Social Work Office of Research & Public Service




We build partnerships that leverage applied research, technology, and human connection to improve lives in Tennessee and beyond.


Thriving communities with equitable outcomes for all.


Innovation. Applying science, rigor, and creativity to meet unique partner and client needs.
Inclusion. Equipping programs and decision-makers to provide equitable access to opportunities and resources.
Empathy. Informing action with curiosity and understanding.
Collaboration. Building authentic relationships that power shared success.
Integrity. Exemplifying transparency, accuracy, and the highest standards of professional ethics.
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Our History

In 1975, the Office of Continuing Social Work Education (OCSWE) was established within the UT College of Social Work to provide specialized professional education for practicing social workers and to provide research and evaluation services to mostly government-funded programs.  In 1980, OCSWE was renamed the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS), and, over the last 43 years, our diverse, talented, deeply committed “SWORPees” have provided a wide array of services to public, private, and non-profit organizations both within Tennessee and nationwide.  We invite you to explore our website and learn more about the impact we have made in the areas of program evaluation, applied research, software development, systems engineering, training and professional development, data analytics and visualization, and direct service. 

Our Organization

College of Social Work

Office of Research


Heather Nielsen

Administrative Specialist

Daryl Chansuthus

SWORPS Director

Tonya Mathes

Finance & Operations Director

Deidre Ford

Division of Technology & Development Director

Sissie Hadjiharalambous

Division of Applied Research & Evaluation Director

Division of Field-Based Services

Jodi Sprayberry

CW/DV Partnership Statewide Coordinator

Toni Lawal

Statewide Coordinator

Nate First

KnoxHMIS & CHAMP Program Director

Heather Lamb

CCR&R Program Director

Dusty Cantrell

NE Relative Caregiver Program Director

Debbie Abrams-Cohen

TCSEPP State Director

Our Business Office

In the business office, we receive and collect information, record it, arrange, and process it, so we can communicate it back to the divisions of SWORPS who go out and make it all happen. 

Being a part of the business office in SWORPS is about more than just paperwork and spreadsheets.  We are a part of the entire team that provides the great services of SWORPS.  Sure, we process invoices, maintain data, prepare and review budgets, request budget revisions, oversee purchases, HR, payroll, travel, petty cash accounts, and assist in developing policy and procedures; but we do all this not only to ensure that UT and sponsor policies are followed and requirements are met, but also to ensure that SWORPees have the administrative support they need to provide the best possible service to our partners.   

Brody Beeler

Accounting Specialist

Ken Heflin

Research Accountant

Tonya Mathes

Finance & Operations Director​

Kelsi Robson

Human Resources Specialist

Cera Smith

Accounting Specialist

Contact Us

Give us a call​​

(865) 974-6015

Pay us a visit

UT Conference Center
600 Henley Street, Suite 224
Knoxville, TN 37996

Send us a message