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Student Success Announces New Associate Vice Provost

Following a national search, the University of Tennessee has selected Patrick Akos as the next associate vice provost for Student Success and executive director of Honors & Scholars Programs, beginning July 1. In this role, Akos will chart a bold, new vision for UT’s honors programs and will enhance and expand the university’s undergraduate research and fellowships enterprise. 

“Dr. Akos is a visionary and collaborative leader prepared to transform UT’s efforts to support our undergraduate student scholars through honors, undergraduate research, and fellowships initiatives,” Amber Williams, vice provost for Student Success, said.   

Akos and James Williams, director of Honors & Scholars Programs and associate professor in the College of Education, Health, & Human Sciences, will enhance collaborations with UT faculty to re-imagine the university honors experience through innovative pedagogy and a rigorous curriculum effective student support services. Director Williams, who has served as a faculty member in CEHHS since 2014, brings a successful record of innovating undergraduate curriculum and serving as an advocate for student scholars to his role as director of the Honors & Scholars Program. 

 “The honors experience should encourage students to dig deeper and go further with their academic interests,” Director Williams said. “I look forward to collaborating with Dr. Akos and our acclaimed faculty to enhance the honors experience for current and future Volunteers.” 

With Erin Darby, faculty director of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships and associate professor in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Andrew Seidler, director of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships, Akos will strengthen UT’s undergraduate research and fellowships initiatives by expanding access and enhancing support services. 

Akos, who will serve as a consultant to the university during the summer, expressed his enthusiasm for joining UT. “I am honored to join this vibrant community of innovative thinkers and doers and look forward to collaborating with faculty and staff to advance the success of all Volunteers.” 

Akos currently serves as a professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research, teaching, supervision, clinical practice, and leadership are grounded in a strengths-based framework. He examines how best to support and cultivate well-being, especially during educational and career transitions. Pending approval from UT’s Board of Trustees, Akos will continue as a full, tenured professor in the College of Education, Health, & Human Sciences. 

The search committee, which included broad faculty and staff representation and opportunities for campus partners to engage with finalists, was led by Christopher Stripling, professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications. 

Reflecting on the comprehensive search process, John Zomchick, provost and senior vice chancellor, said, “I am grateful to the search committee and the UT community for engaging in a collaborative process that resulted in the selection of Dr. Akos.” 

A campus-wide reception will take place this fall to welcome Professor Akos to the UT community.  

Contact: Kelsey Kyne,