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Coalition of Black Social Workers

Coalition of Black Social Workers

Photo of Coalition of Black Social Workers organizersThe “Social Justice Innovation Initiative” at the College of Social Work was made possible through a gift of longtime College supporter, Susan Cooper. The initiative offers a unique framework for understanding many of society’s most pressing issues around education, healthcare, and social justice. The focus of the initiative for 2018 was Working to Stop Racism.

The Initiative provided grants for students and faculty to creatively challenge social injustices in their communities. One of the funded projects for 2018, the Coalition of Black Social Workers was created with the goal of increasing diversity within the College and developing networking and mentoring opportunities for students of color in Middle Tennessee. Response to the Coalition from professionals in Middle Tennessee has been incredibly positive.

Mission statement:
The Coalition of Black Social Workers exists to engage, connect, and empower Black social work students and professionals in the community, with the goal of increasing awareness about issues specific to the Black community and cultivating a network of support.


Photo of black social workers

If you are interested in becoming member of the Coalition of Black Social Workers, please complete the Membership Application (PDF format).

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Person of Black African Ancestry and
  • Person pursuing a BSW, MSW, or PhD in Social Work, or
  • Holder of a BSW or higher degree in the field of social work

Benefits of Membership:

  • Networking opportunities with other social work professionals
  • Exposure to trainings, conferences, and workshops with Black leadership
  • Support from Black professional social workers
  • Opportunities for mentor/mentee relationships
  • Safe space to discuss issues specific to the black community.


One of the benefits of being a member of the Coalition is the ability for students to connect with social work professionals of color. If you are a student who is interested in being connected to a mentor, please complete the Mentee Application (PDF format). Once your application is received, someone from the Coalition will be in contact with you.

Photo of student membersIf you are a professional who wants to be involved in guiding and coaching a social work student of color, then please complete the Mentor Application (PDF format).

Mentorship Expectations:

  • One point of contact per month during the student’s school year. A point of contact can be defined as a phone call to check-in, meeting for coffee, attending a training together, etc.
  • Availability to answer questions, give advice, and offer support.
  • Commitment of one year with your student.

Benefits of Mentoring:

  • Enhancement of leadership and coaching skills
  • An opportunity to give back to the community and to the profession
  • Satisfaction from sharing wisdom and experience without a significant time commitment
  • Increased productivity due to increased satisfaction
  • Opportunity to stay up to date with current trends in the profession

For more information about the Coalition of Black Social Workers, please contact:
Carmen Reese Foster, LMSW, LSSW
Assistant Professor of Practice
Online Coordinator of MSSW Field Education
The University of Tennessee
College of Social Work
193 Polk Ave, Suite E
Nashville, TN 37210
Phone: 615-256-1885