MARTIN — The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees today approved a process and timeline for the search for UT’s next president.
The board hopes an aggressive timeline will result in the election of the new president at its fall meeting on Oct. 21.
Trustees, meeting at UT Martin, also approved the use of a search firm to assist in the process and authorized the administration to issue a request for proposals. Based on the outcome of the RFP process, a search firm will be recommended to the Executive and Compensation Committee, which will next meet on May 13.
Under the preliminary timeline, the board will appoint a Presidential Search Committee at its annual meeting in June. The committee will include trustees and members of the faculty.
A Search Advisory Council comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni and appointed by the search committee will be used to advise the committee on the presidential candidates.
The board also approved the awarding of an honorary degree to former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore by UT Knoxville. It is only the third honorary degree granted by the campus.
Gore will receive the degree at the spring commencement exercises of the College of Arts and Sciences on May 14. He will be the featured speaker at the ceremony, addressing graduates and their families along with the gathered faculty.
A UT Knoxville faculty member holds the Nancy Gore Hunger Chair for Excellence in Environmental Studies, endowed by Gore to honor his late sister. He also is a distinguished member of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy’s board of directors and honorary co-chair of the Tennessee 4-H Club Foundation Inc. with UT Extension.
UT Interim President Jan Simek addressed the board about the special legislative session in January that resulted in the passage of higher education reform that changes the funding formula, stresses articulation between public institutions and emphasizes the UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory partnership through a new joint graduate program.
“We should take this legislation as a challenge and a positive opportunity for the University,” Simek said.
Gov. Phil Bredesen challenged UT Knoxville to become a Top 25 institution in the next 10 years in his State of the State address. Simek said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has already begun the process to meet this goal and that UT Knoxville’s model should be used at the other campuses to achieve greater excellence.
“Every position you move up is harder than the one before,” Simek said. “We should be Top 25. We will be Top 25.”
Simek also updated the board on several aspects of System reorganization.
A task force studying the appropriate placement of the Institute for Public Service has determined IPS should report directly to the president.
A proposal to designate the UT Institute of Agriculture as a campus and the UTIA leader as a chancellor instead of vice president will be presented at the annual board meeting in June, Simek said.
Simek said he expected reports soon on diversity, UT Knoxville athletics, and purchasing and construction management.
The board also approved:
- Differential tuition proposals at UT Knoxville for the College of Business, College of Engineering and College of Nursing that will go into effect Fall 2010.
Under the plan, juniors and seniors in the College of Nursing, undergraduates taking business courses and all students taking engineering courses would pay differential tuition, a supplemental per-credit-hour charge in addition to university tuition. These charges would increase in the future at the same rate as university tuition increases. The extra funds are needed because those three colleges are facing extraordinary growth and need additional staffing and state-of-the-art technology to keep pace with the demand.
- Voluntary retirement incentives for eligible Institute of Agriculture staff members. Eligible employees are regular staff who by June 30, 2010, will meet certain retirement requirements. Officials estimate about 40 employees would participate, saving UTIA about $1.7 million next year and about $2.4 million or more the following year and beyond.
- Renovation of 16,000 square feet in the Guerry Center at UTC for food service operations. Aramark, the food service provider at UTC, will provide funding for the project, which is estimated to cost $3.5 million.
- A proposal to create the School of Education at UTC by consolidation of the Teacher Preparation Academy and the Graduate Studies Division. The new structure better defines the education unit within the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies. No new resources will be required for the change.
- Renaming the White Avenue Building and White Avenue Biology Annex at UT Knoxville. The White Avenue Building will be renamed Blount Hall in honor of the University’s first name of Blount College when it was chartered in 1794. The White Avenue Biology Annex will be renamed Senter Hall in honor of Gov. Dewitt Clinton Senter, who saved the land-grant status of the university by enacting the first gubernatorial veto in 1871.
For a link to archived Webcasts of the Academic Affairs and Student Success Committee and the full board, go to http://www.tennessee.edu.
To view the meeting’s full agenda and materials, go to