The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees Executive Committee met Friday morning and approved the appointment of Bernie Savarese as the permanent vice president for academic affairs, research and student success and Jeff Smith as vice president for national labs.
“Since assuming the role of acting vice president for academic affairs, research and student success, Dr. Savarese has excelled in this position and has demonstrated his commitment to coordinating and promoting high-quality academic and student experiences tied to key outcomes as well as building and expanding the research mission of the University,” said UT System President Randy Boyd.
Savarese had been serving in an interim capacity since July 2022. He joined the UT System in 2021 with over two decades of experience in higher education, having previously served in leadership roles at New York University and Ohio State University. He and his team will continue their work with UT campuses, institutes and statewide partners to coordinate and promote high-quality academic and student experiences. These efforts will include a focus on enrollment and student success, access and affordability, career outcomes, faculty development, mental health and wellbeing, and leveraging data to drive improvements systemwide. Additionally, Savarese will oversee research collaboration with UT campuses across the state.
Smith will serve as the UT System’s primary liaison to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) leadership team, the U.S. Department of Energy and Battelle Memorial Institute on matters that relate to the UT-Battelle management and operations contract for ORNL.
Smith retired from the role of deputy director for operations at ORNL in 2021, but was asked by the UT-Battelle board of directors to return as interim lab director in 2023 where he served until October 2023. He served on the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors from 2017 to 2022 and as the UT-Battelle Development Corporation president from 2002 to 2023.
The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Pulaski; 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 58,000 students statewide; produces about 13,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 445,000 alumni around the world.
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