School of Social Work 1942
Original Location of the Nashville School of Social Work

Degrees Making a Difference 

UTK College of Social Work Alums Give Back to Their Communities

Camille Stone Roberts
Camille Stone Roberts was one
of the first two graduates of the
Nashville School of Social work

The Alums of UT College of Social Work Give Back to Their Communities

The academic life of our College began in September of 1942, when the Nashville School of Social Work opened its doors with five full-time faculty and 40 students, 25 of whom were full-time. By 1944, the school had been accredited by the American Association of Schools of Social Work. In June of that year, two of those early students received Master of Science in Social Work degrees.

Camille S. Roberts was one of those first graduates of the Nashville School of Social Work.  After graduation in 1944, she began her career as a healthcare social worker in the social services department at Vanderbilt Hospital prior to moving to Asheville in 1947.

During her life, Roberts had served on the boards of the Travelers Aid Society, the Family Council, the Governor's Council on Day Care (1969-1973), the Asheville Day Nursery, the Buncombe County Day Care Council and the YWCA. She was also a member of the Children's Welfare League. Roberts died on May 16, 2012.

Since the founding of our school, 7,989 individuals have graduated from campuses across the state of Tennessee including Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis. Now, there are even graduates of online programs.

Today’s graduates practice in many fields, using their training and skills to meet the needs of individuals and supporting social service organizations across Tennessee and the nation. Here are just a handful of the individuals who have graduated from the program and what they do each day.

Pam Wolf, Anna Li Wolf, and Former Dean Eunice Shatz from October 1995 Issue of Stimulus
Stimulus from October 1995 featured Pam Wolf
and her baby Anna Li Wolf, pictured here
with former Dean Eunice Shatz.

Pamela L. Wolf, LCSW, Founder and CEO of Harmony, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master’s degree from the University ofTennessee. Pam has focused her career on providing quality adoption services to children and families. In 1996, Harmony began as a vision for providing real assistance to children in state care. Inspired by the experience of adopting her own daughter, Wolf prepared the first of the cases served by Harmony at her kitchen table. Today, Harmony directly employs 36 workers and sub-contracts with 50 to 60 additional social service workers across Tennessee and with an operating budget of nearly 5 million dollars.

Each year Harmony assists over 1,000 children and youth, all of whom were formerly in Tennessee’s foster-care system. Wolf is motivated by the desire to keep kids and their families together. The organization is proud to say that less than one percent of the children they work with go back into foster care. This stands in contrast to a national disruption rate of 15 percent and higher. Part of their success is attributable to an extensive adoption support and preservation program as well as an extensive system of creative interventions such as therapeutic family support camps, adventure-based learning initiatives, and equine-assisted psychotherapy.

Kristi Kulesz, LMSW; Pam Wof, LCSW; and Elizabeth Carroll, BSSW, JD
Kristi Kulesz, LMSW; Pam Wolf, LCSW;
and Elizabeth Carroll, BSSW, JD

One of the hallmarks of Harmony is the practice of collaborating with other non-profit agencies. Having recently purchased Montvale Camp, outside of Maryville, TN, the organization is hoping that the property will be utilized to benefit other populations beyond those served by Harmony, especially in relation to equine-psychotherapy, challenge/adventure courses, and natural elements such as hiking trails.

In addition to CEO Pamela Wolf, Harmony is staffed by a large number of graduates from the UT Knoxville College of Social Work as well as graduates from other UT programs. 

Visit http://harmonyadoptions.org/ for more information about Harmony Adoptions and Harmony Family Center at Montvale.

Individuals in the picture to the left are: Kristi Kulesz, LMSW, Family Therapist and Clinical Supervisor with the Adoption Support & Preservation program, Pam Wolf, LCSW, CEO of Hamony, and Elizabeth Carroll, BSSW, JD, Chief Administrative Officer and legal counsel for Harmony. Click here or on the picture for a slideshow tour of Harmony's new Family Center at Montvale Camp in Maryville, TN. The Therapeutic Camp that will benefit children adopted from foster care, their adoptive families, and the community. In the slideshow you will see several of the Centers therapeutic animals including the horses, Moonpie and Rainey, the dog, Becca, and the goat, Otis.

James J. Kelly, President of Menlo College
James J. Kelly, President
of Menlo College

Jim Kelly, PhD, who served as President of the National Association of Social Work from 2008 to 2011, received his MSSW from the University of Tennessee. Kelly is currently serving as President of Menlo College in Atherton, CA. Prior to Menlo he served as Interim Provost and Associate Vice President for Continuing and International Education at California State University, East Bay, and Dean of Health and Human Services at California State University, Los Angeles.

Teaching for seventeen years in the areas of gerontology, social work, and student orientation, Kelly was a Professor and the Director of the Department of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach. In addition to opening MSW programs at California State University, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and East Bay, he was a pioneer in distance education having used technology to help establish masters programs for California State University, Chico, Humboldt, Hayward, and Bakersfield.

"My heartfelt congratulations to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Social Work on its 70th anniversary,” states Dr. Kelly.  “The excellent work you do in educating social workers has a lasting and powerful impact on your students as they help the underserved throughout our nation. My education gave me the tools to step into a noble profession and continues to inspire me to advocate for social justice."

For more information about Dr. James Kelly, visit http://www.menlo.edu/about-menlo/james-j-kelly-president-menlo-college

Niya Butts from Lady Vol days
Niya Butts, as a Lady Vol, with Pat Summitt

Niya Butts, BS Social Work, graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Though she has not gone on to formally practice social work, she gives back to her community every day and every season as head coach of the Arizona Wildcats. While at UT, this energetic basketball player helped the Lady Vols advance to four straight NCAA tournaments, including back-to-back NCAA championship titles (1997 and 1998) and three SEC Champions (1998, 1999, 2000).

Niya Butts, head coach of the Arizona Wildcats
Niya Butts, head coach
of the Arizona Wildcats

Pat Summitt, has stated, "Niya Butts is one of the bright young coaches in the women's collegiate game. I see this [appointment to the Wildcats] as a tremendous opportunity for her to take over the reins of her own program at Arizona and to compete in one of the nation's best conferences─the Pac 10. I see her taking the same qualities I saw in her as a player en route to two NCAA Championships─doing all the little things right─and applying them as a head coach at the University of Arizona."

For more information about Niya Butts visit http://www.arizonawildcats.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/butts_niya00.html

Across Tennessee, the United States and the world, graduates of the College of Social Work have led as compassionate professionals, helping the people that they meet and serve to lead healthier and happier lives.