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UT System Selects Brian Dickens as Chief Human Resources Officer

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Brian Dickens

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee System has hired Brian Dickens as its chief human resources officer after conducting a national search.

Dickens, who has led human resources at several universities and consulted with a wide range of business clients, will begin his duties Dec. 1.

“Dr. Dickens has the right skills and experience the UT System needs as we continue to position ourselves for the future as well as to help us ambitiously seek to be the employer of choice in Tennessee,” David Miller, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said.

As chief human resources officer, Dickens will be responsible for planning, developing and implementing statewide initiatives that support employee engagement. He will also develop human resource policies and guidelines and work with campus and institute human resources officers. He also will ensure compliance with federal, state and University labor standards and policies.

Dickens said he was excited about joining UT and looks forward to working to support the future of the campuses and institutes.

“My hope is that we can forge ahead in collaboration with the audacity of hope, trust and transparency in the creation of a shared vision and collective drive towards making the UT System the employer of choice for Tennesseans,” he said.

Since 2002, Dickens, through his company BD Consulting, provided management and staff development services to a variety of companies as well as executive-level coaching to Fortune 100 leaders. He also served as an employee relations and management liaison while implementing standard operating procedures. He increased revenues and efficiencies by 50 percent through streamlined employment processes and reporting structures.

Brian Dickens
Brian Dickens

He previously served at Ithaca College, where he implemented a staff compensation study that resulted in an updated salary structure, new job leveling instructions and improved market-based compensation decisions. He also oversaw upgrading of human resource systems to a cloud-based management system.

As associate vice president for human resources and payroll services at Texas Southern University, he developed long-term programs to support the university’s mission such as the Mid-Managers Leadership Institute to develop future university leaders and the University Staff Council to engage staff members. He also advised university leadership responding to a university-wide reorganization and restructuring.

Other positions Dickens has held include director of human resources at the University of Houston and director of student activities and leadership at Prairie View A&M University. In those roles, he provided strategic leadership, negotiated contracts with service providers, verified compliance with laws and regulations and oversaw university employee relations programs.

Dickens earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Prairie View A&M University in 1994, a Master of Arts in Counseling from Prairie View A&M University in 1995 and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University in 2015.


The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis; the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT system manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 50,000 students statewide; produces about 10,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 387,000 alumni around the world.




Melissa Tindell

Jennifer Sicking

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Category: Headlines