Popular, longtime Social Work professor to retire this summer

Thursday, May 12, 2022

By Valerie Fields Hill
School of Social Work


Dr. Norman Cobb
Dr. Norman Cobb will retire by the end of the summer


Dr. Norman Cobb, associate professor and former head of the School of Social Work’s Community Service Center will retire later this summer after serving 33 years, School administrators announced.

Dr. Cobb is among the school’s longest serving faculty members. He began teaching and researching at the UTA School of Social Work in 1989.

Dr. Cobb headed the Community Service Center from 2001 to 2012. He taught Direct Practice in Mental Health, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention and Applied Social Work Practice, among other graduate-level courses.

School of Social Work Dean Scott Ryan said Dr. Cobb is among the school’s most celebrated professors.

Dr. Cobb earned the Fernando G. Torgerson Teaching Award a record 11 times. The honor is given annually to the School of Social Work professor who offers outstanding classroom instruction, as deemed by both students and peers.

“Norm is the quintessential clinician,” said Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs Dr. Katherine Sanchez, who has taught alongside Dr. Cobb for more than a decade.


“His knowledge of mental health diagnosis and treatment is phenomenal, and he shares his knowledge so effectively with students and colleagues,” Dr. Sanchez said. “His presence in the classroom, through his many years of service to the university, is a significant contribution to academia.”


Dr. Cobb also received numerous UTA and UT System teaching awards during his career. He is a member of the esteemed Academy of Distinguished Teachers on the campus.

“We are saddened to see Norm spend less time imparting his incredible wealth of knowledge with our Social Work students,” Dr. Ryan said. “But we’re so happy he will now have the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Brenda, adult children and two grandchildren.”

The School of Social Work honored Dr. Cobb May 6 during an invitation-only dinner and toast at Los Vaqueros Mexican restaurant in Fort Worth. The event included more than 60 family members, colleagues and other guests.

Fellow professors lauded Dr. Cobb for his years-long work preparing and mentoring Social Workers entering the field.

“I think Norm’s greatest contribution to the Social Work profession is through the licensing exam preparation course that he has taught to students preparing to leave graduate school and get licensed, and Social Workers in the community sitting for their advanced licensure exam,” said Dr. Katherine Sanchez, associate dean for research and faculty affairs.

“I bet Norm Cobb has single handedly prepared more social workers for the licensing exam, and touched more professionals in the DFW Metroplex, than all the other teachers combined,” she said. “The whole community owes Norm a huge thank you for getting our Social Work workforce licensed.”

Prior to coming to UTA, Dr. Cobb earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics at Texas Tech University and a Master’s in divinity at St. Paul School of Theology in Leawood, Kansas. He served for 48 years as a United Methodist minister.

Dr. Cobb changed careers, and in 1979 earned a master's degree in Social Work at UTA. In 1986, he earned a doctorate in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Cobb left California and taught classes at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, before returning to Texas.

In 1984, he began teaching at the University of North Texas. In 1989, he joined the UTA School of Social Work faculty and began teaching and researching intimate partner violence.