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The College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies strives to support faculty through the proposal and development of new interdisciplinary academic programs.

CECS Leadership

Ozlem Kilic

“The future is arriving fast at UT with the launch of CECS and its dynamic team, reimagining higher education for the next generation and beyond. Our students will be equipped with skills and knowledge required to adapt to rapidly evolving industries, work effectively in multidisciplinary teams, and address real world challenges through our state of the art pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning.”


Ozlem Kilic is the Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the new College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies (CECS).
Prior to her role in the provost’s office, Dr. Kilic served as the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs in the Tickle College of Engineering, overseeing a variety of programs, including undergraduate and graduate curricula, Engineering Fundamentals, scholarship and fellowship programs, and the college offices responsible for study abroad, advising, student success, outreach, recruiting, retention, and workforce development. She also co-supervised the Heath Integrated Business and Engineering program in partnership with the Haslam College of Business. She has led multiple initiatives designed to enhance student recruitment and retention, such as the establishment of Student Success and Women in Engineering offices in engineering.

She was also instrumental in the launch of the intercollegiate data science minor — a collaboration among the Tickle College of Engineering; College of Arts and Sciences; Haslam College of Business; College of Communication and Information; Herbert College of Agriculture; College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; College of Architecture and Design; College of Nursing; and the College of Social Work — and serves as its executive director. It is this work that led to the discussions on how to improve intercollegiate education on campus ultimately leading to the launch of CECS.

Prior to coming to UT, Dr. Kilic was a professor and served as the associate dean of engineering at the Catholic University of America. She has also worked as an electronics engineer at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory where she managed Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Programs, and as a program manager at Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications.

Alex Bentley
Associate Dean

“The landscape of knowledge, and the education we need to prepare for it, will change more in the next five years than it did in the last fifty. CECS students will be prepared for the acceleration of contemporary career skills through the most adaptive, forward-looking interdisciplinary degrees the University can offer.”


Alex Bentley is Associate Dean of CECS and Professor in Anthropology at UTK. Before being named Associate Dean of CECS, Bentley served as head of the Department of Anthropology, as well as Faculty Director for the Data Science intercollegiate minor.

In Spring 2022, Bentley created and taught the first version of DATA 201, “Data science and discovery”. As a computational social scientist, Bentley’s research concerns how human behaviors change through time and across social and geographic space. Much of this research tests quantitative models of collective behavior on real-world data in realms varying from public health, cultural values, and the spread of misinformation.

During 14 years at U.K. universities, Bentley consulted for the Gates Foundation, the U.K. Ministry of Defense and Department of Health as well as Sony Europe, Sanofi Pasteur, Unilever, and others. An Affiliate of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, Bentley helped create a DoD policy document, Future Directions in Social Science. His coauthored books for M.I.T. Press include I’ll Have What she’s Having: Mapping Social Behavior, The Acceleration of Cultural Change, and The Importance of Small Decisions.


Employment Opportunities

Interested in joining our team? Please check back regularly as we update available positions:

  • Director of Business Operations: Apply here
  • Director of Industry Partnerships and Economic Engagement: Apply here
  • Director of Advising: Coming soon
  • Student Experience Coordinator: Coming soon