University of Tennessee, Knoxville — Cooper-Herron Endowed Professorship in Mental Health Practice and Research

Cooper-Herron Endowed Professorship in Mental Health Practice and Research

The University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Social Work (UTCSW) is seeking a highly regarded scholar to fill the position of Cooper-Herron Endowed Professorship in Mental Health Practice and Research. This endowed professorship offers an outstanding opportunity for an experienced behavioral health researcher to pursue their program of research with significant potential for collaboration with creative colleagues and doctoral students. We offer a reduced teaching load to allow for greater focus on conducting programmatic research. It is expected that the person who fills this position would actively contribute to the growing research portfolio within the college by pursuing and receiving external funding for their program of research. This 9-month faculty position, which can be housed on the Knoxville or Nashville campuses, offers a highly competitive salary with excellent fringe benefits.

With over 850 students enrolled in undergraduate, MSSW, DSW, and PhD programs in Knoxville, Nashville, and online, the UTCSW is preparing highly skilled and culturally sensitive social workers to address areas of need across the state, the country, and the globe. We are also looking for a qualified candidate who will help the CSW move forward in our commitment to anti-oppressive practice, equity, inclusive excellence, and social justice. We are committed to education, scholarship, and service that together move the needle on the social and economic problems that disproportionately affect under resourced and minoritized populations.

The University and the College of Social Work

The University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) recognizes its role as a land-grant, flagship Research-1 institution as stated in its new strategic vision that imagines “a world enriched by our ideas, improved through action, and inspired by the Volunteer Spirit of service and leadership.” ( The CSW is moving forward on this vision under the dynamic leadership of Dean Lori Messinger and our senior leadership team to deepen our impact as educators, researchers, and scholars. College faculty conduct interdisciplinary research that focuses on the needs of under resourced groups. We value engaged scholarship and strong collaboration across the university and the country, as exemplified in the University and College Strategic Plans. The university is also actively promoting multidisciplinary and translational studies in human health and wellbeing. The person hired in this position would become a member of this exceptional and thriving academic community.

The successful candidate will be a respected researcher with a national or international reputation and a strong record of scholarly accomplishment, including a sustained record of funding from NIH, NSF, and/or other external funders. Their research should fit within the broad area of mental health and health behaviors, meaning executing studies in the development, prevention, and/or treatment of mental and emotional disorders and/or the behaviors associated with them. Emphasis on specific periods of the life course – childhood through old age – is open. The CSW has a growing portfolio of research focusing on behavioral health and mental health sequelae of life experiences (e.g., trauma, immigration stress, climate disasters) and studies developing and testing innovative models of prevention and treatment. Preference will be given to researchers who demonstrate interdisciplinary research experience.

The newly hired endowed professor would find useful collaboration opportunities within The Center for Behavioral Health Research (CBHR). The CBHR conducts a broad spectrum of behavioral health studies of children, adolescents, adults, families, and communities. Its research incorporates faculty, staff, and students from a variety of disciplines at UTK and other universities. Since its founding in 1988, the CBHR’s work has been largely funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Other funders include the Health Resources and Services Administration, The W.T. Grant Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and other private foundations and donors.

Campus Locations

The City of Knoxville is a hidden gem with a beautiful and walkable downtown, a diverse music scene, active neighborhoods, unique restaurants, outstanding athletic opportunities, and a robust offering of outdoor and cultural activities. Knoxville enjoys the charm of a small city with activities that range from green energy initiatives and community greenways to thriving festival culture, music, culinary, and outdoor recreation scenes. Knoxville’s community brings events such as the Asian Festival, Knoxville Opera’s Rossini Festival, Kuumba Festival, Hola Festival, Dogwood Arts Festival to name a few. The city is also home to the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Beck Cultural Center, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the Frank H. McClung Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Appalachia is a short drive from Knoxville.. Citing affordability and quality of life, U.S. News and World Report ranks Knoxville among the best places to live.

Nashville is an action-packed and vibrant metropolis with so much more to offer than its famous Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry. It is currently listed as #30 on the U.S. News and World report’s best Places to Live (2021) and offers events such as the CMA Festival, the Nashville Film Festival, Live on the Green, Tomato Art Fest, and the Nashville Pride Festival. Nashville is also home to several HBCUs with dynamic campus activities. Outside of Nashville’s busy downtown Broadway scene, there are lots of unique neighborhoods filled with fantastic ethnic food options and cultural events, with unlimited opportunities to explore gorgeous parks and greenways, both inside and outside the city limits. Nashville is a short distance away from national parks that are great for camping and hiking.

To be considered for this outstanding opportunity, qualified candidates must have

  • Doctoral degree in social work, psychology, medicine, public health, sociology or other behavior health-related field
  • An established, active program of research related to mental health care
  • Evidence of strong commitment to continuing their programs of research
  • An articulated understanding of diversity and inclusive excellence in scholarship, and evidence of commitment to creating an inclusive, supportive climate in the workplace
  • Evidence of commitment to mentoring junior faculty and post-doctoral fellows who are developing programs of externally-funded research
  • Candidates for Associate Professor should have a record of increasing peer reviewed publications and presentations, an established record of applying for and obtaining external funding, and a growing record of excellent teaching and mentoring
  • Candidates for Full Professor should have a record of strong scholarship in terms of peer reviewed publications and presentations, a sustained record of applying for and obtaining external funding with experience leading research teams, and an established record of excellent teaching and mentoring. 

Candidates meeting preferred qualifications will have:

  • Graduate degree in Social Work
  • History of a commitment to collaborative and interdisciplinary research efforts
  • Experience leading research teams

The Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee is seeking candidates who have the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the University.

Application Instructions
Interested individuals should provide
: (1) a cover letter addressing professional experience relevant to each required and preferred qualification, (2) curriculum vitae, (3) contact information for three professional references. Priority consideration will be given to applications submitted by November 1, 2022, though review will continue until an appointment is made. Materials should be submitted electronically through Inquiries may be addressed to the search committee chair, Dr. Lizzie Bowland

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the university. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, and national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), the ADA (disability), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity, 1840 Melrose Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-3560, telephone 865-974-2498. Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity.