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Holbert Named Director of Research

Courtney Holbert Brings Vol Experience and Passion to Role

Courtney Holbert joined the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in 2023 in the inaugural role of Director of Research. She brings years of previous experience to the position from the UT Institute of Agriculture (UTIA), the UT College of Education, Health and Human Sciences (CEHHS), and in the Tennessee nonprofit arena.

Holbert earned her master’s degree in social work at UT with a concentration in management and community practice and recently finished a certificate in change management from Cornell University. While in college, she wrote her first successful grant proposal—for a Knoxville-area inner-city nonprofit—and has “never looked back.” She finds great purpose in serving as a liaison for faculty in pursuit of funding for their research and scholarly activity.

“I am really passionate about bringing practical solutions to systematic challenges in research administration,” said Holbert. “I firmly believe that the college can exponentially grow its impact through securing additional external funding and learning how to continue to compete in the current funding environment. I hope to create a support structure that allows all faculty, staff, and students to grow their research skills and ultimately be widely successful in pursuing their research and scholarly activity dreams and passions.”

Holbert began her administrative experience at UT as a pre-award and subaward coordinator in UTIA’s Office of Sponsored Programs in 2011, and in 2017 took the role of the CEHHS director of external funding. A native of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Holbert lives in Knoxville with her spouse of 19 years and their two boys. Outside of campus life, she enjoys exercising with friends, reading a great novel, and watching her boys play baseball and ultimate frisbee.

Her East Tennessee roots and UT education and career have connected her to the community on campus and beyond.

“It’s great to be a Tennessee Vol,” she said. “I have always had a lifelong servanthood perspective. My pursuit of social work showed me how to connect resources to need and that has served me well over the last 20 years. It brings me great joy to see others succeed and shine that light of success in new areas that make the community better, stronger, and more resilient.”

Holbert stays up-to-date in her area of expertise, regularly attending research administration conferences where she often presents on topics related to professional development and excellent customer service in research administration.

“It’s a great community to create professional connections and stay at the forefront of the current knowledge base in the field,” she said. 

She now brings her accomplished repertoire of skills and engagement to guide research development for the college.

“I enjoy listening to perspectives and trying to find solutions to address the systemic challenges that are blocking success,” said Holbert. “I have years of experience using technology and guidelines development as a tool to guide others’ success. I look forward to doing the same in CAS.”