From mission to vision to values, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has a commitment to enriching, engaging and connecting with the community on every possible level.
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, a new chapter in that commitment began with the launch of a dynamic new advisory group inspired by two longstanding panels intended to connect community leaders more directly with the University.
The “Chancellor’s Community Council,” convened in its inaugural meeting this week, has been described as the next logical extension of the work of the Chancellor’s Roundtable and the Chancellor’s Multicultural Advisory Council. The Chancellor’s Roundtable was established in 2000, and the Multicultural Advisory Council about eight years later.
“The extent to which UTC is integrated into the community is more than a fulfillment of our mission, vision and values,” said Chancellor Steven R. Angle. “It is a point of pride for the University and critical in our serving as a resource to the city, and the city serving as an extension of our campus.
“I was fortunate to have both the Chancellor’s Roundtable group and the Multicultural Advisory Council already established when I arrived at UTC in 2013. They represent key voices and perspectives, and their insights and feedback have been invaluable—and in fact, it is from those who have served that the suggestion came that now is the time to replace those councils with this one.”
Eight years after creation of the Chancellor’s Roundtable (CRT) in 2000, the Chancellor’s Multicultural Advisory Committee (CMAC) was established to ensure diversity on a panel directly engaged with UTC leadership. Angle said a diversity of voices within both bodies have suggested the time has come for a single panel that can serve the purposes of the former two.
Those purposes include advising the chancellor toward building broad-based community support, serving as a “think tank” helping forge strong relationships with the diverse Chattanooga community and making suggestions for enhancing knowledge of UTC programs and services for students.
“I am grateful to have benefited from the wisdom and observations of these influential and passionate leaders for almost 10 years, and I appreciate their thoughtful advice on the launch of this new council,” Angle said. “Every person who has served has brought a remarkable sense of ownership and gravity about their work with these panels, acting not only as thought leaders but thought partners. I look forward to working with this new group and in our next chapter of continuing to make this an even better university and Chattanooga an even better city.”
Dionne Jenkins, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union and a previous CMAC chair, is serving as inaugural chair of the new Chancellor’s Community Council (CCC).
“As an inclusion officer, I am pleased to see the two committees joined together as one. Each leader brings a wealth of knowledge, passion, and commitment to both the university and to the communities in which we serve,” Jenkins said. “Having a collective voice and working together to enhance the great work happening at UTC is very exciting. It is an honor to serve as chair of this inaugural group and I look forward to the many opportunities for us to help further the mission of Chattanooga’s university.”
The CCC group will have about 30 members, many of whom previously served on the CRT or CMAC. Most have accepted staggered three-year terms, while others serve by virtue of their positions, such as mayors, chamber executives, the superintendent of schools and the chair of the UTC alumni board.
Prior to joining UTC as Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement, Stacy Lightfoot chaired CMAC for three years. In that role, she said, “I thoroughly enjoyed partnering with former Chancellor’s Roundtable chair—now UC Foundation chair—Doug Brown, on agendas for our annual joint meeting.
“The University progress updates to both groups throughout the years were parallel and relevant, so it made perfect sense to merge the two councils. The University will benefit from the synergy of having more diverse perspectives from the community’s most trusted and well-respected leaders.”
Following Tuesday’s inaugural session, the CCC is scheduled to meet again in February and April of 2023. The group plans to convene three to four times each academic year.
Chancellor’s Community Council Members
Rebecca Ashford, President, Chattanooga State Community College
Doug Brown, President, UC Foundation Board
Eddie Centurion, Program Officer, Maclellan Foundation
Sydney Crisp, Retired
Jay Dale, President, UTC Alumni Board
Marsha Drake, Chief of Equity and Advocacy, Hamilton County Schools
Lynda Minks Hood, Executive Director, Chattanooga Bar Association
Bassam Issa, President, Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga
Steve Jacoway, Attorney, Patrick, Beard, Schulman & Jacoway, P.C.
Dionne Jenkins, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, TVFCU (chair)
Tim Kelly, Mayor, City of Chattanooga
Travis Lytle, Director of Community Development, SmartBank
Emily Mack, CEO, River City Company
James McKissic, President, ArtsBuild
Pat Murphy, Attorney, Waller, Lansden
Eddie O’Brien, Senior Vice President, UBS
Keri Randolph, Executive Director, Chattanooga 2.0
Justin Robertson, Superintendent, Hamilton County Schools
Deb Socia, CEO, Enterprise Center
Tamara Steward, Chief Equity Officer, City of Chattanooga
Elaine Swafford, CEO, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy
Macon Toledano, Associate Director, Lyndhurst Foundation
Weston Wamp, Mayor, Hamilton County
Marie Webb, Chief Talent and Inclusion Officer, EPB
Barry White, CEO, Chattanooga Tourism Co.
Paula Wilkes, President, Bessie Smith Cultural Center
Charles Wood, Interim CEO, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce