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Join Me in Welcoming Our New Deans

It has been an exciting few weeks at UT as we embrace new leadership across our campus, including within several of our colleges. The College of Social Work and the Tickle College of Engineering have welcomed new deans who bring with them the experience and enthusiasm to make a major impact both within their disciplines and across the university.

Lori Messinger.

Lori Messinger, a former director of the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, joined UT on July 1. Dr. Messinger is a proven leader with more than 15 years of leadership in research and public universities. She will take over a college known nationally as a leader in online graduate programs and interdisciplinary research. The college’s graduate programs are ranked 22nd among all public universities and its online Master of Science in Social Work is ranked 7th in the nation.


Janis Terpenny, former head of the industrial and manufacturing engineering department at Pennsylvania State University, joined the Tickle College of Engineering on July 15. Dr. Terpenny has a track record of fostering collaboration, growing research, and advancing the reputation of every unit she’s led. She takes over a college at UT that over the past decade has doubled its undergraduate and doctoral enrollment, improved its graduation rate, and increased faculty endowments and research expenditures. The college is ranked 31st among public institutions for its graduate programs and 33rd in undergraduate programs.

Jeff Fairbrother.

Additionally, Jeff Fairbrother began serving as interim dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences on July 1. Dr. Fairbrother has been the college’s associate dean of academic and faculty affairs since May 2016, and previously served as head of the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies. The college’s commitment to engagement in our communities and its teacher preparation programs make a difference across Tennessee every day.

I hope you will join me in welcoming Dr. Messinger and Dr. Terpenny to the Volunteer family and in supporting our new leaders as they take on these new opportunities. These colleges, like our university as a whole, are at important moments in their history with tremendous opportunities ahead. I am excited to see what they achieve next.

David Manderscheid
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor