KNOXVILLE — Long-time University of Tennessee professor and administrator Dr. Jan Simek has been named executive assistant to UTK Chancellor Loren Crabtree.
The appointment is effective immediately.
“I am grateful to Jan for accepting appointment to this critical job. His administrative experience, creative problem solving skills, and positive energy will be great assets to me and my staff as we raise the University of Tennessee into the top ranks of research universities worldwide and as we continue to educate Tennessee-s best and brightest students,” Crabtree said.
Simek will continue to co-direct the Quality Enhancement Plan, a 10-year initiative to prepare UT students for working and living in a global community.
He is distinguished professor of science in the UT anthropology department who joined the faculty in 1984. He has served as head of anthropology, interim director of the School of Art, and interim dean of the College of Architecture and Design.
Simek is internationally honored for his expertise in human evolution and cave archaeology. For more than 20 years, Simek, with researchers from the University of Bordeaux, led excavations of habitation caves in southern France, not far from the location of the world-famous cave paintings at Lascaux. UT undergraduate and graduate students made up an important part of the international field crews. The work uncovered unprecedented evidence that the differences between the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, both distinct ancestors of modern humans, may have been quite small.
The excavation was featured on the public television series NOVA, and the work attracted funding from the French Ministry of Culture, the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the Leakey Foundation.
Simek also is a leading expert on prehistoric cave art in the Southeastern United States.
He holds the university-s 2002 Extraordinary Community Service Award for his active lecture schedule at football Saturday Pre-Game Showcases, alumni chapter meetings, Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, retirement centers, historical societies, and schools throughout Knox County.
He received UT’s 2001 Research and Creative Achievement Award and has reported research findings in articles for major journals such as American Antiquity, Journal of Human Evolution, Southeastern Archaeology, and Journal of Field Archaeology.
Simek-s anthropology degrees include the master of arts in 1978 and the Ph.D. in 1984 from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and the bachelor of arts in 1976 from the University of California at Santa Cruz.