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KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee Acting President Emerson H. Fly has asked about two-dozen prominent Tennesseans to spend the next few months helping chart the future direction of the UT Space Institute.

The individuals, representing higher education as well as the Middle Tennessee community, will begin work in early January and are expected to submit a proposal to Fly by June 30. They will be divided into two groups, one focused on academic and research issues and the other looking at the role of UTSI in the lower Middle Tennessee region.

“The Space Institute has contributed significantly to the economic development of the region since its creation in 1964,” Fly said. “Changing federal research priorities have adversely impacted the institution, and we must realign UTSI-s mission to reflect these realities.”

Dr. John W. Prados, retired UT Vice President for Academic Affairs, will chair the “Academic and Research Review Committee,” while Dr. Edward M. Kraft, Technical Advisor for Arnold Engineering Development Center, will chair the “UTSI Revitalization Task Force.” Each will also serve on the other group to provide linkages.

Fly announced at the UT Board of Trustees meeting on December 11 that he was transferring administrative responsibility for UTSI to UT Vice President and Provost Loren Crabtree and would appoint the two groups by the end of the year.

“The committee chaired by John Prados will make sure that our academic programs at the Space Institute are aligned properly with those at Knoxville,” Fly said. “These are largely internal matters.

“I want Dr. Kraft-s task force to help us determine the match between the economic development priorities of the region and the role that UTSI can play in this mix along with other educational providers.”

Fly noted that Kraft was a logical choice to chair the externally-focused task force because of the long-standing relationship between AEDC and UTSI.

Members of Kraft-s task force include Dr. John E. Caruthers, UTSI-s Chief Operating Officer and Dean for Academic Affairs; Dr. William J. Davis, Scientific Advisor, AEDC; Dr. David P. D. Elrod, Senior Vice President and General Manager of SVERDRUP Technology Inc.; Homer S. Fisher, Senior Vice President Emeritus and Director of Oak Ridge Operations for UT; John W. Greeter of Manchester, member of the UTSI Support Council; Dan J. Marcum, Chairman of Marcum Capital; Dr. Charles L. Merkle, UTSI Professor; James L. Nicholson, Vice President and General Manager of ACS; and Prados.

Six individuals will serve as resources for the task force as it examines economic development and educational issues. They are Dr. Bob Bell, President of Tennessee Technological University; Dr. Thomas J. Cheatham, Interim Dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at Middle Tennessee State University; Dr. A. Frank Glass, President of Motlow State Community College; Tony Grande, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; T. C. Parsons, Executive Director of UT-s Center for Industrial Services; and Dr. John Schaerer, Assistant to the Chancellor at UT Chattanooga.

Members of Prados- committee include Dr. Bruce W. Bomar, UTSI Associate Professor; Dr. Gregory D. Reed, Professor and Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UT-s Knoxville campus; Dr. Lee Riedinger, Deputy for Science and technology at UT-Battelle, manager of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Dr. Robert C. Ward, Professor of Computer Science, Knoxville; Dr. Clifton Woods, Vice Provost, Knoxville, and Kraft.

Dr. T. Dwayne McCay, UT Vice President for Research and Information Technology and the former senior administrator at UTSI, will serve as a resource person for the committee.