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They explore the planets. Dredge remote tropical lakes for clues about the past. Make us ask tough questions about – of all things – sports.

They’re experts in logistics, in the world of online publishing, and the mysteries of nanoscale materials science. They find ways to break through redtape so that at-risk children get sorely needed services.

But the seven UT Knoxville professors chosen for the inaugural class of Chancellor’s Professors – the university’s highest permanent academic honor – also have many things in common, including enormous scholarly productivity, a proven commitment to their students and results that change the way we think.

In short, they embody UT’s mission as a land grant institution: to teach, conduct research and serve.

"These are outstanding individuals who promote new ideas and create paths for future inquiry," says Interim Chancellor Jan Simek. "They embody scholarship because they assimilate information and, with great energy and creativity, apply what they’ve learned to develop new knowledge."

Chancellor's Professor Joy T. DeSensiChancellor’s Professor Joy T. DeSensi, professor of exercise, sport and leisure studies and associate dean of the Graduate School, is passionate about the sociocultural issues of sport and diversity and ethics in sport management.

Chancellor's Professor Charles GlissonChancellor’s Professor Charles Glisson, distinguished professor of social work and director of the Children’s Mental Health Services Center, finds ways to cut through red tape so that social and mental health services can be delivered to troubled children.

Chancellor's Professor Sally HornChancellor’s Professor Sally Horn, professor of geography, examines the effect of human activity and climatic change on the vegetation of the Latin American tropics. When not on campus, Horn and her students are likely to be found extracting sediment samples from the bottoms of tropical lakes.

Chancellor's Professor Harry "Hap" McSweenChancellor’s Professor Harry "Hap" McSween, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Earth and Planetary sciences, studies meteorites and what they tell us about the formation and evolution of the solar system.

Chancellor's Professor John T. "Tom" MentzerChancellor’s Professor John T. "Tom" Mentzer, professor of marketing and logistics, has served as a consultant to more than 100 corporations and government agencies.

Chancellor's Professor George PharrChancellor’s Professor George Pharr, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has gained national and international recognition as a leader in thin film mechanical properties, nanoindentation and the mechanical behavior of materials.

Chancellor's Professor Carol TenopirChancellor’s Professor Carol Tenopir, professor of information sciences, studies the ways the digital age affects how we retrieve and process information. She is a thought leader in the online information industry.

For more information on the Chancellor’s Professors visit