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KNOXVILLE – They explore the planets, dredge remote tropical lakes for clues about the past and make us ask tough questions about — of all things — sports. They’re experts in logistics, in the world of online publishing and in the mysteries of nanoscale materials science. They find ways to break through red tape so that at-risk children get sorely needed services.

But the seven UT Knoxville senior faculty members named today as members of 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, those selected for this new honor 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 Professors are appointed by the chancellor based upon the recommendation of the provost. Going forward, the Chancellor’s Professors themselves will recommend new members in the spring of each year. The total number of Chancellor’s Professors will be capped at 18 to 20 honorees at any point in time. Their responsibilities include advising campus administration and participating in a Chancellor’s Professors Lecture Series.

With the honor comes a one-time research stipend of $20,000.

Interim Chancellor Jan Simek and Interim Provost Susan Martin unveil the new faculty honor today at a reception prior to the Faculty Senate’s regular meeting. The inaugural class of Chancellor’s professors includes:

Chancellor’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 all aspects of diversity and ethics in sport management.

Chancellor’s Professor Charles Glisson, professor of social work, finds ways to cut through red tape so that social and mental health services can be delivered to troubled children. As director of the Children’s Mental Health Services Center, he designs practical steps that improve child welfare, juvenile justice and mental health services.

Chancellor’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 hiking to remote areas to extract sediment samples from tropical lakes.

Chancellor’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” Mentzer, professor of marketing and logistics, has served as a consultant to more than 100 corporations and government agencies.

Chancellor’s Professor George Pharr, head of the materials science and engineering department, has gained national and international recognition as a leader in the areas of nanoindentation and small-scale mechanical behavior of materials.

Chancellor’s Professor Carol Tenopir, professor of information sciences, studies the ways the digital age affects how we retrieve and process information. She has published and taught extensively about the impact of technology on reference librarians and scientists, and is a thought leader in the online information industry.


Clark Miller, (865) 974-5229,