Skip to main content
Dr. Suk-hee Kim

Since the moment Dr. Suk-hee Kim arrived at Northern Kentucky University in 2014, she has dedicated much of her career to student success. 

What has she learned along the way?

She grows just as much as they do. 

“My students are dear to my heart. They come in with open minds, new knowledge and a new skillset,” she says. “What’s most exciting is that I learn from my students just as much as they learn from me. They bring their own strengths into my own journey and vice versa. There’s an opportunity between students and faculty to grow—both personally and academically. It’s a team effort. When my students grow, I’m not the same. I look forward to each academic year and to becoming a better, stronger professor.” 

When she’s not in the classroom, the associate professor in NKU's School of Social Work focuses on research and scholarship. She has served on several committees, advisory boards and diversity-focused councils at the university, regional, and national levels. 

Dr. Kim actively served as NKU’s Academic Affairs diversity faculty fellow, a faculty fellow for NKU’s Institute for Health Innovation and serves as a graduate faculty representative for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Board of Directors. She’s also the president of the Korean American Social Work Educators Association and a reviewer for the Journal of Social Work Education.


"My students’ success is my success. And my success is NKU’s success. We’re all in this together."

At the heart of her research is gerontology and opioid addiction studies. In her time at NKU, she has been deeply involved in collaborative efforts with colleagues, focusing on developing an aging-specific curriculum and the creation of three micro-credentials. Together with her campus colleagues, she actively worked toward the goal of NKU becoming the first university in the region to achieve an Age-Friendly University designation.

One of Dr. Kim’s proudest moments was launching the Human Trafficking, Health Equity, and Academic Collaborative, which educates college students and raises awareness about human trafficking injustices. 

“It’s a blessing to have all different kinds of opportunities to grow,” she says. “I don’t take these opportunities lightly.” 

And her passion hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Here at NKU, Dr. Kim has been nominated and/or selected for several awards: Wise Women of NKU; Excellence in Outreach and Engagement; Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring; Inclusive Excellence Faculty Leadership; Institute for Student Research and Creative Activity Faculty Mentor; NKU’s Veterans Civilian Faculty Inaugural Award; and Frank Sinton Milburn Outstanding Professor. 

At the national level, she has been sub-awarded or awarded grants and served as principle or co-principal investigator from the U.S. Department of Justice; Health Resources and Services Administration; NIH HEAL Initiative’s HEALing Communities Study (WAVE I & WAVE II); and Healthy Aging Programming. She has also been nominated and selected for awards, including the CSWE Mentoring Recognition; the CSWE Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Education Award; CSWE’s Role and Status of Women in Community Impact Award; CSWE’s Commission on Diversity and Social and Economic Justice Community Partnership Action Inaugural Award; and Outstanding Career in the Field of Social Work Alumni Award Boston University School of Social Work.

Dr. Kim is proud of her accomplishments and the opportunities she’s been given, but she isn’t focused on only her success. She sees her growth as one piece of something much bigger. 

“We all share the same mission and the same goal, which is student success,” she says. “My students’ success is my success. And my success is NKU’s success. We’re all in this together. If we fail, we fail together. But if we succeed, we succeed together. This is a great reminder of our unwavering commitment to student success and making our community stronger than before.”

About This Article

March 2024

Written by
Jayna Morris ('22)
Editor, NKU Magazine