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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Campus Advisory Board, which met remotely Wednesday, voted to recommend a zero-percent tuition increase for the 2020–21 academic year. Tuition is part of the budget recommendation that the advisory board will make to the UT System Board of Trustees when that body holds its annual meeting next month.

During the meeting, members heard a presentation from Chancellor Donde Plowman detailing the campus response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the leadership’s planning efforts for the fall semester. The university plans to carefully and deliberately bring employees back to campus over the summer while continuing to use remote work, flexible schedules, and other strategies to practice social distancing, she told the board. The university had already announced plans to bring students back to campus in the fall under a “new normal.”

The board also got an update on fall enrollment trends; an adjusted timeline for the university’s strategic vision process that began earlier in the spring semester; and two new senior leadership hires, Vice Chancellor for Student Life Frank Cuevas and incoming Vice Chancellor for Research Deborah Crawford.

Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Chris Cimino gave a presentation on the university’s budget proposal, which included plans to hold tuition and fees even. The budget proposal assumes no changes to the state appropriations.

The board also honored two outgoing members: faculty representative Louis J. Gross, Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and student representative Johnelle Simpson, a second-year student in the College of Law.

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

The board was created in 2018 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 board is charged with making campus-level recommendations to the Board of Trustees on strategic planning, operating budgets, and tuition, as well as advising the chancellor.

In addition to the faculty and student representatives, the members of the advisory board are Alexia Poe and Tom Smith of Nashville, John Tickle of Bristol, and Syreeta Vaughn and Tim Williams of Knoxville.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,