Betsy Adams
 

Betsy Adams

Assistant Dean of Operations and Strategy

Haslam College of Business

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
 

Betsy Adams is the assistant dean of operations and strategy for the Haslam College of Business, providing strategies for resource planning and allocation across all academic programs, departments, centers and executive education operations. In her position, she has direct responsibility for the Financial Information Office, Technology Integration Services and facilities staff.

Prior to her current position, Adams was assistant provost of systems and resources for UT Knoxville, leading campus-wide conversations about enrollment management and working with administrators and academics to build systems that support degree management. She has been with UT since 2007, when she left St. Clair County Community College in Michigan to become a director of academic resources.

Adams earned her MBA from the Haslam College of Business in 2010 and has more than 20 years of experience in financial management for institutions of higher education.


Lamar Bryant
 

Lamar Bryant

Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives

Division of Diversity and Engagement

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
 

Dr. Lamar Bryant is a true scholar practitioner at heart, who currently serves as the associate vice chancellor for strategic initiatives in the division of diversity and engagement at UTK. In this role, Bryant works alongside a dedicated team who strives to make Rocky Top feel like Home Sweet Home to everyone in the campus community. With more than 13 years of professional experience in higher education, Bryant knows the direct correlation from mattering and belonging to stellar student, staff and faculty retention rates.

Bryant has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work in higher education and, due to his robust experiences in the field, was asked to serve on a higher education professional association’s taskforce to assist in developing a professional certificate program. In addition to his extensive higher education experience, Bryant is a public speaker and leadership curriculum facilitator.

Bryant holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in marketing, and a Master of Science in College Student Personnel from Northwestern State University. He also earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education with a sociology cognate from the University of North Texas.


Brad Collett
 

Brad Collett

Director, Tennessee RiverLine

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
 

Brad Collett serves as the director of the Tennessee RiverLine initiative within the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. He is also a professor in the UT Institute of Agriculture Department Plant Sciences and a faculty member of the UT Knoxville School of Landscape Architecture.

Under his leadership as director of the Tennessee RiverLine, a team of professionals and a consortium of diverse partners across four states collaborate with UT Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to realize the shared vision for North America’s next great regional trail system, as well as the economic development, public health, resource stewardship and equitable access benefits it promises future generations. Through this work, he puts his passion for landscape stewardship, his belief in the modern land grant mission and his commitment to the power of partnerships into practice.

Collett’s teaching, research and creative interests center on regional water resource stewardship through landscape planning, design and performance. He was a 2016 U.S. Fulbright Teaching Scholar in Slovenia, and is a licensed landscape architect.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from UT Knoxville where he received the highest student honor, the Torchbearer Award, and a master’s in landscape architecture from The Ohio State University.


Dominique Crockett
 

Dominique Crockett

Director of Equity and Diversity, Title IX Coordinator

Office of Equity and Diversity

University of Tennessee at Martin
 

Dominique Crockett serves as director of equity and diversity and Title IX coordinator at UT Martin. In her position, Crockett oversees university compliance with Title IX, Title VI, VETS 100, American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and affirmative action. Additionally, she provides leadership and oversight of faculty and executive administrative hiring and serves as the ADA coordinator and Title VI coordinator for the university.

Crockett joined UT Martin in February 2022. Previously, she worked at the UT Health Science Center as the assurance officer in the Office of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity. Crockett began her career in policy and compliance through her work in governmental health administration as a project developer and Medicaid analyst supervisor for the Louisiana Department of Health. She has also worked in the nonprofit sector serving underrepresented populations.

Crockett holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Southern University A&M University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a Master of Health Administration from Louisiana State University. Crockett is looking forward to learning more about the systemic challenges facing Tennessee higher education and strategies to improve her leadership skills and better serve the University.


Beth Foster
 

Beth Foster

Director of the Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations

School of Advertising and Public Relations

College of Communication and Information

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
 

Elizabeth Avery Foster, “Beth,” is a professor and director of the Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In her second year as director of the Tombras School, Foster led the school through a naming opportunity with the Tombras Agency, including developing a strategic vision to leverage the vast potential of the industry-academic leader partnership and creating the first named school at UT Knoxville. As director, she has also overseen the implementation of a new minor and a new 4+1 graduate degree program.

Foster is internationally recognized for her research on public health crisis and campaigns, and she recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop interventions for the opioid epidemic in rural Appalachia. Prior to joining the faculty at UT Knoxville, Foster completed a post-doctoral assistantship on a $3.5 million Centers for Disease Control and Prevent grant, served as campaign manager for a mayoral candidate and was an environmental education coordinator. After serving and loving UT for 16 years, Foster is thrilled for the opportunity to further hone her leadership skills through this institute to better serve the University of Tennessee.

Foster and her husband, Malcolm, share a passion for public health promotion. Her two sons, ages 10 and 13, ensure there is never a dull moment after work by participating in most every sport.


Tom Gill
 

Tom Gill

Smith Chair in International Sustainable Agriculture

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
 

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Gill is an international, interdisciplinary development professional who has worked in agriculture and rural development for the past 20 years. Gill currently serves as the Smith Chair in International Sustainable Agriculture and director of the Smith Center at the UT Institute of Agriculture. In this role, he leads strategic vision for global engagement in the agriculturally-related sciences across UT Knoxville. Gill also serves as an associate professor in the department of agricultural leadership, education and communications.

Gill has served as president (2019-2020) of the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD) and as chair (2015-16) of the International Agriculture Section for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU). His experience and research interests include the United Nations sustainable development goal agenda, smallholder household decision-making in sustainable agroecosystems, and participatory approaches to capacity development, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Gill holds a Bachelor of Art and Master of Art in geography from the University of Cambridge, U.K., an Master of Science in tropical agricultural development from the University of Reading, U.K., and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida.


Ashley Harkrider
 

Ashley Harkrider

Chair, Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology

University of Tennessee Health Science Center
 

Dr. Ashley Whicker Harkrider is professor and chair of the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology and director of the Human Auditory Physiology Laboratory at the UT Health Science Center in Knoxville. She has been with UT for 22 years. Her research focuses on physiological correlates of speech perception and production in typical and disordered populations. Her collaborative work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, received editorial awards and is published in numerous national and international high-impact scientific journals.

Harkrider has held several national leadership positions including, most recently, treasurer of the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She also was honored with the UT Alumni Association Distinguished Service Professor and Chair in 2016. She is married with three children and enjoys hiking, running, reading and traveling.


Paul Jennings
 

Paul Jennings

Executive Director

University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services
 

Dr. Paul Jennings has served as executive director for the UT Institute for Public Service’s Center for Industrial Services (CIS) since 2009. CIS provides consulting and training services in manufacturing excellence, economic and workforce development and health and safety. CIS’ mission is to “help customers achieve their goals.”

Jennings’ previous experience includes serving as vice-president for planning and development with Columbia State Community College, director of the Tennessee Energy Institute with the University of Memphis and program manager with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Jennings holds a bachelor’s from University of Evansville, Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University and Ph.D. from Tennessee State University. He and his wife, Alice, live in Brentwood and have three grown children and eight grandchildren.


Andy Lewter
 

Andy Lewter

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

University of Tennessee at Martin
 

Dr. Andy Lewter currently serves as vice chancellor for student affairs at UT Martin where he leads the Division of Student Affairs, which facilitates student success, promotes student well-being, guides student development and provides high-quality student experiences.

During his 28-year career in student affairs, he previously served as the dean of students at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, and associate dean of students at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. He has significant experience in student conduct, behavioral intervention, Greek life, campus recreation and career services.

He holds a doctorate in educational administration and policy studies from UT Knoxville, a Master of Education in college student personnel from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from UT Martin.

Lewter teaches history of higher education and higher education law in the Master of Education program at UT Martin.

He lives in Martin, Tennessee, with his wife, Megan, and sons, Andrew and Mitchell. They are active in the Methodist church, Boy Scouts and multiple community service projects.


Wendy Likes
 

Wendy Likes

Dean, College of Nursing

University of Tennessee Health Science Center
 

Dr. Wendy Likes is professor and dean of the College of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center. Likes is a three-time alumna of UTHSC receiving a Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Science, and Ph.D. at UTHSC. She joined the College of Nursing in 2005 as an assistant professor and has served as department chair, associate dean and interim dean before her appointment as dean in 2014. Likes is a family nurse practitioner, working primarily with women with cancer and pre-invasive gynecologic conditions. She is the founder of The Center for HPV and Dysplasia at Regional One Health, where she previously had an active clinical practice. Likes is a Fellow in the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She has received multiple awards and honors, including being nominated as a Health Care Hero in the Memphis Business Journal in 2012 and 2021 for both her clinical and administrative work.

Likes has been married for 23 years and has two sons, one a senior in high school and the other a college senior.


Cassie Mathes
 

Cassie Mathes

Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
 

Cassie Mathes is the vice chancellor for communications and marketing at UT Chattanooga. With 16 years in higher education, her career has developed through her various roles at regional comprehensive universities in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and now, Tennessee. Mathes has worked with diverse teams at each institution to enhance their communications, marketing, branding, recruitment and engagement efforts, which has resulted in successes including increased student enrollment, improved relationships with alumni and benefactors, and the development of institutional brand identity and positive university reputation.

Prior to her career in higher education, Mathes worked for eight years in print and broadcast journalism, and won numerous awards by the Associated Press and the Missouri Press Association for excellence in news writing. After earning a master’s degree in communication in 2002 from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, she also began teaching various university communication and freshman experience courses. She has taught as an adjunct faculty member at three universities and has served as a board member for the American Red Cross and Iowa Public Radio.

Joining this year’s ELI group is an honor for her. She is excited to be part of the UT System and grateful for the opportunity to further develop her leadership skills in order to benefit the institution and its students.


Matt Matthews
 

Matt Matthews

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Academic Policy

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
 

Dr. Matt Matthews serves as vice provost for faculty affairs and academic policy at UT Chattanooga. From this role he manages and advises on academic policy for the university, colleges and departments, as well as guiding the processes of recruitment, appointment, retention, promotion and tenure for the faculty body.

Trusted as a prolific and successful collaborator across UTC, Matthews has lead key institutional efforts such as the new campus master plan, the university’s COVID-19 response and the information technology advisory committee—often with partners from other divisions.

Prior to assuming his current role in 2018, Matthews served two years as an associate dean for the UTC College of Arts and Sciences and more than two years as interim head of the Department of Mathematics. By training he is an applied mathematician conducting computation and analysis for systems of differential equations arising from problems in engineering and physics.

Raised in the rural town of Hertford, North Carolina, and earning his degrees in mathematics from North Carolina State University, Matthews worked as a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics at Duke University ahead of joining UTC in 2004 as an assistant professor.


Mike McCay
 

Mike McCay

Assistant Vice President and Executive Director, UT Alumni Association

University of Tennessee Foundation, Inc.
 

Michael McCay serves as the assistant vice president of alumni affairs and executive director of the UT Alumni Association. The UT Alumni Association serves more than 433,000 graduates by providing lifelong learning, networking opportunities, legislative advocacy, alumni career services, travel programs and benefits and discounts.

McCay has 20 years of experience in higher education. He began his career at the UT Knoxville as an IT specialist with career services. From 2006-2015, he worked in development and alumni affairs roles for the university, serving as assistant director of stewardship and donor recognition for UT Knoxville, director of stewardship and donor recognition for UT Knoxville, and senior director of the UT Alumni Association for the UT System.

In addition to his UT service, McCay served as the director of employer relations at the University of South Florida (2015-2019) and the director of the University Career Center at Auburn University (2019-2021). He received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his master’s degree from UT Knoxville.


Abeer Mustafa
 

Abeer Mustafa

Associate Vice Chancellor

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
 

Dr. Abeer Mustafa grew up in Houston, Texas. Mustafa launched her career in higher education at Rice University, where her construction experience led her to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) new construction housing communities. It was in this capacity that Abeer was recruited to the University of Houston, to help with expanding the residential program. Abeer has also worked at Winston-Salem State University (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), North Carolina State University and the University of California, Chico (Hispanic-Serving Institutions). She is currently working at UT Chattanooga as the associate vice chancellor for enrollment management and student affairs.

Mustafa’s primary focus is to advocate and mentor students and staff. She engages with students to recognize and understand their needs to enhance their experiences, support and assess co-curricular learning, and provide a sense of community while fostering student learning and personal development. She has spent most of her career advocating for students and operationalizing policies, services and programs to support students. She is passionate about leading organizational change and developing strategies anchored on student and staff well-being.

Mustafa has been married for 18 years to Shamael Mustafa, and they have twin boys–Imaad and Adeem Mustafa, ninth graders attending STEM School.


Austin Oakes
 

Austin Oakes

Assistant Vice President for Capital Projects

University of Tennessee System
 

Austin Oakes serves as the assistant vice president of capital projects for the UT System. In this role, Oakes leads a team of talented professionals overseeing UT’s capital budget process, real property management, space administration and the management of all major design, construction and renovation projects across the UT System. Oakes firmly believes that the spaces we create for our students foster the incredible educational experiences that our students have while at UT.

In addition, Oakes works closely with many Tennessee state agencies—including the State Building Commission, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, State of Tennessee Real Estate Asset Management and the Tennessee State School Bond Authority—to ensure UT capital projects are properly coordinated, funded and approved.

Prior to his work at UT, Oakes served as the assistant vice president for facilities management at the University of the South and the executive director for planning, operations and construction at Pepperdine University.

Oakes holds a Bachelor of Art in economics, an MBA and a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University. He and his wife have three children. In his free time Oakes enjoys carpentry, photography and hiking in the mountains with his family.


Sean Patterson
 

Sean Patterson

Assistant Chief of Police, UT Police Department

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
 

Assistant Chief Sean Patterson joined the UT Knoxville Police Department in April of 2020. He started his career in law enforcement in 1998 with the New York City Police Department. He was assigned to three different patrol precincts in Brooklyn, New York, in the ranks of police officer, sergeant and lieutenant. He was assigned to the NYPD Emergency Service Unit (ESU) for 12 years as a sergeant in Squad 5 and lieutenant as the Midnight Platoon Commander. His last assignment was as the training coordinator for ESU and as the safety officer for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He was also assigned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, New York Task Force 1 as a task force leader.

Patterson holds a bachelor’s degree in community and human relations from the State University of New York, and a master’s degree in public administration from Marist College. He is a graduate of the 260th Session of the FBI National Academy as well as the 63rd Session of the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police. Patterson is a retired United States Navy chief petty officer with 22 years of service and currently resides in Friendsville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.


Brandie Paul
 

Brandie Paul

Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics

University of Tennessee Southern
 

Brandie Paul has been with UT Southern since 2001, first as head softball coach before transitioning to vice chancellor of athletics and athletic director. Paul was charged with leading the transition from Martin Methodist College to UT Southern within her first year as athletic director, serving as the final athletic director for Martin Methodist College and the first for UT Southern. She is the only female to serve in the role in the institution’s 151 years.

Under her leadership, UT Southern has won three national championships, and has twice been named a NAIA Champions of Character Gold Star Institution. Additionally, the athletic department grade point average was at its highest following the 2021-22 school year, with a 3.04.

Since her 2001 arrival as softball coach, she accumulated 700-plus career victories with 14 consecutive postseason appearances and 13 straight seasons with a record above .500. She is the winningest coach in UT Southern history among all sports and is one of the top ten winningest coaches in NAIA softball history.

She has a storied background in coaching, leading three teams to the NAIA national tournament and guiding the program to multiple national-ranked seasons. Most importantly to Paul, her softball teams have regularly held one of the top two athletic team grade point averages each year. Under her direction, the program has had multiple NAIA All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, and numerous conference honors. Alongside coaching, she has spent numerous seasons as an NAIA national ranker, NAIA national tournament committee member and conference softball chair. In addition to her duties with the softball program, Paul spent seven seasons as an associate athletic director.

Paul graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1995 with a Bachelor of Art in accounting and earned a master’s degree in sports science with a specialization in coaching from the United States Sports Academy. She is married and has a son, Gryffin.


Bernie Savarese
 

Bernie Savarese

Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success

University of Tennessee System
 

Dr. Bernie Savarese joined the UT System in 2021 as the associate vice president for student success and currently serves as the acting vice president for academic affairs and student success. In this role he works closely with campus chief academic and student affairs officers, and serves as staff to the Education, Research and Service Committee of the UT Board of Trustees.

From 2017 to 2021, Savarese served as the assistant vice president for student success and the student experience at New York University (NYU). There, he oversaw the Division of Student Success, led the university’s Student Success Steering Committee and served as a subject matter expert to university leaders. Prior to joining NYU, Bernie worked at the Ohio State University for more than 15 years, most recently serving as the director of university orientation and first year experience (FYE) and serving on the leadership team for the Division of Enrollment Management. Before his time in FYE, Savarese held various leadership positions across the Division of Student Affairs.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Savarese was raised in Belmont County, Ohio. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and an MBA from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University, and his Doctor of Education in leadership and innovation from NYU.

Savarese lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife, Krystyne, their two teenage sons, Anthony and Ben, and their spunky Boston Terrier, Rocky.


John Schmisseur
 

John Schmisseur

Executive Director, University of Tennessee Space Institute

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
 

Dr. John D. Schmisseur became the executive director of the UT Space Institute in August 2022. Prior to his appointment, he served as the H.H. Arnold chair and B.H. Goethert professor in the UT Knoxville Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering since 2014, during which time he taught and led research at the UT Space Institute.

Prior to joining the faculty, Schmisseur was the chief of the Energy, Power and Propulsion Sciences Division and program manager for aerothermodynamics within the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). During his tenure at AFOSR, Schmisseur initiated and led a national strategic research plan which has guided the research efforts of multiple federal agencies and championed the transition of basic research capabilities that have advanced flagship national hypersonics technology programs and transformed test and evaluation capabilities. Schmisseur earned his Bachelor of Science in 1990 and Master of Science in 1992 in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. in 1997 in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University. He is a 2012 Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the 2013 Fellow of the Air Force Research Laboratory and is the 2008 recipient of the Air Force Science and Engineering Award in Research Management.


Charlie Snyder
 

Charlie Snyder

Associate Vice Chancellor, Student Success

University of Tennessee Health Science Center
 

Dr. Charles Snyder is the associate vice chancellor for student success and chief student affairs officer at the UT Health Science Center. In this role, Snyder provides executive leadership for and oversees several administrative units that provide centralized campus support services and activities for students. Snyder also serves as associate professor and chair of the Department of Interprofessional Education in the UTHSC College of Graduate Health Sciences.

During his tenure at UTHSC, Snyder successfully led the creation of the UTHSC Quality Enhancement Plan titled “Community Engaged Care,” developed as part of the UTHSC Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmation of accreditation. “Community Engaged Care” is designed to enhance student learning about the social determinants of health. Snyder also spearheaded the creation of the UTHSC Campus Cupboard, an on-campus food pantry serving students, staff, faculty and community partners. The Campus Cupboard currently feeds more than 400 people per month.

As an applied medical anthropologist, Snyder’s work has primarily focused on drug addiction interventions in environments where drug use is deeply embedded in the cultural framework, and community response to crises with particular emphasis on natural disasters and military conflict. Snyder has conducted fieldwork in East Africa, Haiti, the South Pacific and with Native people in the United States.

Snyder is a first-generation college student who is deeply committed to supporting future generations of learners inside and outside of higher education. In his free time, he is committed to youth leadership development, leading multiple scout units, and providing support and planning for resident camps and away activities for Mid-South youth.


Anderson Starling
 

Anderson Starling

Interim Chair, Department of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Political Science

University of Tennessee at Martin
 

Dr. Anderson Starling is an associate professor of political science and interim chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance, Economics and Political Science. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Alabama and joined the faculty at UT Martin as an assistant professor in 2014. In January 2023, Starling will begin work as interim associate provost at UT Martin and is excited about the opportunity to continue his work with faculty and students.

Starling takes great joy in his work serving the students and the community of Martin, Tennessee. In his eight years on the faculty, he has chaired two search committees, chaired the Faculty Senate’s Budget and Economic Concerns Committee, as well as served as Faculty Senate president for the 2021-2022 academic year. In addition, Starling has worked on UT Martin’s Strategic Plan Implementation Committee and the Strategic Plan Refresh Committee focused on resource management.

Anderson lives in Martin, Tennessee, with his wife, Melissa, and two young sons. He enjoys board games, running and good food.


Lance Taylor
 

Lance Taylor

Executive Director of Advancement Operations

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
 

Lance Taylor has spent his 13-year career at UT Knoxville. Currently, he serves as the executive director of advancement operations where he manages the operations and administration of the UT Knoxville advancement division. He provides strategic leadership and support to the vice chancellor for advancement in the areas of talent management, fiscal oversight and division operations.

Taylor began his career at UT in the Haslam College of Business as an annual giving coordinator in 2009 before transitioning to director of annual giving and student philanthropy in 2012. He served in that role until 2016 when he began working in advancement operations. He takes pride in working hard each day to invest in the people of the advancement division to keep an engaged and productive team motivated to do great work for the university. The division boasts 60% of its staff having served the university five or more years with another 31% having served more than 10 years.

Taylor earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and logistics, as well as a master’s degree in human resources management, both from UT Knoxville. During his undergraduate senior year, he was named a Torchbearer recipient—the highest student honor conferred by UT Knoxville. Taylor is married to his wife, Anne, and has two kids: Bradley, age 2, and Emilia, 8 months.


Jeannie Tennant
 

Jeannie Tennant

Assistant Director and Senior Business Partner, Human Resources

University of Tennessee System
 

Jeannie Tennant is the assistant director and senior business partner in Employee and Organizational Development Division of the UT System Office of Human Resources, where she provides leadership development, coaching and strategic visioning for campus partners. Tennant joined the UT System in 2021, bringing 15 years of experience to her current role.

As a first-generation college student and Tennessee native, Tennant understands the power and importance of education. Therefore, she is committed to utilizing her skills as an educator and coach to provide differentiated, rigorous and inclusive learning opportunities that advance leadership development across the UT System. Jeannie prioritizes connecting with leaders, coaching with compassion and consulting with clarity as a holistic approach to growth and development.

Tennant has a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University in multidisciplinary studies with a concentration in human learning and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in leadership and management.


Nick Verne
 

Nick Verne

Senior Associate Dean

University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Department of Medicine

University of Tennessee Health Science Center
 

Dr. Nick Verne is professor and senior associate dean of statewide operations at the UT Health Science Center. He also serves as the chair of the Department of Medicine and is chief of medicine at Regional One Health. Prior to joining UTHSC in 2019, Verne served as the chief medical officer for the Tulane University Health System in New Orleans, Louisiana. Verne is a practicing gastroenterologist with a National Institute of Health and Veterans Affairs-funded research laboratory for more than 20 years. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American Gastroenterology Association and the Association of Professors of Medicine.

Verne’s current charge as senior associate dean of statewide operations is to facilitate the expansion of the College of Medicine relationships and affiliations with statewide healthcare facilities, graduate and undergraduate academic programs. Verne’s participation in the Executive Leadership Institute constitutes an ideal opportunity for him to gain exposure and broaden a statewide portfolio of considerable breath and latitude across UT’s regional campuses that will enhance UTHSC’s development and cultivation of statewide affiliations for clinical operations, education, research and combined programs.


Jon Walden
 

Jon Walden

Executive Director, County Technical Assistance Service

University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service
 

A Nashville native, Jon Walden, executive director, has been with UT’s County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS), an agency of the Institute for Public Service since 1993 as the administrator of information technology. He was named executive director in December 2021 after serving as interim executive director. Prior to serving as interim executive director, Walden served as manager of information technology and environmental services from October 2002 until May 2020. Before joining CTAS, he was a programmer analyst with Columbia State Community College. Walden holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Tennessee State University and a Master of Arts in leadership and public service from Lipscomb University.

Walden is excited about the opportunity to be a member of the 2023 class of the UT Executive Leadership Institute. He believes participating in the institute will give him additional knowledge and skills to become a more productive public servant as well as network and learn from others within the UT System to make this a better place to work.