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Dr. Sharon Jean-Philippe named incoming Faculty Director in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships

The Office of the Vice Provost for Student Success at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, recently announced Dr. Sharon Jean-Philippe as the incoming Faculty Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (OURF) within the Division of Student Success. 

Dr. Sharon Jean-Philippe

In her new role, Dr. Jean-Philippe will work with the OURF Director and OURF staff to foster a campus culture where undergraduate research is a deeply engaging experience that is accessible to all students. 

Dr. Jean-Philippe comes to this role as a highly accomplished professor in the UT School of Natural Resources, with expertise in forest dynamics, experiential learning, and the recruitment and retention of urban youth in agriculture. As a dual degree earner from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, she brings extensive experience and knowledge to her new position. 

Under Dr. Jean-Philippe’s leadership, OURF will continue to provide students with unparalleled opportunities to engage in research that enhances their education and prepares them for successful careers.  

She has been actively involved in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students throughout her academic career, including talks on academic preparation, co-op opportunities, internships for students, and how to engage diverse student bodies. 

“Sharon has hard shoes to fill, but I am confident she will continue and extend the extraordinary work in undergraduate research at UT. Her expertise is perfect for our strategic direction on Vol Edge and opening opportunities for undergraduate research for all students” said Dr. Pat Akos, Associate Vice Provost for Student Success. 

Dr. Jean-Philippe has made significant contributions to community engagement through urban forestry while her research work, such as the Community Riparian Restoration Project, has helped to restore and improve the environment in East Tennessee communities. 

Dr. Jean-Philippe’s research portfolio is equally impressive and has been recognized by the Society of American Foresters Conference, the Tennessee Urban Forestry Conference, the Open Journal of Forestry, and the American Journal of Plant Science.  

Moreover, her research grants have received funding from such prestigious organizations as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

“I couldn’t be more excited about Dr. Jean-Philippe in this position,” said outgoing OURF Faculty Director Dr. Erin Darby. “In her faculty role, I have found her a committed partner, collaborator, and leader in undergraduate research, as is clearly visible in both her stellar research record and her deep commitment to student mentorship. Sharon’s leadership in OURF will build upon the office’s strong record of success to take our undergraduate research programs to the next level.” 

Sharon has long been a stalwart advocate for undergraduate research experiences as a faculty member,” said Laura De Furio, acting director for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships. “In her urban forestry research group, her innovative community partnerships and student-first mindset have demonstrated how research opportunities can provide truly transformative experiences to undergraduates at UT. We are thrilled to welcome her to OURF’s leadership team.”