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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Public Service, the Not Always So Academic Arm of the College of Social Work

Elizabeth R. DeGeorge, Assistant DirectorCollege of Social Work - Publications and Media Technology

The Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS) has been in existence since 1975. It is what you might call an outreach of the College of Social Work. Social workers are “people people,” and can’t just sit back at an academic armchair’s length from the action in social services. Having a public service office has allowed the College of Social Work to remain in close contact with this action in the public and private service agencies of the state. From partnering with the State of Tennessee in overseeing the quality of child care agencies to managing the collection of service information for the homeless population of Knoxville; from creating civil rights training for the Department of Human Services to partnering with UT’s Center for Literacy Studies in developing online learning modules; from directing focus groups for our own university to coordinating survey studies for the Knox County Health Department; from evaluating social service programs to helping service providers articulate program outcomes,  the work of SWORPS impacts individuals and agencies throughout region while allowing the college to maintain a first-hand relationship with cutting-edge best practice in today’s world.​

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