Mentor of Year at USU

Charlie Bayles, clinical assistant professor of social work at Utah State University, was awarded the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate Mentor of the Year.
After being named the faculty mentor of the year for the social work department, Bayles was the college’s awardee for Graduate Mentor of the Year at the annual awards ceremony on March 20.
She would go on to be in contention for university Graduate Mentor of the Year, a ceremony for which took place on March 27.
“Being a faculty mentor has been a privilege,” Bayles said. “My mentoring approach is derived from a genuine love for my students as well as a therapeutic perspective that is strength-based, solution-focused, and principle driven.
“It integrates the social work values of respect, self-determination, ethics, hard work, integrity, service and owning one’s story. Encouraging students to recognize and own their story helps stimulate awareness of bias and it strengthens accountability.”
Bayles, who serves the USU Blanding campus in the USU Statewide system, has an extensive professional background in clinical mental health, child welfare, crisis work, adoptions, aging, hospice and Navajo health systems inform her teaching and mentorship in significant ways.
She is a trusted community leader and mentor, working diligently to train culturally responsive students and improve community systems in San Juan County.
“Charlie is the heartbeat of our campus, a beacon of inspiration cherished by every student,” said Kristian Olsen, senior associate vice president for USU Blanding.
“Beyond the confines of the classroom, she inspires positive change, touching hearts and minds with an unwavering passion. Her commitment to her students is a force of nature, carving pathways to success and empowerment.
“Thanks to her untiring dedication, the social work program at USU Blanding stands as a shining example of excellence, illuminating the Four Corners area with its transformative impact.”
Bayles is developing an intensive clinical exam preparation course, engaging Navajo leaders in the course’s development to situate study preparation materials in a culturally responsive framework, and she used these materials in a weekly study group to support graduate students preparing for their licensing exam.
These efforts have increased the capacity of San Juan County’s clinical services, enabling access to treatment for hundreds of Navajo community members.
“Storytelling is at the core of Native American culture, so integrating traditional narratives into social work pedagogy and practice was an approach I chose to adopt early on,” Bayles said.
“It helps strengthen my connection as a mentor. When students feel heard and understood, they relax and allow for connection. Connection then becomes fertile ground for change and growth.”
Bayles teaches numerous foundation and advanced courses in the graduate social work curriculum such as “Advanced Practice with Groups, Couples, & Families” and “Principles & Philosophies of Social Work.”
Beyond her academic endeavors, she maintains her Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) license and serves the profession as a member of Utah’s National Association of Social Work Board.
Her contributions extend beyond her academic and clinical roles; she has received numerous accolades, including the Recognition of Excellence Award for Faculty of the Year at the Blanding Campus (2022) and the DCFS Social Worker of the Year (2013).
Offering residential campus housing and dining, Utah State University Blanding gives students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university, all while providing award-winning education.
With degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees, plus technical education offerings in Business, Technical Trades and Health Professions, USU Blanding offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. 
Learn more at

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday