Dr. Karen Rice, professor and chair of the School of Social Work at Millersville University, has been named a “Manheim Township Distinguished Alumni for 2022.” She will be honored by the Manheim Township Educational Foundation on June 2, 2022.
“This is a huge honor for me, considering I am a first-generation high school graduate,” says Rice. “As an alumna of Millersville University with my undergraduate degree in psychology and a professor here, I am pleased to be recognized for my equity and inclusion work on our campus and in the surrounding community.”
Committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Millersville and in the broader community, Rice has been a leader in developing and implementing Millersville University’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion strategic plan. In 2022, she was appointed inaugural faculty fellow for the Office of Diversity and Social Justice, supporting faculty in identifying ways to foster inclusive, equitable learning environments. At Millersville, she has helped enact implicit bias training and DEI training for faculty, staff and students, develop a resource guide for supporting students’ wellbeing needs, and create a clothing closet and lending library. Rice is a recipient of Millersville University’s Vanguard Award for support of students transitioning to college and a three-time nominee for Millersville University Educator of the Year. She was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, The National Leadership Honor Society, in 2019.
A licensed social worker in Pennsylvania, Rice has practiced in child welfare and adult and juvenile mental health and sexual perpetration. She was a trainer for the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center. She trained child welfare workers and assisted with developing a curriculum related to the investigation of child abuse and neglect and working with families with substance abuse issues.
Through her travels internationally and working with others who have experienced trauma, Rice learned of the importance of the arts in helping individuals process and express their experiences and a mechanism to foster social change. As a result, she received her Trauma-Informed Art Therapy and Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy Level I Certificate.
In honoring her, Manheim Township said, “Rice’s professional achievements benefit her local and academic communities.” She has served as co-principal or principal investigator on two multi-year, million-dollar federal grants to address Lancaster County’s workforce needs in substance use disorder treatment and behavioral healthcare. Recognized for her expertise in human rights work, Rice has been solicited to serve on professional association boards and editorial boards and to author manuscripts on the topic.
Rice joined the School of Social Work in 2006. She earned her master’s from Temple and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In addition to her work at Millersville, she volunteers with Church World Services, is a Lancaster County Children and Youth Citizens Advisory Board member, United Way of Lancaster County’s Equity Committee member; Resource Committee member for HDC MidAtlantic; and co-chair of Governor Wolf’s HEAL PA Poverty Reduction Action Team.
Since 1997, Manheim Township has honored graduates who have outstanding professional accomplishments and positively impacted their community. The annual recognition spotlights the noteworthy achievements of alumni and inspires current students. This year, the other recipients are Darla Bair, class of 1970 and Edward F. Gallagher, class of 1977.