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UT Executive Leadership Institute Welcomes Third Cohort

Category: Employees

participants in the Executive Leadership Institute

Knoxville – Twenty-four 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 third Executive Leadership Institute class.

This 12-month program, created by UT President Emeritus Joe DiPietro in 2018, was designed to prepare internal candidates for senior leadership roles.

Led by Robert Smith, special adviser for executive 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. Participants 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.

“This is the largest group we’ve ever accepted, and it will be our first class to use a new online portal to enhance their development experience,” Smith said. “I think this promises to be one of the most comprehensive executive leadership learning experiences offered anywhere.  It is exciting to work with such a talented group.”

“Developing our people and creating a sustainable pipeline of leadership is one of the most important things we do in higher education,” UT System President Randy Boyd said.  “We want to be known as the place where great leaders are born and developed, and we want our current and emerging leaders to stay at the University of Tennessee for the life of their career.”

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

The 2022 UT Executive Leadership Institute class members are:

UT Chattanooga

  • Vicki Farnsworth, chief information officer
  • Stacy Lightfoot, vice chancellor for diversity and engagement
  • David Steele, chief of staff


UT Foundation Inc.

  • Evan Beech, director, specialized giving
  • Adam Heller, chief financial officer and treasurer


UT Health Science Center

  • Jeff Brooks, executive associate dean, department of oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • Teresa Hartnett, associate dean for finance and administration, College of Medicine
  • Paul Luepke, chair, department of periodontology, College of Dentistry


UT Institute of Agriculture

  • Doug Bohner, human resources officer
  • Craig Pickett, director for diversity
  • David White, associate dean for research


UT Institute for Public Service

  • Susan Robertson, communications manager


UT Knoxville

  • Mónica Lebrón, deputy athletics director for championship resources
  • Holly Mercer, senior associate dean


UT Martin

  • Nancy Buschhaus, interim chair, department of biological sciences
  • Edie Gibson, senior advisor to the chancellor
  • Mark McCloud, chief diversity and inclusion officer


UT Southern

  • Mark La Branche, chancellor
  • Robby Shelton, vice chancellor for finance and administration


UT System Administration

  • Brian Daniels, chief audit and compliance officer
  • Ellie Dougherty, director of marketing
  • Pam Jeffreys, risk management director
  • Jorge Pérez, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness
  • Timothy Sigler, assistant vice president for government relations and advocacy


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Category: Employees