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New UT Executive Leadership Institute Part of DiPietro’s Legacy

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grid of 18 faces

KNOXVILLE –Eighteen faculty and staff members, representing each University of Tennessee campus and institute and overseeing critical functions within the University system, will meet tomorrow to begin an intensive, 12-month training program designed to prepare internal candidates for senior leadership roles.

“My overall goal as president of the University of Tennessee has always been to leave this place in better shape than I found it,” UT President Joe DiPietro said. “One more way I hope to do that is through creation of the UT Executive Leadership Institute.”

The institute will kick off with its first cohort Oct. 2 in Knoxville, and DiPietro plans to teach part-time in the program during retirement.

Designed and led by Bob Smith, special adviser for leadership and talent development to the UT president, the institute offers attendees special development plans, executive coaching, mentoring and experiential learning. The class will meet six times throughout the year for multi-day leadership sessions. Candidates were nominated by their supervisors and competitively selected by campus and institute leaders.

The institute complements existing training programs within the University and is part of succession planning efforts to address upcoming workforce needs.

“We estimate that 40 percent of our administrators will be eligible to retire in the next five years—creating vacancies in as many as 100 positions,” said Smith, a nationally recognized leadership expert and UT Martin chancellor emeritus. “The institute will help ensure the right people with the right skills are ready to advance as opportunities become available.”

With a succession plan in place, Smith hopes the University will be able to identify strong leaders for years to come.

“Finding qualified leaders is much more than a search,” he said. “It’s finding those individuals who can inspire those around them. And then take the organization to the next level of success.”

More information about the institute, including attendee biographies, is available at

The inaugural class of the 2018 UT Executive Leadership Institute:

UT Chattanooga

  • Tyler Forrest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance
  • Daniel Pack, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Joanne Romagni, Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School


UT Foundation Inc.

  • Angelia Nystrom, Director of Specialty Programs for the UT Institute of Agriculture


UT Health Science Center

  • Shelley Hawkins, Professor and Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Catherine Womack, Interim Chair of Preventative Medicine for the College of Medicine


UT Institute of Agriculture

  • Lannett Edwards, Professor and Graduate Director
  • John Stier, Associate Dean for the Herbert College of Agriculture


UT Institute for Public Service

  • Macel Ely, Director of the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership


UT Knoxville

  • Frank Cuevas, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Jean Mercer, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs


UT Martin

  • Charley Deal, Special Adviser to the Chancellor; Interim Director for the Office of Research, Grants and Contracts; Executive Director of WestStar Leadership
  • Petra McPhearson, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration


UT System Administration

  • Rob Chance, Director of Payroll
  • Stacey Patterson, Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development and President of the UT Research Foundation
  • Jim Sauceman, Director of IRIS Administrative Support
  • Matthew Scoggins, General Counsel
  • Carey Whitworth, Assistant Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy


More information about the institute, including attendee biographies, is available at


Tiffany Carpenter

Ellie Amador

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Category: Employees