It is not every day that you see the chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, walking to class.
“It’s been a long time since I have been a student and I am looking forward to the opportunity to going to class. It’s been a long time actually since I have been to a class,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.
Chancellor Cheek is taking part in the “Walk In My Shoes” program organized by the Student Government Association (SGA).
The goal of the program is for students to show administrators what a typical day is like for them by having the administrators tag along with them for part of the day.
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“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a student at the University of Tennessee, to see one of our classrooms, see one of our professors, to see the students,” said the chancellor.
The chancellor wasn’t sure what to expect as he walked with Ross Rowland to his Political Science 101 class. But one thing is for sure, the chancellor’s attendance didn’t go unnoticed.
“I think they were definitely surprised that he was sitting right there in the class,” said Rowland, a rising junior in the arts and sciences department.
Rowland’s class was a review for the final in which students played jeopardy. In the heat of the game, the students forgot the head of the university was sitting in the room and Chancellor Cheek got an inside look of what a class at UT Knoxville is like.
“It got a little candid at times, so I think he got to see what a typical class is like,” Rowland said. “So it wasn’t too different than a typical class.”
“I was impressed with the answers. I am glad I didn’t have to answer those questions,” Chancellor Cheek said. “In general I think I would do just fine but I am glad I didn’t have to answer those specific questions.”
At the end of the day, the chancellor learned more than just some facts about the U.S. government, he learned what it is like to be a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“Any time you get an opportunity to interact with the students, you get a better understanding of what the students do and how the university helps them along the way,” the chancellor said.
“He is a good guy and it was a good experience. I enjoyed it,” Rowland said.
The “Walk In My Shoes” program runs every mid to late spring. Students must apply and SGA leaders match them with the administrators that meet their interests. The SGA hopes to expand the program beyond the Knoxville campus and also aims to host the program in the fall with trustees and legislators.