New UT Chancellor, Donde Plowman, gives first address to Vol Nation


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – On the job for one week, and University of Tennessee – Knoxville’s new Chancellor, Donde Plowman, took the time to address Vol Nation with where she sees the university heading, with service at the forefront.

“I want the world to know what it means to be a Volunteer, I think people in the state of Tennessee know… I want the world to know,” Plowman said. “I want it to be true that when you leave here and go take a job wherever – whether it’s in a school in western Tennessee, or if you’re traveling abroad, or you take a job in Dallas – I want people when they hear you’re from Tennessee to say oh you’re a Volunteer so what was your Volunteer experience… and I would like every student to have an answer to that,” Plowman elaborated. “More than just I showed up one day and gathered canned goods… I’d like for people to say I had a meaningful experience that offered me the chance to be a leader.”

Plowman takes the helm after the University of Tennessee fired former Chancellor Beverly Davenport.

In Plowman’s five days on the job, she has had two cabinet meetings, 14 one-on-ones, nine meetings with stakeholders and most recently, welcoming nearly 700 incoming freshman and their families, highlighting the university’s reach around the country as a strength.

“We are growing at a time when many universities, public universities, are struggling,” Plowman emphasized.

Also Plowman taking the time to highlight that 25% of students at the university are the first in their families to attend college and how the recently announced Knox Promise Program aims to help.

In taking questions at Tuesday’s press conference Plowman expressed how she wants to be available personally, holding open office hours on campus once a week from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. as a way for students to drop in and share what’s on their mind.

“What am I hearing people say is they want a chancellor who is going to be visible, who wants to be accessible, and I’m betting you would like that too… I’m hearing it everywhere from students, from faculty, from the external community – so that’s a commitment I’m moving towards,” said Plowman.

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