Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

University of Tennessee College of Social Work Dean Lori Messinger Reappointed for Another Five-Year Term

University of Tennessee Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John P. Zomchick recently announced the reappointment of College of Social Work Dean Lori Messinger for another five-year term effective July 1, 2024.

“I am pleased to reappoint Dean Messinger to the position of Dean of the College of Social Work,” Zomchick stated. “This decision is a testament to her visionary leadership. She moved the College through the COVID crisis into a generative phase where the educational programs, research, and community-engaged work are all thriving.”

Zomchick identified many ways Dean Messinger has made a long-lasting impact, including “the establishment of a new Center for Veterinary Social Work, the inception of the College’s first endowed chair, and the creation of new dual degrees with the College of Law and the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.” He also noted, “She has also been a leader in addressing student financial need through the development of new scholarships, the expansion of the student emergency fund, doubling the percentage of their students in paid field placements, and establishing more supports for students’ workplace readiness.  I feel confident that Dean Messinger will continue to work with faculty, students, staff, and their many active alumni and supporters, to meet the university’s land-grant flagship mission in Tennessee.”

Dr. Lori Messinger was first appointed dean of the college in 2019, bringing 15 years of progressive leadership in public universities to UT. Soon after she arrived, Messinger led a collaborative process to develop a new strategic vision for the future of the college. The plan, launched in 2022, included commitments to enhancing the workforce, expanding research impact, engaging stakeholders, ensuring equity, and empowering sustainability. Progress in each respective area can be seen on the college’s website. 

“We are a college on the rise, and I am so pleased to have the opportunity to be part of its future,” Messinger said. “As we move forward on our strategic vision, we will dedicate our time and resources to empowering excellence at UTCSW.” 

“I would like to thank Provost Zomchick as well as the review committee for taking the time to review my progress and for the confidence they put forth in my ability to continue leading the college. And to express my appreciation to all the college faculty, staff, and students for collectively working together to support our mission and for trusting me to lead the process,” she added.

Messinger holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in political science from Rutgers University, and a master’s degree and PhD in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her primary research areas include cultural competence in social work education and practice, comprehensive community planning processes, and organizational change processes, particularly in higher education institutions. She currently serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work.

About the UT College of Social Work
The College of Social Work is committed to advancing the mission of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as the state’s flagship land-grant university to provide a quality public education for the citizens of Tennessee and beyond through exemplary teaching, research, and service. The college provides a professional social work education program that prepares bachelor’s and master’s-level students for social work practice and doctoral-level graduate students for social work research and academia. The college has two campuses, in Knoxville and Nashville, as well as online programs.


Angela Thomas, Senior Communications and Marketing Specialist
UT College of Social Work