Shewanee Howard-Baptiste will join the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Division of Academic Affairs as vice provost for academic outreach, effective Aug. 1, 2021. The announcement was made by Jerold Hale, UTC provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Hale said the addition of Howard-Baptiste is part of an overall reorganization of Academic Affairs to better serve the campus and address strategic priorities.
“Dr. Howard-Baptiste brings a unique set of work skills and evaluative skills to growing this campus,” Hale said. “Her academic outreach duties as vice provost will include overseeing programs for internal campus grants administered through Academic Affairs, faculty awards and professorships, and faculty and staff professional development opportunities.”
Howard-Baptiste joined UTC in 2013 and her promotion to the rank of professor will be finalized within the week.
“This new vice provost position connects the academic community and the broader non-University community in various ways, a role for which Shewanee is uniquely suited,” Hale said. “Since arriving at UTC, she has been a visible member of the faculty and has engaged in significant community service. Moving forward, she will spearhead important initiatives for the campus community.”
Howard-Baptiste spent the 2020-2021 academic year as the interim director for the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Program in the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies. Her academic journey includes serving as an assistant professor at Southeast Missouri State University and Ithaca College in New York state. She received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Miami University in Ohio.
During the 2016-2017 school year, she had the opportunity to serve as an executive administrative intern in the Provost’s Office and was involved in building out the MPH program.
“It was a 50% administrative role in that position, and I really loved meeting new people across the campus and in the colleges and learning about what other programs and departments were doing,” said Howard-Baptiste, who currently serves on the board of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education—crediting that organization for assisting in her professional development.
Howard-Baptiste said she would continue developing and growing community connections through academic initiatives such as internship programs and enhanced dual-enrollment programming to help create local enrollment pipelines.
“I think anybody that knows me knows that serving others is important to me,” she said, “and to be in a position where I can serve the campus and the community is just going to fuel my energy. I have so many ideas that I think we can accomplish in this space.
“In making this move, I see it as an opportunity to have a greater impact on our campus and in the community. I’m really excited about this.”
Since arriving in Chattanooga, Howard-Baptiste has established a strong community service base as a board member for the American Heart Association, the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, the new Montessori Elementary at Highland Park, Chattanooga Preparatory School and Cempa Community Care.
“Serving on these boards has really taught me and kept me grounded about what the needs of our community are, and I think education can help be a bridge to close some of those gaps,” she said. “Being outward in the community in terms of service is the foundation of who I am and what I do. To now being in a position to think broadly about how the campus can be intimately and intentionally connected to the community is exciting for me.”
While Howard-Baptiste will take a break from the classroom, she will remain accessible to students. Since 2019, she has participated in the University’s Faculty-in-Residence program, living in an on-campus apartment.
“It’s a way for me to stay grounded on what the needs and the pulse of the students are,” she said. “Being able to take those experiences from students and making sure that leadership is attuned to what’s happening day-to-day with our student body is important to me.”