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Campus Update for May 28

May 28, 2020

A Message from the Chancellor

Dear colleagues,

It has been nearly three weeks since we began our phased return to campus. Whether you were among the first group of employees to resume your work on-site or, like many of us, you continue to work remotely, thank you for your willingness to adapt.

The first phase of our return to campus has been successful, and we are ready to begin Phase 2 on Monday, June 8.

It will be at the discretion of supervisors to determine which employees should return to campus during this phase. Working remotely is still encouraged for those who are able and willing to do so. I plan to continue working from home most days to set that example. As with Phase 1, everyone who reports to work on campus during Phase 2 will be expected to adhere to health guidelines.

We will share more information next week, including detailed guidance and required online training for employees to take before returning to campus.

Our top priority continues to be the health and well-being of our campus community. It is important that we remain cautious in our decision-making and our actions as we reopen campus and prepare for the fall semester. Thank you for all you are doing to keep the university moving forward in these unprecedented times.

Donde Plowman

2020 Commencement Plans Remain on Hold

While the university had hoped to celebrate spring graduates with an in-person ceremony in August, it’s become clear that gathering together is not in the best interest of our graduates, their families, or our broader community, Chancellor Plowman told graduates in a message Wednesday. Public health experts continue to caution communities against mass gatherings, and it’s unclear how the spread of the coronavirus over the coming months will impact a ceremony at the end of fall semester. University officials are exploring options for both this fall and spring 2021.

Commencement Boxes Delivered to Spring 2020 Grads

Although we couldn’t hold commencement and hooding ceremonies this spring, the university sent a little piece of Rocky Top home to its 4,625 newest graduates. Each received a box in the mail with a printed commencement program, a letter from Chancellor Donde Plowman and Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni Affairs Duane Wiles, a poster with the university’s seal to commemorate the campus tradition of avoiding the seal on Johnson–Ward Pedestrian Walkway until graduation, and various UT alumni gifts.

Provost’s Office Seeking Faculty Fellows for Technology-Enhanced Teaching

The Office of the Provost is seeking applications from instructors interested in a new program to designate faculty fellows for technology-enhanced teaching. The program will empower 30 instructors from across campus who are experienced and skilled in using technology to provide disciplinary-specific assistance to their colleagues who are developing online, hybrid, or other technology-enhanced courses for the fall semester. The deadline to apply is June 3.

Alumni Serve Meals to Front-Line Workers

UT alumni in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, joined with other community members to provide meals to front-line health care workers at St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital. About 120 of the meals were donated by the UT Foundation, and most were prepared by chef Mitchell Murphree (’99) at his nearby Five Senses Restaurant.

Office of Title IX to Hold Office Hours on New Federal Regulations

The Office of Title IX will hold the first in a series of office hours Monday at noon to hear from anyone with questions, concerns, or other feedback about new regulations issued by the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The new regulations mandate how universities handle cases under Title IX, the federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The new regulations go into effect August 14.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.