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College of Social Work Strategic Vision

Lori Messinger presenting to eVOLve conference


Thriving communities with equitable outcomes for all.


Pursuing a more socially just society through education, scholarship, and engagement.
To do this, we:

  • equip professional social workers with the knowledge and skills to facilitate well-being and equity.
  • conduct groundbreaking, interdisciplinary research that informs policy and practice.
  • build partnerships that leverage our resources to improve lives in Tennessee and beyond.


Committing to a spirit of continual learning and creativity in education, scholarship, engagement, and administration.

Recognizing and honoring the dignity, value, and well-being of each person, in all of their identities and interests.

Informing action with curiosity and understanding.

Building authentic, mutually beneficial relationships that empower shared success.

Equipping programs and decision-makers to provide equitable access to opportunities and resources.

Exemplifying transparency, accuracy, and the highest standards of professional ethics.

Holding ourselves and one other responsible for living into our shared values.

Dr. Doug Coatsworth laughing with social work doctoral student in University of tennessee student union

The Five College Commitments

Commitment One
UTCSW will offer accessible, high quality education
to prepare ethical, effective, skilled social workers
for Tennessee and beyond.

The College of Social Work is committed to providing outstanding training that is accessible to social work students and practitioners throughout their professional journey. We will continue to lead the nation in online education, with instructors who have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to effectively train social work practitioners and scholars.

Commitment Two
UTCSW will do meaningful research and scholarship that is influential and impacts practice and well-being in the region, state, nation, and globally.

Our scholars support the people of this region, the state of Tennessee and the nation through engaged research and scholarship. We will disseminate our work widely and become even more widely recognized the the important work done in the university, in the state, and in the profession.

four female social work researchers applying EEG to female participants head
room full of social work community partners booths at conference

Commitment Three
UTCSW will maintain high-quality connections to alumni, university partners, and community partners, and foster meaningful collaboration in the work produced by the college.

We maintain vibrant, mutually beneficial connections to UTCSW alumni and community partners through education, networking, and outreach. We partner with scholars and practitioners to enhance our interprofessional and interdisciplinary connections, and foster an open, transparent environment with high quality communication and collaboration across all campuses, research centers, and stakeholders.

Commitment Four
UTCSW will continue as an anti-racist, equitable, supportive workplace that lives the college’s values through internal and external interactions

The College strives to be a destination workplace, where all faculty and staff thrive and are respected, supported, mentored, and engaged. We are dedicated to being a community of people that works for anti-racism, social justice, and change in the college, in the university, in the community, in the state, and in the profession.

panel of black men at coalition of black social workers meeting
College of social work winners of faculty and staff awards

Commitment Five
UTCSW will empower and maintain a culture of collaboration, agility, innovation, and sustainability throughout the college.

The college leadership is dedicated to expanding and diversifying revenue sources; strengthening business services’ improving communications within the college; and improving overall function and structure of College leadership and administration to meet these commitments.

Strategic Vision Booklet