KNOXVILLE — Jan Simek has been named interim chancellor for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus, President John Petersen announced Monday. Simek previously was chief of staff for UT Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree, is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and served as interim dean of the UT Knoxville College of Architecture and Design for two years.
Jan SimekSimek will assume responsibilities as interim chancellor effective immediately, filling the vacancy created by Crabtree’s resignation on Jan. 3. A search committee to fill the post is expected to be named within two weeks.
“I am grateful to Jan Simek for his willingness to further serve the university in this critical capacity,” Petersen said. “Jan is a respected member of university leadership and has proven experience with both the faculty and the administration. I am confident in his ability to lead the flagship campus through this transition, and I believe he will have the full confidence and support of the faculty, administration and students.
“As I sought input in filling this position, Jan received a strong endorsement from Chancellor Crabtree and he was among those suggested to me last week by members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. I look forward to working with him in the weeks ahead, and I know he shares the commitment to resolve issues and move forward.”
Simek, who served as Crabtree’s chief of staff since 2005, is an archaeologist who came to UT Knoxville in 1984 as an assistant professor of anthropology. He is now a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and formerly served as head of the Anthropology Department for eight years, the interim director of the School of Art and served as interim dean in the College of Architecture and Design for two years.
Simek acknowledged Crabtree’s leadership in nationally recognized achievements for the campus. He said that among the interim appointment’s many challenges, the most significant is to ensure that progress is maintained.
“I am honored to have been given this opportunity, and I am proud to be a part of this campus,” Simek said. “As the university’s flagship campus and premier research institution, UT Knoxville occupies a unique and critical role in the state’s success.
“It’s essential that through the transition and in selecting a new leader, we sustain the momentum already achieved in strong research and academic program successes and in attracting and graduating students,” Simek said.
Simek received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master’s degree and doctorate from the State University of New York in Binghamton. He has carried out archaeological research in France, Italy, Croatia, California and Tennessee, and has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the French Ministry of Culture. He has held visiting faculty appointments at the University of Washington, the University of Bordeaux and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.
He lives in Seymour with Mary Ann, his wife of 21 years.
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