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About the VPSS

Volunteers, 

Vice Provost Amber Williams

As we prepare for the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, I want to provide a summary reflecting on the intentional, collective efforts to support every Volunteer community member.   

In the last year, UT has transitioned to a primarily on-campus experience and has returned to being more vibrant than ever. While our campus still manages the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are stronger and more resilient, having established creative ways to reimagine and implement our Vols’ undergraduate and graduate experience.

Through Goal One of the Strategic Vision, UT is charting a bold, new path to creating a Volunteer Experience rooted in well-being where every student scholar thrives. This new initiative is a comprehensive, university-wide approach to student scholars’ well-being and success—inside and outside the classroom. It will harness the power of our student scholars’ strengths, promote their well-being, and produce graduates who are self-motivated, resilient, confident, and driven by service.

Over the past year, Student Success has continued its mission of supporting the unique goals of every student scholar through innovative programming, including the following.

  • The Vols Start Back initiative re-engaged continuing student scholars in academic and campus life.
  • We welcomed the inaugural cohort of the UT Success Academy – a new approach to maximizing first-year Black and Latinx men’s transition to the Volunteer community.
  • In its second year, the Vol Success Team continued its team-based approach to supporting student scholars in identifying and achieving their academic, personal, and professional goals.
  • Of the 75.4% of graduating Vols who reported their post-graduation plans, 60.8% had obtained employment, and 27.7% will attend graduate school.

Further, data shows that the high-quality services we provide at UT impact student scholars’ success. Specific achievements include:

  • 94% of first-year student scholars engaged with their Vol Success Team. Student scholars who engaged with their team reported lower levels of stress and higher perceptions of belongingness and academic success.
  • 97% of first-year student scholars engaged with a high-impact practice, including a first-year seminar. Student scholars who participated in a first-year seminar had higher GPAs than those who did not.
  • 89% of recent graduates reported a positive career outcome six months after graduation.

Please refer to Student Success’ mid-year report for a broader view of our work. This report reflects the tremendous work we are doing that is central to the division and university’s focus on providing high-quality educational opportunities to student scholars at every stage of life, whenever and wherever they seek to learn.

I am always excited for our journey forward and for collaborating with our student scholars, faculty, and staff to enhance student success here at UT. Go Vols!

In the Volunteer spirit,

Amber Williams
Vice Provost for Student Success

P.S. I refer to students as student scholars. Reframing their roles as scholars sets clear expectations of the academic curiosity that we hope they will achieve.

Vice Provost Amber Williams Biography

Please email vpss@utk.edu to request a presentation by Vice Provost Williams.