Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
Lori Messinger addressing the audience at social work conference

Message from Dr. Lori Messinger, Dean of the College

Welcome to Rocky Top!

As the Dean of the College of Social Work, I am so pleased to welcome you to “Rocky Top” and the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. This university is one of the nation’s oldest and most well-respected public research universities: Volunteers have been lighting the way for others, across Tennessee and throughout the world, for 225 years! The College of Social Work has provided education and leadership for our profession for over 75 years.

The College of Social Work, which ranks 24th among all social work programs in the country, demonstrates its commitment to serving the people of Tennessee and the world through outstanding undergraduate and graduate education, scholarship on issues that impact diverse sectors of society, and meaningful engagement with the communities we serve. We offer educational opportunities for every stage of adult life: high school graduates and those with GED’s, second career professionals, veterans looking for a new opportunity to make a difference, or MSW’s looking to enhance their research and clinical skills. We make sure our programs are accessible to everyone, offering online and in-person instruction from faculty with specialized knowledge in effective teaching practices.

Our six academic programs include:

  • BSSW Program in Knoxville
  • Online BSSW Program
  • MSSW Programs in Knoxville and Nashville
  • Online MSSW Program
  • Online Doctor of Social Work in Clinical Practice & Leadership (DSW)
  • Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Social Work (PhD) in Knoxville

In addition, our college offers a Tennessee school social work licensure program and certificate programs in trauma treatment, gerontology, and veterinary social work.

Seed Research Team

Our faculty, staff, and students are engaged in research on a range of social challenges, including health, mental health, environmental change, social and economic justice, human development across the lifespan, education, military, and substance abuse. The College serves as the home for the nationally recognized Center for Behavioral Health Research and the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service. Several of our faculty are fellows in prestigious scientific academies including the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, The American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Academies of Practice, and the Gerontological Society of America.

As a college, we work closely with community partners in East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, across the state, and around the world. Through our social justice innovation initiatives, trauma-informed resilience model, veterans-focused interventions, and international work, we are working to improve quality of life and opportunities for all people.

Please explore our website or join us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram to learn more about our College.



Dr. Messinger's signature

Lori Messinger, PhD
Dean of the College of Social Work