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Spring 2021

In January 2021, the Office of the Provost appointed a Strengths-Mindset Advisory Council to develop recommendations about how the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, can incorporate well-being as the foundation of the Volunteer experience as outlined in the strategic vision.

In August, the Strengths-Mindset Advisory Council proposed their recommendations, and the provost approved the following:

  • Incorporation of PERMA theory of well-being as the framework for the overall initiative
  • Implementation of a university-wide committee to inform the design of the Volunteer Experience Program
  • Development of transformational student grants to incentivize participation in experiential learning activities
  • Creation of a paid faculty fellows program, established for early adopters of the well-being initiative
  • Invest in integrated technology system to allow for program customization and personalization
  • Offer sizeable Student Success grants for academic departments interested in adopting well-being through the PERMA framework in introductory level, first-year courses

Fall 2021

  • Piloted the first Student Success grants with Biology 150 and Biology 160
  • Hosted the Vol Success Summit, offering professional development around strategic content areas relevant to the Volunteer Experience initiative

Spring 2022

  • Launched the Volunteer Experience Committee to propose foundational elements of the student-facing Volunteer Experience Program
  • Launched review of existing learning community offerings and national best practices

Fall 2022

  • Launch revised New Vol Orientation program, with a multi-phase approach to onboarding new Vols that includes academic advising, summer welcome, online orientation, and Big Orange Welcome, UT’s six-week welcome period at the beginning of the semester. The extended approach broadens opportunities for new Vols to build relationships and make meaning of their resources and role on campus.
  • Launch a revised First-Year Seminar curriculum including the science of learning and well-being strategies
  • Begin a Volunteer Experience Faculty Fellows initiative, embedding local well-being pedagogy content experts in academic departments

Fall 2023

  • Implement the full Volunteer Experience Program