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Social Work College

The College of Social Work has a proud tradition of over sixty years of social work education that prepares undergraduate and graduate students for social work practice and doctoral level graduate students for social work research and academia. The educational mission of the college is accomplished by faculty committed to the use of teaching methods that support critical thinking and life-long learning. The college’s research mission embraces interdisciplinary collaboration and scholarship that seeks to increase knowledge for the benefit of individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Community outreach services are rendered by faculty, staff, and students who seek to enhance the quality of life for people and human systems in Tennessee, with particular concern for improving life conditions and greater social justice for vulnerable populations.

The College of Social Work is the only CSWE accredited program in Tennessee offering the B.S.S.W., M.S.S.W., and Ph.D. degrees. Located in Nashville and Knoxville, and through the Distance Education M.S.S.W. program, the College spans the state in its educational, research and public service initiatives. Our two research centers, the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS) and the Children’s Mental Health Services Research Center (CMHSRC) conduct critically important research for the state and the nation. The College’s Center for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE), a division 
of the College of Social Work 
Office of Research and Public Service, provides quality research services to a multitude of clients on local, state and national levels. Named a program of excellence within the University, the College continues to be a leader in externally funded research. Our students and graduates are a mark of the high quality of education and training at the College.

Faculty and their Research Interests

Rebecca Bolen, Associate Professor
Child welfare, child sexual abuse, victimization of sexual abuse

Stan L. Bowie, Associate Professor
Social work in public housing communities, welfare reform implementation and its impact on families, behavioral rating scale development, social work education, African American families across the lifespan

William Bradshaw, Professor
Mental health and family services

Paul M. Campbell, Research Professor
Director, Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS)
Welfare reform, organizational behavior, rural practice

Terri Combs-Orme, Professor
Needs of disadvantaged children and families; parenting, especially the parenting of infants and toddlers

Sherry Cummings, Associate Dean, Nashville Campus and Assistant Professor
Aging and psychological well-being; Elders with severe mental illness; Familial caregivers of elders with mental health disorders; Gerontological social work education

David R. Dupper, Professor
Enhancing the educational success of students who are at-risk of school failure by focusing on school factors that contribute to school exclusion

Charles A. Glisson, Distinguished University Professor
Director, Children’s Mental Health Services Research Center
The organization and delivery of social and mental health services to children and families

William R. Nugent, Director, Doctoral Program and Professor
Measurement and assessment, development and evaluation of interventions for aggressive and antisocial youth, and restorative justice

David A. Patterson, Director, Clinical Doctorate Program and Professor
Treatment with groups, artificial neural networks, information technology applications in social work

Cynthia Rocha, Associate Dean and Professor
Vulnerable workers, international comparative social welfare policy, managed care, economic justice

Mary Rogge, Associate Professor
Environmental degradation, social welfare, justice, and children’s well-being, disasters, and community-based research

Karen M. Sowers, Professor and Dean
Juvenile justice, sexuality, social work education, child welfare, mental health – evidence-based practice, international social work practice

Marlys Staudt, Associate Professor
Services to the families of at-risk children, treatment engagement and participation, child welfare, clinical evaluation

Elizabeth Strand, Clinical Assistant Professor
Founding Director of Veterinary Social Work Services at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine
The link between human and animal violence, human-animal relationships within the family system, and stress in academic medical environments

Matthew T. Theriot, Director, B.S.S.W. Program and Associate Professor
Juvenile violence and delinquency; social work education and mental health service utilization

John S. Wodarski, Professor
Behavioral modification, child welfare, children and adolescents, grant writing, rapid assessment

Professional Staff

Kate Chaffin, Distance Education Coordinator
Karla Edwards, Business Manager
Rebecca Jackson, Coordinator of Field Services
Gayle Lodato, Coordinator of BSSW Field Services & Coordinator of International Education
Stephanie Piper, Director of Development
Ken Wagner, Information Technology Manager
Cayce Watson, Coordinator of Field Services – Distance Education


John Bailey, Principal Secretary
Natalie Crippen, Administrative Secretary
Ginny Garner, Administrative Support Assistant III
Laura Maynard, Senior Recorder
Gina Middleton, Program Resource Specialist
Michael Murphree, Accounting Specialist III
Shirley Ratcliff, Senior Secretary
Jennifer Scagnelli, Administrative Services Assistant

Contact Us

Dr. Karen Sowers, Dean
College of Social Work
The University of Tennessee
1618 Cumberland Ave.
109 Henson Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996-3333

Phone: (865) 974-3176

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.