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After several months of planning on the part of the UT Knoxville Women’s Administrators group, we are pleased to invite applications and nominations for the inaugural class of the UT Knoxville Women’s Leadership Program. This program is specifically created to encourage a stronger pipeline of women faculty and staff members into campus leadership positions.

Although in recent years UT Knoxville has advanced significantly on this front, there remain noticeable deficits of women in many administrative positions, and the current leadership opportunities for women (Bryn Mawr HERS, SEC Academic Leadership Development) are limited to numbers that will not support significant headway on this issue. Specifically, the following objectives have been identified for the program:

  1. Improve understanding of what leadership is,
  2. Build self-awareness and strengthen unique leadership capabilities,
  3. Become familiar with the overall structure and function of higher education administration,
  4. Provide skills and tactics to help women survive and flourish,
  5. Increase success rates of all women across campus as women in leadership positions provide modeling and mentoring (note: this is particularly important in STEM areas).

The program is a one-year commitment. It will begin with a one-week leadership-intensive session May 17-21, 2010, and it will continue with summer readings and reflection assignments, meetings one afternoon every month during the nine-month academic year, and a three-day wrap-up in May 2011. The sessions and meetings will consist of a combination of readings, speakers and discussions. These will encompass topics on personal development (e.g., career planning, time management, and work/life balance), leadership (e.g., negotiation, conflict management, leading change), and specific higher education concerns (e.g., diversity, resource management, legal and political considerations, fund-raising, and shared governance).

In addition, several “hands-on” assignments will be integrated to help participants apply their learnings to specific tasks and campus problems (e.g., communications, teamwork exercises, budget analysis, and interviews with key UT Knoxville leaders).

We are looking for applicants and nominees with the following profiles:

  1. Employees of UT for at least five years,
  2. Either staff exempt or faculty members (the latter should typically be tenured and at least associate professor rank),
  3. Are either already in leadership positions or have an interest in and potential for such roles,
  4. Are recommended by their dean, department head, supervisor or other appropriate administrator,
  5. Are characterized by
    1. Exemplary service to UT,
    2. Leadership potential,
    3. Having some consideration about how she might contribute to UT in the future.

The following information for each applicant is due electronically to Linda Silvers ( by November 30, 2009, and should include the following:

  • Current resume or vita
  • Letter(s) of recommendation from dean, department head, supervisor, or other relevant administrator
  • Two short essays on the following topics:
    • What would you like to achieve through your participation in the UTK Women’s Leadership Program?
    • What are your leadership and career goals?
  • Interviews may also be conducted as a part of the selection process.

A selection committee will make recommendations to the Provost regarding the composition of the inaugural class by mid-December, and we hope to inform participants of their status by the end of the fall 2009 semester to facilitate unit planning and scheduling.

Please feel free to contact Sarah Fisher Gardial with any additional questions ( or 974-6152).