Jan Simek has been named interim chancellor for the UT Knoxville campus. Simek previously was chief of staff for Chancellor Loren Crabtree, is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and served as interim dean of the College of Architecture and Design for two years.
Simek fills 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.
"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," UT President John Petersen said. "I look forward to working with him."
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.
"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.