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UT Executive Leadership Institute Welcomes New Class

Category: Employees

KNOXVILLE – Eighteen faculty and staff members, representing each University of Tennessee campus and institute and overseeing critical functions across the UT System, have been selected to be part of the second Executive Leadership Institute class.

The second cohort will kick off on Oct. 8 at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis.

This 12-month program, created by UT President Emeritus Joe DiPietro, was designed to prepare internal candidates for senior leadership roles.

Designed and led by Robert 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 meets 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 programs within the University and is part of succession planning efforts to address upcoming workforce needs.

“With 40 percent of our administrators eligible to retire in the next five years, it is imperative that we are prepared to successfully replace those leadership roles,” Smith said. “The institute will ensure the right people with the right skills are ready to advance as opportunities become available.”

Ron Tredway, executive director for employee and organizational development, calls the institute a necessary tool in ensuring the university’s successful future.

“Developing our leaders through the Executive Leadership Institute is a critical part of filling the talent pipeline for executive leadership positions in our succession planning efforts at UT,” Tredway said.

Angelia Nystrom, UT Institute of Agriculture director of specialty programs and 2019 ELI graduate, said going through the institute was the most meaningful of her career.

“I have been able to pinpoint and refine core competencies necessary for strong leadership, which has been useful not only in my employment but also in my volunteer and personal endeavors,” Nystrom said.

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


The 2020 UT Executive Leadership Institute class includes:

UT Chattanooga

  • Yancy Freeman, vice chancellor, enrollment management and student affairs
  • Laure Pou, assistant vice chancellor, human resources


UT Foundation Inc.

  • Michael Carter, vice president, advancement services


UT Health Science Center

  • Mojdeh Dehghan, interim chair, department of general dentistry
  • Michael Ebbs, associate vice chancellor, finance
  • Dan Harder, vice chancellor, information technology, chief information officer


UT Institute of Agriculture

  • Keith Barber, vice chancellor, institutional advancement
  • Angela Gibson, chief information officer


UT Institute for Public Service

  • Margaret Norris, executive director, Municipal Technical Advisory Service
  • Rick Scarbrough, executive director, Law Enforcement Innovation Center


UT Knoxville

  • Steve Catlett, associate vice chancellor, advancement
  • Bruce LaMattina, associate vice chancellor, strategic research initiatives


UT Martin

  • Amy Belew, chief information officer
  • Shadow Robinson, dean, College of Engineering and Natural Sciences


UT System Administration

  • Mary McDonald, controller
  • David Mills, director, health sciences, government relations and advocacy
  • Blake Reagan, director, procurement services
  • Melissa Tindell, director, communications


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Category: Employees