University of Tennessee Knoxville

Office of the Provost Newsletter


As we come to the end of another academic year, I want to convey my gratitude for your work and commitment to the university’s mission and vision. Reflection on the completed academic year and gratitude for your work are common in May, with commencements happening throughout our community. Yet even though such sentiments are common, they are no less deeply felt and broadly experienced across our campus.
As I reflect on the closing academic year, I see record enrollment, record research achievements, and new levels of engagement with our wide-ranging communities. This week we will confer approximately 3,900 undergraduate degrees and 1,300 graduate and professional degrees. Happy graduates and proud families will swarm to Thompson-Boling Arena, all of them guided to that culminating moment by your commitment to learning, dedication to scholarship and creative work, and engagement with the vision of making life and lives better. You have made a difference to so many this year, and we are grateful for your hard work.
As you wind down this academic year and before you move on to your activity for the summer months, I invite you to remember the moments over the past year where you joined with students and colleagues to make something new—an insight, a discovery, a connection, a fresh awareness—and draw confirmation of the importance of our work from that reflection. May it also be a source of renewal as you look to the future.
The Volunteer community is enriched by your efforts. I hope that summer brings well-earned rest and recovery from the hectic pace of the academic year.
It is truly an honor to work beside you every day.
John Zomchick
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

News and Notes

One of the goals of the campus taskforce on the emergence of AI tools in higher education was to develop suggested syllabi language for faculty use. Suggested statements are now available. There are three types of recommend statements: 1) open use, 2) moderate use, and 3) strict use. Faculty are invited to use the suggested statement that best fits their courses. Thank you to all the faculty and staff engaged in this effort for your hard work, collaboration, and interest in this crucial topic. View suggested syllabus statements.
The Office of Innovative Technologies (OIT) High Performance & Scientific Computing (HPSC) group, in partnership with the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED), will host an Artificial Intelligence Research Computing Symposium via Zoom on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Learn more about the symposium.
The 18 faculty members participating in the 2023 Volunteer Experience Faculty Fellows Program competed the first half of their fellowship in the spring 2023 semester. As one fellow noted, "Working with colleagues across campus and disciplines has helped me identify shared challenges we all face every day and develop straight-forward tools to make us better faculty and members of our shared community." Learn more about the faculty fellows' work and plans for fall 2023.
Student research overseen by 331 faculty mentors was showcased during the annual Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EURēCA) in April. Thank you to all of the faculty mentors. EURēCA involved 1,179 students showing 868 projects. Nine colleges and the Baker Center for Public Policy were represented with students from over 56 departments participating in EURēCA.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Student Success recently announced the inaugural class of University Honors Faculty Fellows, consisting of 12 faculty members from various colleges on campus. Charged with developing a core honors curriculum, Faculty Fellows have started laying the groundwork for the development of a comprehensive and engaging curriculum to ensure students will be equipped with the necessary tools to effectively navigate their path to success in their academic and professional pursuits.
Faculty can learn more about the new College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies (CECS), including how they can engage with CECS, on the new CECS webpage. Visit
The 2022-2023 Academic Calendar has been updated to add June 19th (Juneteenth) as a new state and UT system-wide holiday, effective immediately. Campus will be closed on June 19, 2023. Because the state legislature approved the new holiday late in the spring 2023 term, the university is unable to adjust instructional time in the 2022-2023 Academic Calendar. “Juneteenth is an important event in our nation’s history, and I am pleased that Tennessee recognized its significance by declaring it a state holiday,” Provost John Zomchick said. “I ask all summer session instructors to be flexible and plan make-up instructional time for their classes this summer. Moving forward, we will add this new state holiday to future academic calendars.”


In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): Achievements, recognitions, and more good news
Jack Dongarra, professor emeritus in the Tickle College of Engineering and a research and development staff member in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Computer Science and Mathematics Division, was one of 120 members and 23 international members elected to the National Academy of Sciences “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”
After more than three decades of teaching and researching in his field, Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations Professor Eric Haley was recently honored with the American Academy of Advertising’s Ivan L. Preston Outstanding Contribution to Research Award. This award recognizes the recipient’s lifetime of research and its impact. Rather than being given out annually, the honor is only awarded when a deserving candidate is nominated.
College of Law Professor Emeritus Dean Rivkin recently received the Svitlana Kravchenko Environmental Rights Award at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference held in March of this year. The recognition is given annually to those who make broad impacts in the law throughout their lifetime while working to support local communities.
Deb Barton, the McMahan-McKinley Endowed Professor of Gerontology in the College of Nursing, has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Fellows are ASCO members who have shown extraordinary dedication for their voluntary efforts that benefit the Society, the specialty of oncology, and most importantly, the patients whom they serve.
Sharon Jean-Philippe has been announced as the incoming Faculty Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (OURF) within the Division of Student Success. Jean-Philippe will work with the OURF Director and OURF staff to foster a campus culture where undergraduate research is a deeply engaging experience accessible to all students.
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

Faculty and their family members are invited to an evening of free food, music, and activities at the Spring Celebration for Faculty, scheduled from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on May 25 in Circle Park. Please visit the event web page for more information and to register you and your guest(s).

Leading and Learning

Upcoming professional development opportunities

Contact Us

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

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