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Social Work


Doris D. Dodson

Doris Dodson

Doris is the field director and a visiting assistant professor of social work who teaches both on campus and in the Adult Degree Program. Doris earned her undergraduate degree in social work from Longwood University and her graduate degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has also obtained licensure as a licensed clinical social worker in the Commonwealth of Virginia and previously was licensed in the states of Oregon and Washington.

Prior to joining the faculty at Mary Baldwin, Doris acquired more than 28 years of practice in social work, including the private and public sectors in direct service as well as a supervisor, manager and director. She has expertise in the areas of child welfare (in particular, foster care, and adoption) and domestic violence. She has also worked in community mental health; in refugee unaccompanied minors’ programs; as a state and federal reviewer of child welfare practice, as both a trainer and field instructor. Most recently, Doris worked for the City of Charlottesville’s Department of Social Services as one of three foster care supervisors and the adoption supervisor.

Doris was accepted into and graduated from several leadership programs including the Charlottesville Leadership Development Academy and Public Positioning Child Welfare Guidance Institute, where her team’s application was one of six accepted nationally for the nine-month intensive institute. In addition, Doris has presented at local, state, and national conferences.

While living in Vancouver, Washington, Doris worked for Portland State University in their Continuing Education Program as the coordinator and facilitator in an adjunct faculty position for a post-graduate certificate program in foster and adoptive family therapy. After relocating to her home state of Virginia, she has continued to teach in the program’s online component and has enjoyed this relationship for the past six years.

Doris recently started kayaking and enjoys knitting; crocheting; painting; and spending time with her husband Shane, her two boys, Shaun and Collin, and their pets.

May Guenin

May Guenin

May Guenin is an adjunct faculty member teaching in the Adult Degree Program. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Virginia and an MSW from Case Western Reserve University.

Ms. Guenin’s practice experience includes social services, inpatient psychiatric care, directing a day treatment program, directing an out-patient clinic, private practice and being a field instructor in social work. She has experience with children, adolescents and adults. She has been teaching sociology and social work in ADP since 1998.

Currently Ms. Guenin teaches Aging, Human Behavior and the Social Environment I and II, Social Work Practice I and II, and field instruction.

Ms. Guenin has three children, two grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and two cats. She is interested in other cultures and often has foreign graduate students from the University of Virginia living in her home.

Kim Higgins

Kim Higgins

Kim has been an adjunct professor at Mary Baldwin College since 2009. Kim earned her BSW from James Madison University followed by her MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University. Kim moved to Staunton from Tidewater Virginia in 1998, working for the Valley Community Services Board and then the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Since 2002 she has worked as the Admissions Coordinator at People Places, a private non-profit therapeutic foster care agency. She is also the Assistant Director of Ride With Pride, a therapeutic horsemanship program serving youth and adults with physical, mental and emotional needs. Photography, reading, and travel are some of Kim’s many interests.



Gauri Rai

Gauri Rai

Dr. Rai is an associate professor of social work and has been a faculty member of Mary Baldwin College since 2004. He has a BA and MAS from Kashi Vidyapith University, Varansai, India, an MSW from St. Louis University, a PhD in Social Work from Rutgers University, and an LISW (licensed independent social worker) from Ohio Licensing Board of Counselors and Social Workers.

He is the recipient of a graduate fellowship from St. Louis City hospitals and clinics, a doctoral fellowship from National Institute of Mental Health, and a training grant in Small System Management to MSW students for three years. His social work practice experience includes service to military families, American Red Cross; long term illness committee, medical social work, child welfare, and mental health.

Dr. Rai’s research interests include the pattern of growth and development in community organizations and institutions, impact of parenting on personality development of pre-adolescent and adolescent children, alcoholism in women, program evaluation of mental health agencies, bureaucratic inflexibility in public child welfare system, and international social welfare education in the United States. Currently, he is working on a research project titled “Organizational determinants of resident satisfaction in long term care facilities.” His recent professional presentations include: Resident satisfaction in long term care facilities (in the conference of Southern Gerontological Society, Greensboro, North Carolina) and Burnout among a staff of long term care facilities (in the conference of Gerontological Society of America, San Francisco, California.) Dr. Rai has published in Social Service Review, Administration in Social Work, and International Social Work.

Dr. Rai is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Council on Social Work Education, and the International Federation of Social Workers and Inter-University Consortium for International Development. He has  served as a board member of United Way of Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro, Virginia. He is a proud father of five daughters.

Mary Clay Thomas


Mary Clay Thomas is the social work program director and an assistant professor of social work at Mary Baldwin. She relocated to Staunton, Va in 2008 after spending twelve years studying, practicing and teaching social work in Burlington, Vermont. A graduate of Saint Timothy’s School, an all female high school in Stevenson, Maryland, she went on to earn her BA from the University of Montana in English and Psychology and an MSW from the University of Vermont where she was a recipient of the Vermont Title-IVE Child Welfare Scholarship.

Before coming to Mary Baldwin, Mary Clay taught social work courses, supervised field work, and advised the social work club at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. She practiced as a child protection social worker, school social worker, and worked with community programs supporting the independence of elders while in Vermont.

At Mary Baldwin, Mary Clay serves as the faculty advisor to the Social Work Club and oversees the international social work field placement in Honduras. She is an active community member, recently serving as Board Chair, at the United Way of Greater Augusta. She is the mother of two girls and is an avid runner, hiker, gardener and loves travelling to new places.

Contributing Faculty

Elizabeth Anderson, social work adjunct

Beverly Chestnutt, social work adjunct

Linda Dressler, social work adjunct

Chris Jenkins, social work adjunct

Kathy McCleaf, associate professor of Health and Studies of Gender and Sexuality

Dianna Parrish, social work adjunct

Carla Renner, social work adjunct