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Group photo of the Chancellor's Advisory Board from left, Student appointee Johnelle Simpson, Knoxville’s Advisory Board member Alexia Poe, of Nashville, Knoxville’s Advisory Board member Tom Smith, of Nashville, Chancellor Donde Plowman, Knoxville’
The Chancellor's Advisory Board includes, from left, student appointee Johnelle Simpson; Alexia Poe, Nashville; Tom Smith, Nashville, Chancellor Donde Plowman; John Tickle, Bristol; Faculty Senate appointee Louis J. Gross, chancellor’s professor and distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Syreeta Vaughn, Knoxville, and Tim Williams, Knoxville. Photo by Steven Bridges/University of Tennessee

UT Knoxville’s Advisory Board met today to hear a presentation from Chancellor Donde Plowman about her first three months on the job, take a detailed look at the university’s budget, and receive an update on student success and enrollment metrics.

The board is charged with making recommendations to the UT System Board of Trustees on strategic planning, operating budgets, and tuition, as well as advising the chancellor.

“The opportunity to hear from board members who are leaders in their communities, industries, and alumni groups across the state, is extremely valuable,” Plowman said after the meeting. “When we have lively conversations about important strategic questions like student recruitment and what it means to be a Volunteer, their perspective and feedback help our leadership team make informed decisions.”

In her presentation, Plowman talked to the board about how she has spent her first few months on the job, her commitment to UT’s land-grant mission, and the feedback she has heard from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other groups.

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor David Manderscheid gave an update on the university’s enrollment plan, including this year’s record freshman class of 5,254 students. Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Chris Cimino gave a presentation on the university’s budget and the campus master plan.

In addition to approving minutes from the May meeting, the board elected Susan England, assistant to the chancellor, as secretary. England replaces Rachel Rui, former assistant to the chancellor, who recently transferred to a position in UT’s Center for Global Engagement.

Meeting materials and the archived webcast are available on the chancellor’s website.

The advisory board’s next meeting is set for March 4, 2020.

The board was created last year when the Tennessee General Assembly passed the UT FOCUS Act, restructuring the Board of Trustees and creating an advisory board for each campus in the UT System.

The public members of the UT Knoxville Advisory Board are Alexia Poe and Tom Smith of Nashville, John Tickle of Bristol, and Syreeta Vaughn and Tim Williams of Knoxville. The Faculty Senate appointed Louis J. Gross, Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, to serve as the faculty appointee to the board. Johnelle Simpson, a second-year student in the College of Law, is the student representative.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Megan Boehnke (865-974-3242,