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College of Social Work and CEHHS Combine Efforts with Dual-College Partnership

Associate Dean Kristina Gordon Takes on New Role to Lead Enhanced Engagement Efforts

The UT College of Social Work (CSW) has combined efforts with the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) in an attempt to strengthen UT’s engagement in community service across Tennessee.  Kristina Gordon will serve as Associate Dean for Community Engagement for CSW and CEHHS. She officially assumed the role on July 1.

Gordon’s reputation for impactful community service is well known across UT and nationally. In a project funded by the Templeton Foundation, she works to connect churches, community agencies, and UT to share research-based relationship education to couples in the Knoxville area. In addition, Gordon is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) SmartHealth grant to help reduce stress for caregivers of dementia patient as well as the recipient of a federally funded Healthy Marriage Initiative grant to provide better access to relationship interventions. In addition, she has authored two books to help couples recover after infidelity.

“I am very excited to take on this expansion of my community engaged work with CEHHS to the College of Social Work,” said Gordon. “There are so many ways in which these two colleges overlap in their missions, and I cannot wait to find more opportunities for us to work together with our community partners to tackle major community problems.”

In her new role, Gordon will elevate and align UT’s engagement efforts with community partners to enhance health, education, and quality of life in Knoxville, East Tennessee, and statewide. She will serve both CEHHS and CSW as Associate Dean, spending 60% of her time with CEHHS and 40% with CSW.

“I’m thrilled,” said CEHHS Dean Ellen McIntyre. “Dean Gordon’s new role means we will have even more of an emphasis on engaged scholarship, teaching, and service than ever before. She will elevate community engagement work for both colleges.”

“I’m excited to have Dr. Gordon join us in the College of Social Work. This is the first time an Associate Dean position has been shared across colleges, which sets a new standard for interprofessional collaboration,” noted CSW Dean Lori Messinger. “In her new role, Dr. Gordon will elevate the efforts by both colleges and our community partners to enhance the health, education, and quality of life in Knoxville, East Tennessee, and across the state.  This position aligns with our colleges’ goals and supports UT’s vision as a university on the rise.”

In addition to her support for CEHHS and CSW faculty, Gordon will work closely with faculty from other campus Colleges and UT Extension to identify and connect key community partners and serve as a point person for community agencies interested in partnerships with UT. She will also work to expand current relationships with several community partners such as Cherokee Health, Knox County Schools, Knoxville and Knox County Governments, and the Knox County Health Department.

“We have already developed a strong partnership with Cherokee Health Systems that is poised to explode in the next two years. Our next steps will be to establish similar intentional partnerships with other community agencies and organizations to support our faculty, students, and community in co-creating impactful “real-world” scholarship,” said Gordon.