The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville) is Tennessee’s land-grant, flagship university and premier public research institution. As the first public university chartered west of the Appalachian Divide, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has been engaging students in research and scholarship for 225 years. Enrolling more than 30,500 students, including 24,000 undergraduates, the university has over 370 undergraduate and 547 graduate programs across 11 colleges. UT Knoxville is part of the University of Tennessee System, included in the highest Carnegie Classification, and is immersed in the Knoxville metropolitan area which consists of approximately 883,000 residents.
Role of the Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of Equity and Diversity for The University of Tennessee Knoxville
Reporting to the vice chancellor for diversity and engagement, the associate vice chancellor and director of equity and diversity (AVC/director) helps create and maintain an atmosphere within the University community that seeks and supports diversity and inclusion in all aspects of University life. The successful candidate will be a strategic leader with unquestioned integrity. The AVC/director will provide university wide leadership and counsel to the vice chancellor for diversity and engagement on issues of diversity, equal opportunity and affirmative action, including campus climate; recruitment, retention, and development of staff; and achievement or opportunities concerning goals and policy compliance relative to faculty, staff and student profiles. The AVC/director will assist with the development of the Affirmative Action Plan and maintain and monitor the plan, as well as ensure compliance with established affirmative action hiring guidelines through review and approval of applicant pools, search committee procedures, and hiring requests. The AVC/director will develop and manage annual budgets for the office and direct and manage the Office of Equity and Diversity, including supervision of seven exempt administrative employees and one non-exempt employee. The AVC/director will be expected to:
- be a visionary and strategic leader who is committed to staff development;
- provide leadership for the associate director and deputy Title IX coordinator who is responsible for employee Title IX investigations;
- provide leadership for the associate director and deputy ADA coordinator, who is responsible for all ADA accommodations, education and development, and search processes;
- investigate, process, and resolve equal opportunity and affirmative action complaints and grievances filed by employees, applicants for employment, or students;
- investigate, process, and make recommendations concerning the resolution of sexual harassment grievances filed by employees, applicants for employment, or students;
- review University practices related to hiring, training, transfer, and promotion of faculty and staff; and make recommendations for corrective action as required;
- oversee the implementation and evaluation of the equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action program plans; and
- serve as the liaison for UT Knoxville with various enforcement agencies as the designated Title VI coordinator, EEO/Affirmative Action coordinator, and ADA coordinator.
In addition to the aforementioned duties, the associate vice chancellor and director of equity and diversity will be expected to:
- collaborate with other units (e.g., Title IX, human resources, student life, campus police, etc.) to direct policy, procedural, or legal compliance issues to appropriate existing channels for investigation and resolution;
- provide support to campus officials with Title IX responsibilities;
- work with the Office of Research to provide required and updated information for “assurances of compliance” for all research grants and contracts;
- ensure that requests for workplace accommodations from employees with a disability are assessed and addressed in a timely manner;
- work closely with the Office of Disability Services and Facilities Services to identify campus access issues and/or barriers and determine appropriate barrier removal;
- consult with and advise vice chancellors, deans, chairs, and directors to ensure compliance with the University’s Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Plan, state and federal laws and guidelines, and UT System policies and procedures;
- direct the administration of the executive exempt/upper-level search initiatives, and monitor compliance with the executive exempt/upper-level search guidelines; and
- prepare reports required by university and state and federal monitoring agencies.
History of the Position
Since June 2015, Jenny Richter held the role of associate vice chancellor and director of equity and diversity. After Richter’s retirement, Katrice W. Jones Morgan, associate director of equity and diversity, was appointed to serve as interim associate vice chancellor and director of equity and diversity in May 2020. Morgan will maintain this role on an interim basis until the associate vice chancellor and director of equity and diversity position is filled. After which, she will move into the role of associate vice chancellor for diversity and engagement, where she will lead campus wide diversity programming, serve as the student life liaison, and manage the division’s communication and budget staff.
Opportunities and Challenges of the Role
In transitioning to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the AVC/director may encounter a number of opportunities and challenges as shared by university stakeholders.
- University stakeholders repeatedly noted that the campus has an institutional culture that emphasizes a strong sense of team and inclusion, mutual support, accessibility, approachability, and a highly collaborative approach to work; there is a strong work ethic and positive energy. The AVC/director will find a peer group and colleagues that are welcoming, promote open communication, emphasize an orientation toward service, and share a desire for a progressive and forward-thinking professional.
- The work of the Office of Equity and Diversity will be accomplished through influence and the strength of relationships, as well as the formal authorities of the role. To succeed in this environment, the AVC/director must be a relationship-builder who generates support for the work of the office by developing strong partnerships across the college with students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
- It will be important for the AVP/director to develop a strong sense of staff “team” and build working relationships that emphasize a collaborative work environment. Transparency, communication, and flow of information were themes that repeatedly arose.
- Providing support and professional development for staff is of significance. Although most team members in the Office of Equity and Diversity are not new to the institution, they are new to their roles. Accordingly, the AVC/director needs to emphasize professional development of staff to enhance broader leadership skills, promote dialog regarding trends and best practices, and encourage participation in professional associations.
- The AVC/director will work with the vice chancellor for diversity and engagement leadership team to identify and coordinate opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to enhance their knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion; design and implement development opportunities that expand cultural fluency and facilitate improved understanding of differences; and identify sources of frustration and tensions and work to fully communicate challenges and progress.
- The successful candidate will be expected to “hit the ground running” and contribute to the university’s strategic discussions. The individual will advise the vice chancellor for diversity and engagement on strategic and institutional decisions, particularly as they relate to the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The AVC/director will be expected to pose challenging questions and suggest insightful solutions on difficult topics in order to stimulate the very best thinking among UT Knoxville’s leadership.
- The successful candidate will undertake a holistic review of current practices and policies within the Office of Equity and Diversity, assess current programs and initiatives in collaboration with campus partners and locate opportunities for improvement.
- Campus stakeholders shared that UT Knoxville is a wonderful place to work, the students are bright and engaging, faculty and staff are student-focused and connected across the institution, and there is a tremendous amount of cooperative support among university leadership.
Measures of Success
At an appropriate interval after joining the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the items listed below will initially define success for the new AVC/director.
- The AVC/director will have established a proactive and well-respected leadership presence on campus that is credible, collegial, and highly effective.
- The AVC/director will be regarded as a highly visible, approachable, knowledgeable, and resourceful leader who understands and values collaboration and operates with appropriate political acumen and dexterity.
- The AVC/director will have identified and implemented a robust reporting management system.
- The AVC/director will have established progress toward a shared understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion among members of the University community.
- The AVC/director will have developed stakeholder confidence in the Office of Equity and Diversity’s knowledge and expertise to assist the university in prohibiting discrimination and meeting its compliance responsibilities.
- The Office of Equity and Diversity has maintained an overall positive reputation for effective problem solving and is seen as a partner and team player by other key administrators and institutional stakeholders.
Qualifications and Characteristics
The successful candidate will possess a master’s degree and at least eight years of progressively responsible work experience related to affirmative action, equal employment opportunity compliance, employee relations/human resources, or ADA compliance coordination. Qualified candidates possessing a doctoral degree, JD, or other terminal degree, and at least ten years of progressively responsible experience at a research-intensive education institution or comparable organization are strongly encouraged to apply. The ideal candidate will have deep and broad knowledge of state and federal laws applicable to equity and diversity and employee relations; the ability to effectively collect, analyze, evaluate, and prepare statistical data; and the ability to work effectively with individuals from all levels of staff, faculty, students, and external stakeholders across a large, complex, institutional structure. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience as a visionary and leader working effectively with individuals from diverse and historically underrepresented communities, including specific experience with people of color; people with both visible and invisible disabilities; women; and people of various gender and sexual identities and expressions. The successful candidate must also possess the ability to interpret policy and develop programs that enhance an understanding of university goals and objectives; effectively manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and demonstrate excellent and efficient writing, editing, organizational, and presentation skills.
Various campus stakeholders identified the following characteristics, skills, actions, and/or abilities as important attributes of the associate vice chancellor and director of equity and diversity
- exhibit qualities of emotional maturity, genuineness, self-confidence, common sense, judgment, fairness, creativity, discretion, decisiveness, political savvy, tact, resiliency, adaptability, courage of convictions, and tolerance for ambiguity;
- a leader with an even temperament who is person-centered, mission-driven, and brings passion, high energy, and enthusiasm for moving OED and the institution forward;
- a sense of patience and diplomacy with a broad array of constituents who have varying perspectives and the ability to be both firm and flexible;
- an advocate for positive, progressive change and the skill to manage change through collaborative partnerships;
- a good listener, open to feedback, and an open-minded, team-oriented leader;
- excellent negotiation skills, courageous, self-confidence, and a persuasive speaking style;
- the ability to disagree without being confrontational;
- the ability and demeanor to manage stressful or difficult situations calmly and with tact;
- demonstrate superior interpersonal and diplomatic skills;
- maturity, presence and gravitas to engage effectively with all constituencies, work across boundaries, cultivate and sustain collegial relationships and build unity around difficult issues;
- a culturally competent leader who is professionally active and encourages professional development in their staff;
- proven skills as a manager, demonstrated ability to lead, mentor, motivate and supervise staff—a willingness to roll up one’s sleeves and not be a micro manager;
- drive and intellectual curiosity, a willingness to work hard, a quick learner in a fast-paced environment;
- ability to communicate effectively and build trust with staff and faculty to engage them meaningfully in the educational process and goals of the university and to listen to and respond appropriately to their needs and concerns with the ability to suspend bias;
- strong mediation and demonstrated conflict-management and resolution skills, particularly resolving concerns of equity and diversity;
- ability to engage in discussions regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in a way that is empathetic and expansive;
- ability to maintain the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
Overview of the Office of Equity & Diversity
The Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) is part of the Division of Diversity and Engagement. The department fulfills an important compliance function by working with various legal mandates set out by state and federal law and university policies related to civil rights, equal employment, and affirmative action. OED also provides leadership and services that promote the institution’s mission of creating and sustaining a learning environment that is welcoming to all and hostile to none.
The Office of Equity and Diversity
- Serves the main Knoxville campus, Institute of Agriculture, UT Space Institute, UT Athletics, , and Institute for Public Service.
- Investigates complaints of discrimination filed on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status.
- Monitors and provides training and/or direction on searches for faculty, administrative, and staff positions in the Knoxville Area Units.
- Serves as ex-officio member of campus commissions (UT Knoxville Council for Diversity and Inclusion, Commission for Women, Commission for Blacks, Commission for LGBT, Commission for Disabilities, and Exempt Staff Council) and related committees (Bias Education Response Team and Veteran Student Services) that provide services to the various diverse segments of the campus workforce and student body.
- Provides workshops and training for faculty, staff, and students on issues related to diversity in teaching and learning.
- Serves as the campus Title VI and ADA Coordinators for the Knoxville Area Units.
Leadership of the Division
Tyvi Small, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement
Tyvi Small currently serves as the vice chancellor for diversity and engagement at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He served UTK for 13 years in the Haslam College of Business, where he culminated as executive director for talent management, diversity, and community relations. Prior to coming to Knoxville, he was the education coordinator and assistant to the mayor for the City of West Palm Beach, Florida. Small is a native of Pahokee, Florida. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in education. He is currently a PhD candidate in Higher Education Administration at UTK.
As Vice Chancellor, Small has developed several initiatives to move the newly formed Division of Diversity and Engagement forward. The Framework for Inclusive Excellence, using campus-wide input, was created by his team as the diversity, equity, and inclusion plan for the University. In addition, he has worked with senior leadership to facilitate the process for all academic and administrative units to submit diversity action plans with direct ties to administrator performance evaluations. He led the process to develop and fund the academic diversity initiative, which places diversity officers and programs in all academic colleges. In partnership with the Division of Research, the Research Development Academy was developed to help mentor historically underrepresented faculty through the promotion and tenure process. His team also coordinated the process for administering the university’s first climate survey. To support the work of faculty, the division created several grant opportunities, including Diversity Challenge Grants, which are available for teaching or research projects that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), racial injustice, systemic racism, class, human dignity, or social justice. In partnership with the Office of Human Resources, two new programs were developed to support staff development, including the UT Inclusive Leadership Academy and UconnecT. With Small’s leadership, the division supports several educational programs including the Intercultural Development Inventory, National Coalition Building Institute, and Inter-Group Dialogue and Conflict Resolution Program. The body of work outlined above lays the foundation for an equity-minded campus where everyone matters, and everyone belongs.
Small is very involved in the community and serves on the board of directors of the Knoxville Area Urban League and the Tennessee Valley Fair. He is also past secretary/treasurer of The Development Corporation of Knox County and a member of the Board of Commissioners for the Knoxville Utilities Board. He is a member of Leadership Tennessee Class VII, a 2012 graduate of Leadership Knoxville and a 2008 graduate of Introduction Knoxville. Small is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and is an active member of Overcoming Believers Church.
Founded in 1794, UT is big on tradition, and is proud of the humble beginnings as the first public university chartered west of the Appalachian Divide.
UT Knoxville — which includes the UT Institute of Agriculture and the UT Space Institute — serves the state by educating its citizens, enhancing its culture, and making a difference in people’s lives through research and service.
The University embodies excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, outreach, and engagement.
UT is refining undergraduate and graduate education, research, support for faculty and staff, campus infrastructure, and resources.
Present-day Knoxville is located near the center of the Great Valley of East Tennessee. Its location, in the heart of the valley and at the headwaters of the Tennessee River, make the city a center for the region’s economy, culture, and history.
Before European settlement, the valley was occupied by the Cherokee Indians. James White, the founder of Knoxville, established his home in 1786 as a fort and cluster of cabins. By 1791, the community was renamed Knoxville and enjoyed status as capital of the Southwest Territory. By 1794, the town was home to Blount College, known today as the University of Tennessee.
In the 1800s, Knoxville took advantage of its river access, railroad connections, and geographical location to become one of the leading distributing centers in the south. These same assets would make Knoxville a prize to be fought for during the American Civil War. Like the rest of the state, Knoxville was divided between the blue and the gray.
After the war, Knoxville rebuilt its economy through commerce, industry, and natural resources that included lumber, coal, and marble. Those natural resources and river-generated power helped establish Knoxville as an important “New Deal” city in the early 20th century, as a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and as headquarters to the Tennessee Valley Authority. In 1982, Knoxville was host to a World’s Fair and 11 million visitors. The theme, “Energy Turns the World,” reflects the city’s prominent role in technology.
Today, Knoxville is home to pioneers in industry, leaders in the arts, and traditionalists working to preserve its heritage. Knoxville’s culture and history can be explored and discovered in its 20 museums, numerous performing arts venues, and its historic neighborhoods.
Mission and Vision
The primary mission of the University of Tennessee is to move forward the frontiers of human knowledge and enrich and elevate the citizens of the state of Tennessee, the nation, and the world. As the preeminent research-based land-grant university in the state, UT embodies the spirit of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, outreach, and engagement attained by the nation’s finest public research institutions.
UT’s Carnegie Classification is very high research activity (Doctoral Universities R1 category). Most undergraduates are full-time, and admission is selective with a fairly low transfer-in rate. Admission to graduate and professional programs is also competitive. Graduate offerings include master’s, doctoral, and professional programs that focus both on research and practice. Nationally ranked programs, as well as partnerships with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are among UT’s unique characteristics.
The University of Tennessee seeks to be established as a top-tier public research university. Inherent in this vision is an acknowledgment that UT is currently a premier institution. UT’s vision reflects a desire to contribute to the legacy of the university and its longstanding tradition of excellence. This journey embraces the Volunteer identity and builds on the strengths that differentiate the University from its peers. This success will depend on a sustained commitment to improvement as part of its culture.
The University of Tennessee’s culture is guided by adherence to core values that define the Volunteer spirit and permeate who they are, what they do, and the approach to living and learning at UT and beyond.
Seeking Knowledge. The Volunteer spirit is intelligent, curious, and honors freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas. This type of inquiry encourages intellectual growth, a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, and a sharing of this knowledge, as embodied by the Torchbearer.
Leading with Innovation and Integrity. The University knows that solutions to modern problems arise through an understanding and application of existing data but also through creative thinking. Volunteers value character and integrity. The best leaders foster ethical and professional behavior such as open dialogue, transparency, and accountability within their groups.
Advancing Diversity and Inclusion. The Volunteer community encompasses faculty, staff, students, and alumni of different cultures and backgrounds. Respecting the contributions and strengths of each individual is integral to teamwork and to fostering a culture of inclusive excellence.
Engaging Locally and Globally. Volunteers get involved. Whether acting within the local and extended communities or embracing global challenges, the UT community strives to make a difference.
Embracing Responsible Stewardship of Resources. Sustainability of resources, whether in terms of financial resources, infrastructure, or the environment, is key to a healthy institution. Practicing these values at UT builds a lifelong respect for managing resources responsibly.
Vol Vision 2020 is the strategic plan for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The strategic plan focuses on six priority areas: undergraduate education; graduate education; faculty; research, scholarship, creative activity, and engagement; resources and infrastructure; and diversity and inclusion. It also emphasizes the Volunteer Difference—the unique strengths that sets UT Knoxville apart from its peers.
This site serves as a record of the journey—where UT Knoxville has been, where it is now, and where it intends to go. It shows that progress has made a tremendous difference on campus.
UT Knoxville has already made great strides in improving students’ experiences while making new discoveries and engaging with local and global communities, and the leadership in innovation and economic development has made a significant difference for the citizens of Tennessee.
Dr. Donde Plowman, Chancellor
Donde Plowman became the ninth chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on July 1, 2019. Under her leadership, the University has placed renewed focus on its land-grant mission as the state’s flagship public institution.
In her first year as chancellor, Plowman oversaw the creation of the Oak Ridge Institute and the merger of the Knoxville campus with the adjacent Institute of Agriculture. She appointed the university’s first vice chancellor for diversity and engagement, as well as a new provost, vice chancellor for research, and vice chancellor for student life. She also mobilized an extensive institution-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic while celebrating the university’s 225th anniversary.
Plowman returned to Rocky Top after nine years at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL), where she served most recently as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. In that role, she oversaw academic affairs, student affairs, the Office of Research and Economic Development, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She earlier served for more than six years as the James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of UNL’s College of Business Administration.
Before going to Nebraska, Plowman was on the management faculty at UT, where she served for two years as head of the Department of Management in the Haslam College of Business. She began her academic career at the University of Texas at San Antonio as an assistant professor of management and advanced to the position of professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research, where she was responsible for the creation of the university’s doctoral degree in business.
Plowman has a doctorate in strategic management from the University of Texas at Austin, an undergraduate degree with a major in English from Southern Methodist University, and an MEd in higher education administration from the University of North Texas.
Plowman is married to Dennis Duchon, a UNL professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Management at UNL. They have two grown sons.
900+ Programs of study
370 Undergraduate programs of study
547 Graduate programs of study
300 Study abroad programs
Academic calendar Semesters
The Student Body (Fall 2020)
30,559 Students (24,254 undergraduate and 6,305 graduate and professional)
17 to 1 Student-to-faculty ratio
- Health Insurance
- Dental Plans
- Vision Plans
- Life Insurance
- Long Term Disability
- Retirement Plans
- Sick Leave Bank
Review of applications will begin May 18, 2021 and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Quincy Martin III at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.
Visit the University of Tennessee, Knoxville website at www.utk.edu
The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status.