Donde Plowman has been selected as the ninth chancellor of UT Knoxville following an extensive search nationwide by the University of Tennessee System.
Plowman, who is currently executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will take the seat of chancellor after she is recommended to the Board of Trustees during a special meeting on Friday, May 3 in the Executive Dining Room of the Student Union at 9 a.m. If the board approves, Plowman will begin her first day on July 1.
“The most important responsibility I have as the UT System interim president is to hire an outstanding person to lead our flagship campus in Knoxville. Under Donde’s leadership, I am looking forward to an exciting, successful and transformational future,” UT Interim President Randy Boyd said. “Her student-first approach, her reputation as a dynamic leader and collaborator and her great love for the UT Knoxville will be great assets as we work together to advance the university and the state of Tennessee for many years to come.”
Previously, Plowman had been a faculty member at UTK in the Haslam College of Business where she led the management department from 2007 to 2010, serving as department head for two years.
The chancellor of UT reports to the president and is responsible for the administration and management of campus, while also promoting continued development in academia, research productivity and the national reputation of the university.
“I could not be more thrilled to return to this great university, which is so important to the vitality of the state of Tennessee,” Plowman said. “To lead this campus, and help the students, faculty and staff realize their dreams for UT Knoxville, is the greatest honor of my life and I can’t wait to get started.”
John Compton, UT board chair, said he was thrilled to present Plowman for the position, and he was thankful for both Boyd’s leadership and the search committee’s work.
“After meeting with Dr. Plowman, I could not be more thrilled with the opportunity to present her candidacy as chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to the full board of Trustees next week,” Compton said. “She brings a distinguished track record of professional success, has a contagious energy to challenge higher achievement and brings the servant leadership of the Volunteer spirit that we all desire.”
At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Plowman operates as the second administrative position for the campus and oversees academic affairs, student affairs, the Office of Research Economic Development and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
She served for more than six years as the James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before becoming executive vice chancellor. During Plowman's time at the university, the college increased enrollment by 35% in six years, added 70 new faculty and created new academic programs, including the College of Business Honors Academy, the Clifton Strengths Institute and other student services.
Plowman was at the forefront of a fundraising campaign that raised nearly $150 million, including $84 million for a new building that opened in August 2017. Also during that time, the college moved rankings from No. 72 to No. 45 in the US News & World Report rankings of undergraduate business programs.
She began at the University of Texas at San Antonio as an assistant professor of management before advancing to the position of professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research, where she was responsible for creating the doctorate degree in business.
Plowman received her undergraduate degree in English from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She holds a master’s in higher education administration from the University of North Texas and received her doctorate in strategic management from the University of Texas at Austin.
The Lincoln Journal Star gave Plowman the “Inspire Woman of the Year Award,” in 2015. She was named twice as one of the 30 Most Influential Women in Lincoln and in 2016 received the Noddle Distinguished Development Service Award from the Nebraska University Board of Trustees in recognition of her fundraising efforts as dean of the College of Business.
Plowman is married to Dennis Duchon, a professor of management and department chair at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has two sons Kevin Ashmos and Chijioke Onuoha, who reside in Austin, Texas.
The search committee, chaired by Chancellor of UT Martin Keith Carver, launched the search in January and was conducted by a committee of faculty, staff, students and alumni community members. The committee invited four candidates to campus for open forums on April 15 to April 18. For details about the search process visit the search website.
However, President of East Tennessee State University Brian Noland withdrew his name from the UT Knoxville chancellor search and announced to the Board of Trustees meeting that he would remain at ETSU Friday morning. He then emailed the ETSU community to confirm that he would be staying.
Noland said that after having members of the ETSU community reach out to him and ask him to stay, he didn't want to leave the university.