Skip to main content
Spring flowers bloom around the Torchbearer in Circle Park on the evening of
The Torchbearer in Circle Park in the spring.

Amber Williams, vice provost for student success at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been named to the 2024-25 AGB Institute for Leadership and Governance in Higher Education. She is one of 21 higher education leaders selected from across the nation to attend an intensive symposium in Washington, D.C., in September.

Amber Williams

“I am deeply grateful to Chancellor [Donde] Plowman, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor [John] Zomchick, and the AGB Institute for their investment in my professional development,” said Williams. “This opportunity will equip me with invaluable insights into governance structures, particularly regarding board relations, faculty-shared governance and navigating crucial relationships with external stakeholders. These lessons will be instrumental as I lead transformational change in higher education. I’m eager to share these insights and continue driving positive change at Rocky Top.”

The institute is now in its sixth year, and more than 20 past participants have become presidents or chancellors of higher education institutions. Many others have gained commendations and new positions.

Since coming to UT in 2020 after serving as assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management at the University of Nebraska, Williams has directed programs that contributed to UT’s impressive increase in student retention rates to 91%—significantly higher than the national average of 75%.

Under Williams’ leadership, the university has launched several key initiatives to enhance academic success: Vol Success Teams offer personalized support services to students, the Veterans Impact Program supports those who have served in the military and First-Generation Initiatives focuses on students who are the first in their families to attend college. She was instrumental in founding the Academic Success Center, which provides coaching and tools to assist students in reaching their educational goals.

A graduate of the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, Williams also holds a master’s degree in leadership education and a doctorate in educational administration, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Cindi King (865-974-0937,