University of Tennessee Knoxville

Office of the Provost Newsletter


I hope you found time to rest during spring break. As you return for the final half of the semester, I wanted to update you on two important initiatives.
First, I am pleased to share that the three new academic units —the College of Music, Howard H. Baker Jr. School of Public Policy and Public Affairs, and the College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies — have received approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Each new unit will begin operations July 1.
Dr. Jeff Pappas will be the dean of the College of Music. Dr. Marianne Wanamaker will be dean of the Baker School, and Dr. Ozlem Kilic will serve as both interim vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies.
The units will meet critical needs in our state and provide new opportunities for faculty and students. They have a bright future.
Second, I want to thank the many faculty members who are engaged in campus conversations on AI tools (ChatGPT) as part of the initiative organized by the Division of Academic Affairs. It is clear AI will impact our work. I appreciate the efforts of the campus steering committee and task force committees to develop policy recommendations, provide guidance that empowers faculty, and help us all navigate this new technology. They have made much progress in just a few weeks.
The task force committees plan to develop sample statements faculty can use in their course syllabi based on their needs and provide discussion points for consideration by the undergraduate and graduate academic policy committees. I encourage all faculty to stay up to date on this important work.
Welcome back and Go Vols!
John Zomchick
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

News and Notes

The campus honorary degree nominating committee is accepting nominations for honorary degrees, the highest form of recognition offered by the University of Tennessee. Nominators must hold a current faculty appointment with UT. Nominations are due April 19. Information about criteria, required documentation, and a link to the nomination form are available on the honorary degree information page.
The Division of Student Success has recently announced the 18 faculty members participating in the 2023 Volunteer Experience Faculty Fellows Program. Led by Faculty Director Sally Hunter, the Volunteer Experience Faculty Fellows Program comprises university faculty interested in engaging in well-being pedagogy and promoting well-being constructs amongst their respective departments.
UT's College of Social Work recently announced the establishment of the Roger and Carol Nooe Endowed Chair, which is the first of its kind in the college's 81-year history. Made possible by a $2 million gift from Phillip and Janet Lawson, the funding will support a senior scholar with research expertise in mental health practice.
Baldwin Lee, a former and beloved professor in the School of Art, was recently featured in The Guardian. Almost 30 years after being taken, his black and white photography is on display at the David Hill Gallery in London. Lee is most well known for his depiction of the Black experience in the American South.
The Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures has changed its name to the Department of World Languages and Cultures. The new name reflects not only the variety of interests in the department, but the communities they serve, support, and represent. 


In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): Achievements, recognitions, and more good news
Amadou Sall, lecturer and vice chair of the Department of Africana Studies, received the 2023 MLK Education Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission

Sergey Gavrilets, Distinguished Professor in UT's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to research how social media are affecting human social and cultural evolution. The $1.2 million grant is the largest Templeton Foundation award in UT history.
UT will lead a multi-institutional University Transportation Center aimed at improving the mobility of people and goods across the country. Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, this five-year effort represents a partnership with Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois Chicago, Oregon State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and California State University, Long Beach.
UT Governor’s Chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing and Professor Uday Vaidya recently received a Society for Plastics Engineers 2023 Fellow of Society Award. The prestigious award honors Vaidya for his outstanding contributions in the field of plastics engineering, science/technology, or in the management of such activities.
Two UTIA faculty members were selected for the 19th class of the Leadership for the 21st Century (LEAD21) program. Jennie Ivey, an associate professor and equine Extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science, and Andrew Muhammad, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, were selected for the program, which is aimed at developing leaders in land-grant institutions.
UT's McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture has been awarded a grant of $145,000 from the Terra Foundation for American Art in support of the upcoming exhibition “A Sense of Indigenous Place: Native American Voices and the Mound at University of Tennessee.”
There is more good news on campus than can fit in one newsletter. If you have some good news you'd like to send us for a future monthly edition, we'd love to hear it. Send a 2-3 sentence summary and link to

Making Connections

Upcoming events where you can gather, connect with colleagues, and have fun.

Leading and Learning

Upcoming professional development opportunities
“Listen. Learn. Lead.” Week: Pen America Workshops
As part of “Listen. Learn. Lead.” Week, PEN America is offering workshops for faculty and staff on Thursday, March 30. The workshops will address the most pressing issues facing college campuses in the realm of free speech and academic freedom. Each session stands alone, or they can be taken together. All faculty and staff are invited. Please register in advance.
    • April 5 | Engaging in your Department/College and Being a Good University Citizen
    • April 19 | Teaching Reflections and Strategies for the End of the Semester
    Faculty Vitality Workshop Series
    Faculty Promotion and Review Workshops
    Teaching and Learning Innovation Spring Workshops

    Contact Us

    Office of the Provost
    527 Andy Holt Tower
    Knoxville, TN 37996-0184
    Phone: 865-974-2445

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