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Senior Leadership Team

Ozlem Kilic, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Ozlem Kilic currently serves as the Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Prior to her current position she was the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs for the Tickle College of Engineering. Kilic joined the university as an associate dean of academic and student affair in the Tickle College of Engineering and a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2019. She also serves as the Executive Director for the recently launched intercollegiate undergraduate Data Science program.

In her current role, Kilic is the member of the Provost’s senior leadership team with primary campus-wide responsibility for the oversight of undergraduate academic programs. She works closely with the Undergraduate Council’s Academic Policy, Curriculum, and General Education committees, with the university’s Classroom Upgrade Committee, and with the University Calendar Committee. She chairs the university’s Residency Appeals Committee, co-chairs the University Space Committee with Jeff Maples, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, and co-chairs the university’s Enrollment Management Committee with Kari Alldredge, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. Kilic coordinates all academic program reviews on campus, manages the university’s Strategic Instruction Fund, coordinates the university’s NAGPRA compliance efforts, and is a member of the university’s Budget Model Steering Committee.

Kari Alldredge, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management

Kari Alldredge leads the university’s Division of Enrollment Management. The Division of Enrollment Management focuses on undergraduate recruitment and admissions, student services, retention and graduation.

The Division of Enrollment Management includes the following offices:

  • Enrollment Management Communications
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships
  • International Recruitment
  • One Stop Student Services
  • Strategic Enrollment Reporting and Analysis
  • Transfer Center
  • Undergraduate Admissions
  • University Registrar

Alldredge’s responsibilities include:

  • Provide strategic direction and oversight of undergraduate enrollment initiatives aimed to recruit, enroll and retain a thriving and engaged student community;
  • Collaborate with the Provost, Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and key campus leaders to establish undergraduate enrollment goals and class composition, including strategic planning across Enrollment Management units, building effective partnerships with internal and external stakeholders and evaluating recruitment opportunities that align with institutional goals;
  • Engage all Enrollment Management offices as an integrated team to optimize collaboration, innovation, and identify key efficiency and process improvements that impact the student experience;
  • Provide vision for the university’s strategic recruitment plan to support new student enrollment goals and institutional priorities;
  • Lead efforts to create a campus-wide recruitment, service and retention culture with shared ownership for enrollment goals and student success outcomes;
  • Collaborate with the Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and Financial Aid Director on scholarship and financial aid strategies designed to best serve institutional goals; and
  • Lead enrollment analysis to guide strategic directions, forecasting and informed decision making, including key admissions and enrollment reporting tools for college and campus partners.

Diane Kelly, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Diane Kelly oversees and facilitates processes related to the recruitment, retention, evaluation, promotion, and professional development of all faculty, both tenure-track and non-tenure-track, with attention to promoting faculty diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her responsibilities include oversight of: searching and hiring; annual performance and retention reviews; tenure and/or promotion; faculty development leaves and modified duty assignments.

Kelly’s duties also include facilitating faculty development through Teaching Learning Innovation, the UTK Leadership Program, and the SEC Academic Leadership Program. Her office also supports department heads and school directors through learning and networking events, and oversees revisions to the Faculty Handbook. She works closely with the Faculty Senate and the UTK Commissions, and addresses faculty grievances and issues related to academic freedom.

Dixie Thompson, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School

Dixie Thompson supervises and coordinates all aspects of graduate education on campus and supports the recruitment, admission, and academic achievement of graduate students here and at the UT Space Institute.

Her responsibilities include:

  • Working with the Graduate Council and its committees on policies, procedures, and curriculum proposals for continuing improvement and innovation of graduate programs;
  • Coordination of a network of departmental/program directors of graduate studies to advise the dean about graduate affairs;
  • Oversight of Graduate Admissions, the Office of Graduate Training and Mentorship, and maintenance of the Graduate Catalog;
  • Authority to approve all theses and dissertations submitted for graduate degrees;
  • Development and implementation of Graduate School sponsored workshops and initiatives that provide opportunities for graduate students to develop strong research and teaching skills and that support other aspects of professional development;
  • Facilitation of graduate student involvement in interdisciplinary research opportunities and international linkage and joint degree initiatives;
  • Management of the expenditure of Graduate School funds, including all graduate assistantships, tuition and fee waivers, and fellowships;
  • Participation in all program reviews; and
  • Maintaining active engagement with state, regional, and national professional organizations that promote and support graduate education.

Gretchen Neisler, Vice Provost for International Affairs, and Director, Center for Global Engagement

Gretchen Neisler is the senior international officer of our university.  She began work at UT in August 2018. She came here from Michigan State University, where she was the director of the Center for Global Connections in Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources in the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources.  She has an international portfolio that includes work across the Middle East, East Africa, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Her responsibilities include:

  • Working closely with the university community to lead the development of the university’s strategic international agenda;
  • Representing the university to external constituents, both nationally and internationally; and
  • Overseeing the Center for Global Engagement, which encompasses the offices of Asian Engagement, Programs Abroad, International Support Services, International House, English Language Institute, Global Research, and Communications.

Amber Williams, Vice Provost for Student Success

Amber Williams is the inaugural Vice Provost for Student Success and is responsible for the University of Tennessee’s efforts to serve all students and their unique academic goals. 

Through the development, implementation, and evaluation of student success initiatives, Amber works to retain and graduate a talented and diverse student body. She goes beyond the numbers to see students as individuals, creating programs and policies that support each student’s distinctive story and enabling them to prepare not just for graduation, but to make a difference in the world.

Additionally, Williams provides leadership to the Academic Success Center, Veterans Success Center, First-Year Programs, New Student Orientation, Undergraduate Research & Fellowships, Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration, Honors & Scholars Programs, Academic Inclusive Initiatives and campus-wide academic advising initiatives.

Owen Driskill, Associate Provost & Chief Operating Officer

Owen Driskill manages the operations of the Office of the Provost and special projects related to the office’s and the university’s mission and vision. He also oversees processes that ensure the flow of information to stakeholders and central communications on behalf of the office.

His responsibilities include:

  • Work with the executive team to coordinate, support, and manage operations to promote the university’s strategic goals;
  • Coordinate major initiatives of the Provost’s Office to make sure appropriate units are interacting, sharing needed information, and meeting goals and deadlines;
  • Manage Office of the Provost communications with major stakeholders, including the chancellor’s cabinet and the faculty senate Supervise events coordinator;
  • Work with Finance and Administration and OIRA to provide Provost’s team with timely data and strategic insights

Gary Gray, Assistant Provost for Finance and Administration

Gary Gray provides leadership in the areas of budget development and best practices, resource allocation, planning, policy, data management and analysis, and systems development. His responsibilities include:

  • Developing and implementing the Provost’s academic planning and budgeting process to advance the Vol Vision 2020 strategic plan;
  • Overseeing the budgets and financial operations of the units reporting to the Office of the Provost;
  • Supporting and assisting the colleges in budget development, reporting, planning, and analysis;
  • Providing guidance related to human resource planning and deployment;
  • Acting as the Provost’s liaison to the campus Division of Finance and Administration;
  • Developing processes and administrative tools for the collection and use of academic data on campus;
  • Providing expertise to the Vice Provosts and other offices within Academic Affairs in modeling, forecasting, developing, and disseminating academic data to guide decision-making in enrollment management, faculty recruitment and retention, graduate programs and research, and implementation of Vol Vision 2020;
  • Serving on the Student Information Systems Committee, which prioritizes tasks, upgrades, and support for Enterprise Resource Planning and other software solutions; and
  • Creating performance measurement and assessment metrics such as calculating a cost of instruction, and a return on investment for program funding and new academic initiatives.