the department to benefit so many.”
At ETSU, Cherry served as the first Marketing and Recruitment Committee chair in the Department of Social Work and was responsible for liaising with potential students in at least three states. In 2017, Cherry was awarded the ETSU Outstanding Service Organization Advisor Award, recognizing her work as the MSWSA (Master of Social Work Student Association) faculty advisor. In addition, Cherry organizes and attends the annual Social Work Day on the Hill, where she guides students as they identify a social justice issue to address, discuss and advocate for/against at the capitol with legislators.
In 2019, Cherry was the first recipient of the “Social Work Educator of the Year” award, presented by the Tennessee chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Cherry’s trauma-focused clinical work has also bloomed into service opportunities with the International Storytelling Center. She is on the advisory board for the Stories for Change program, where she helps develop, deliver and evaluate new curricula for at-risk youth. Last year’s focus – SHEroes Journey – aimed at young girls was very successful and won a $5,000 ETSU Elevates Grant.
This year, Cherry began a new project that was inspired by her work on the Northeast Tennessee Foster Care Review Board. Noting that teens who age out of the foster care system are often vulnerable to homelessness, Cherry purchased and is renovating a house she has named Huschka House, which will serve as a transitional living program for young adults who have aged out of the foster care system and meet the program’s definition of “homeless.”
“Dr. Cherry lives and breathes social justice and service,” said Dr. Brittany Wilkins, associate professor in the Department of Social Work. “The profession of social work benefits by Dr. Cherry helping educate professionals and ‘walk the walk’ of social work values in helping vulnerable persons.”
Cherry earned a bachelor of arts degree from Oregon State University in 1984 and an M.S.W. (2003) and Ph.D. (2007) from the University of Tennessee.