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UT Knoxville Action Collaborative

The UT Knoxville Action Collaborative was established by Chancellor Donde Plowman in 2019 to guide the university in addressing underlying issues that allow sexual harassment to exist and persist in an academic environment.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the collaborative is to implement the following recommendations:

  • Create diverse, inclusive, and respectful environments
  • Move beyond legal compliance to address culture and climate
  • Improve transparency and accountability
  • Diffuse the hierarchical and dependent relationship between students and faculty
  • Provide support for those who have experienced sexual harassment

These recommendations are modeled after the work of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education, of which the University of Tennessee is one of 28 founding members.

The collaborative’s objectives will mirror the national collaborative’s focus on the following areas:

  • Prevention
    Create environments and organizational climates that prevent sexual harassment.
  • Response
    Develop responses that create an organizational climate where sexual harassment is not tolerated.
  • Remediation
    Create systemic changes that limit the risk of retaliation and other consequence to those who experience harassment.
  • Evaluation
    Measure the climate and effects of policies and actions on sexual harassment.


The collaborative working group is composed of representatives from across campus:

  • A representative of each college, appointed by their respective dean to a three-year term
  • A representative of the Student Government Association, Graduate Student Senate, and Faculty Senate, appointed annually by their respective group
  • A representative of Human Resources, the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School, the Office of Title IX, and the Office of Equity and Diversity, appointed by their respective office to a three-year term
  • A chair, appointed by the chancellor to a three-year term

Faculty participation in the working group counts toward the faculty service requirement.

2019–22 Membership

Brad Areheart, Associate Professor, College of Law

Ashley Blamey (chair), Title IX Coordinator

Laura Bryant, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Prevention, Training, and Evaluation

Natalie Campbell, President, Student Government Association

Melissa Cardon, Nestle Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Haslam College of Business

Megan Haselschwerdt, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences

Mary Lucal, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

Kim Newkirk, Associate Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine

Patricia Roberson, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Dixie Thompson, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School

Phyllis Thompson, Clinical Associate Professor, College of Social Work

Paul Frymier, Associate Dean, College of Engineering

Deb Welsh, Head, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

Erin Whiteside, Associate Professor, College of Communication and Information

David Willis, President, Graduate Student Senate

Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, Ombudsperson

John Zomchick, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Members will be added to represent the Herbert College of Agriculture and the College of Architecture and Design.