February 26, 2010
MARTIN -- The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees today approved a process and timeline for the search for UT’s next president.
The board hopes an aggressive timeline will result in the election of the new president at its fall meeting on Oct. 21.
Trustees, meeting at UT Martin, also approved the use of a search firm to assist in the process and authorized the administration to issue a request for proposals. Based on the outcome of the RFP process, a search firm will be recommended to the Executive and Compensation Committee, which will next meet on May 13.
Under the preliminary timeline, the board will appoint a Presidential Search Committee at its annual meeting in June. The committee will include trustees and members of the faculty.
A Search Advisory Council comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni and appointed by the search committee will be used to advise the committee on the presidential candidates.
The board also approved the awarding of an honorary degree to former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore by UT Knoxville. It is only the third honorary degree granted by the campus.
Gore will receive the degree at the spring commencement exercises of the College of Arts and Sciences on May 14. He will be the featured speaker at the ceremony, addressing graduates and their families along with the gathered faculty.
A UT Knoxville faculty member holds the Nancy Gore Hunger Chair for Excellence in Environmental Studies, endowed by Gore to honor his late sister. He also is a distinguished member of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy's board of directors and honorary co-chair of the Tennessee 4-H Club Foundation Inc. with UT Extension.
UT Interim President Jan Simek addressed the board about the special legislative session in January that resulted in the passage of higher education reform that changes the funding formula, stresses articulation between public institutions and emphasizes the UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory partnership through a new joint graduate program.
“We should take this legislation as a challenge and a positive opportunity for the University,” Simek said.
Gov. Phil Bredesen challenged UT Knoxville to become a Top 25 institution in the next 10 years in his State of the State address. Simek said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has already begun the process to meet this goal and that UT Knoxville’s model should be used at the other campuses to achieve greater excellence.
“Every position you move up is harder than the one before,” Simek said. “We should be Top 25. We will be Top 25.”
Simek also updated the board on several aspects of System reorganization.
A task force studying the appropriate placement of the Institute for Public Service has determined IPS should report directly to the president.
A proposal to designate the UT Institute of Agriculture as a campus and the UTIA leader as a chancellor instead of vice president will be presented at the annual board meeting in June, Simek said.
Simek said he expected reports soon on diversity, UT Knoxville athletics, and purchasing and construction management.
The board also approved:
For a link to archived Webcasts of the Academic Affairs and Student Success Committee and the full board, go to http://www.tennessee.edu.
To view the meeting's full agenda and materials, go to