The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


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The University of Tennessee College of Social Work:

Mission: Grounded in social justice, we equip professional social workers with the skills needed to serve diverse and vulnerable populations. We build knowledge by conducting groundbreaking research that focuses on solving social problems. We engage with our communities through meaningful service.

Vision: We envision a socially just world that prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable.

Spotlight on Farrell Cooper and the Grand Challenges for Social Work

In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the UT College of Social Work, we are honoring 75 social workers—alums, faculty, staff, and others—whose work and lives exemplify the 12 Grand Challenges that have been identified by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.

The College of Social Work honors the memory of B. Farrell Cooper naming him the twenty-seventh Grand Challenger for Social Work. Farrell Cooper passed away Monday, July 10, 2017. He was a founding member of the UT College of Social Work Board of Visitors, a group that began in the late 1990's in support of the work of the college.Farrell Cooper

Farrell Cooper exhibited an unwavering commitment to social justice throughout his career and life. He earned a Master of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1967. He spent his career as a social worker in a variety of community settings. He served as director of Social Services at Erlanger Medical Center for 14 years, leaving to assume a leadership role at the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults in 1988. 


Farrell Cooper's work in the field of social work extended to many of the 12 Challenges for Social Work, but in particular, under his leadership of the Partnership, Family Strenthening Services were provided, building stable lives, providing employee assistance, financial counseling, and other family-focused solutions that lead to the accomplishment of Grand Challenge #11, Building Financial Capability for All.

Karen M. Sowers, Dean of the College of Social Work, remembered this wonderful social work leader. "Farrell was one of the first to reach out to me when I came to UT. He loved his alma mater. A founding member of the College's Board of Visitors, he embraced the board as he did all things in life - with gusto, joy and enthusiasm. We owe Farrell a great debt in his helping to build the college. He was a dear man who was a social work role model in life as well as his career. I will miss his guidance, his laughter and his great ability to see good in all things." 


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