Chenault named as Haskell presidentMay 1st, 2014 | By tcj | Category: 25-4: Nation Building, Tribal College News
Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) director, Dr. Charles M. Roessel, named Dr. Venida S. Chenault as president of Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU, Lawrence, KS). Chenault, an enrolled member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, had been serving as vice-president of academic affairs at HINU since December 2004. Her appointment as president became effective this past January.
“Dr. Venida Chenault is an experienced administrator whose leadership at Haskell Indian Nations University and strong commitment to American Indian higher education is well-known among her students and colleagues,” Roessel said. “Her familiarity with the needs of students, her respect for the school community and her vision for the institution itself has made her the right choice as Haskell president. I am proud to have her on my education management team.”
Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Kevin K. Washburn, also praised the appointment: “I am very pleased at the selection of Dr. Venida Chenault for Haskell president. This institution is one of the most important Indian higher education institutions in the country. Our search for new leadership at Haskell has led to a strong and able education professional, a person who has long been committed to this institution, and who will work towards its constant betterment.”
Chenault has held several positions at Haskell during her 21 years at the university. With a background in social work, she started in 1991 as faculty and as an advisor, developing pre-professional courses and curriculum in social work and American Indian studies. She also served as acting associate dean for the Division of Instruction, acting director of the Institute for Distance Education, and codirector of a Ford Foundation grant that HINU held in conjunction with the University of Kansas (KU).
From October 2008 to October 2009, Chenault served as a Visiting Scholar in Social Welfare at KU’s School of Social Welfare, where she worked to advance research and scholarship on violence and abuse against Indigenous women. She also authored a book on the same topic.
A student at HINU, Chenault went on to attend KU, where she earned her Ph.D. in philosophy in 2004. She has given numerous presentations on the subject of violence and substance abuse activity and prevention within American Indian communities, and has developed and taught courses on human behavior, community health social work practice, chemical dependency, and social work as they relate to Native people. In addition, she has published numerous articles and reports on a variety of topics related to the study of American Indian societies and cultures.
Chenault has received several awards, including Haskell Outstanding Alumni of the Year and KU’s Crystal Eagle Indigenous Leadership Award. She has held fellowships with several organizations, including the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the American Indian College Fund, and the Kellogg Minority Serving Institutions Leadership Program. From 1998 to the present she has served the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in various capacities, including on the tribe’s social services and constitution committees, and its social service advisory board.