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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
College of Arts & Sciences
Photo of Dean Lee

January 2012

Dear Colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences,

Happy New Year! I am pleased to extend greetings and good wishes to all of you from my office in Ayres Hall where my books are finally shelved, and I am comfortably settled and working on the business of the college.

My family and I accomplished our move from Michigan to Tennessee in late December, and I began my first day as dean of the college on January 3. I am delighted to have permanently arrived to begin a new year with you as you return from the holiday break to begin a new semester.

During the past two weeks I have enjoyed getting better acquainted with the city and the campus. I have taken particular pleasure in Tennessee's beautiful and relatively mild winter weather.

As the term gets underway, I look forward to becoming more familiar with the college and the university and to meeting many more Arts and Sciences faculty, staff, and students. I have already met with the dean's staff and the department heads and directors. I am looking forward to a visit with each department and school to meet the faculty, staff, and students who collectively comprise our large college and make it the heart of the university.

I feel privileged and honored to lead the college during this important time of great change and opportunity as the University of Tennessee, Knoxville pursues the goal of becoming a top 25 research public university. Given the centrality of the College of Arts and Sciences in UT
Knoxville, the university's goal cannot be achieved without the stellar contributions of the college's talented faculty, staff, and students.

I am pleased to find the College of Arts and Sciences has already embarked on a period of assessment leading to the development of strategic plans, not only for the college, but also for each of the departments and schools. These plans, as they are fleshed out and implemented, will result in important improvements in all aspects of our mission. I look forward to our work together to make progress on these strategic goals and to build a supportive environment that advances the college as well as UT.

Our college goals, developed in consultation with faculty, staff, and student representation, are in alignment with the Top 25 goals and VOLVision and focus on those aspects of our endeavors that matter most: our students, faculty, and staff and the resources we need to support their success. Generally stated, our college goals are:

  • Goal I: Deliver a challenging, multidisciplinary, liberal arts education to undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds, including opportunities for student participation in faculty-led research, creative activities, community outreach, and study abroad.
  • Goal II: Recruit and prepare high-quality, diverse graduate students to excel in their chosen disciplines and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their fields.
  • Goal III: Promote, support, and reward excellence in faculty scholarship and creative activity that increases knowledge.
  • Goal IV: Build, support, and retain a diverse team of world-class faculty and staff.
  • Goal V: Improve the resource base to accomplish goals I through IV above. I look forward to working together as these goals guide our journey to the Top 25. There is much cause for optimism about our college's future, and hence, our university's future. Despite economic challenges, the College of Arts and Sciences has clearly continued to thrive, due in large measure to the extraordinarily resourceful and creative efforts and accomplishments of our
    faculty, students, and staff. I am committed to our strategic goals which have you at their core. As your dean, I will begin each day dedicated to creating and maintaining a supportive environment where your excellence can be realized.

As I share my thoughts with you, I invite you to share yours with me. Please feel free to write to
artscidean@utk.edu to respond to this message, to offer your thoughts about the college, and
to suggest topics you would like me or others in the Dean's Office to address.

With best regards,

Theresa M. Lee, PhD
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

The University of Tennessee
College of Arts & Sciences
Office of the Dean
312 Ayres Hall
1403 Circle Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-1330
Phone: 865-974-5332 | Fax: 865-974-4352
Big Orange. Big Ideas.