Leadership Forum

As administration focuses on the mission and vision of The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), leadership wants you to know that, your voice matters. Therefore, the University has begun a new initiative titled "Leadership Breakfast Forum." This initiative will allow both faculty and staff employees to be randomly selected on a quarterly basis to join our leaders, Dr. Steve Schwab, Chancellor, and Dr. Ken Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor and COO, for breakfast and casual conversation.

Dr. Lori Gonzalez mentioned an upcoming wine and cheese social for faculty

Dr. Chandra Alston stated that HR is here to support faculty and if there are issues with employees to let HR know.



  • Older faculty members aren’t getting raises. Newer faculty are making more money coming in.
  • Resident education is not recognized like research is.
  • People are leaving because of pay. The promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor is small.


UTHSC is working on an aggressive bonus program for research and clinical endeavors.


UTHSC is also rolling out a pilot educator program. If it works, it will be utilized across campus. As part of the program a faculty member can submit a dossier documenting his or her excellence in teaching. The faculty member doesn’t have to be nominated and the program is metric-based. If approved, a cash award will be given at the end of the year.

Dr. Schwab stated that raises are left up to the colleges and that the COM is an outlier. Dr. Brown stated that there is always money.

There is no incentive in ULPS.


Dr. Schwab stated that he will speak with practice group leadership.

When we don’t get enough students, budgets are decreased.


Dr. Schwab explained that colleges have multiple sources of income. When money comes to the college, the college then decides how to use it.

Department chairs aren’t conveying helpfulness/willingness to help departments.


Dr. Schwab stated that if no justice is received going through the normal chain of command, bring concerns to campus administration. Dr. Brown stated that it is good to go to the deans since they are aware of the activities within colleges; the administration serves as facilitators.

Mentorship Program for Junior Faculty?


Dr. Gonzalez stated that a Quality Enhancement Plan is in place, and one of the modules is interprofessionalism. Dr. Schwab has made training mandatory.

Good employees (staff) are leaving because of salaries. How can we retain them? Employee hiring should be easier and quicker.


Dr. Alston stated that the time-to-hire has improved from 2.5 months to 45 days, and HR is still working to improve this. If departments have a problem with retention come speak with HR, especially before an employee leaves.

Good faculty are leaving.

Dr. Brown stated that this issue is something that Dr. Stern, the administration, and department chairs are aware of and have had conversations about. Dr. Schwab stated that we want to make sure faculty have the right facilities, the atmosphere is correct, and compensation is fair. We don’t lose people because of compensation. We need to make UT attractive enough to stay.

How will the political situation surrounding visas change things?

Dr. Schwab explained that we will do whatever we have to do in order to comply with federal law.

NIH funding is steadily declining.

Dr. Brown suggested that faculty partner with other faculty members to increase the chances of getting funded.

Some staff need to be trained to be more service- oriented toward patients.

Dr. Brown stated that it is up to the department to train employees and students to be civil.

Community Outreach

 It would be beneficial to have a relationship with the Shelby County School System for community outreach.

  • UTHSC isn’t known in the community.
    It would also be good for the community to have a UTHSC symposium.

Dr. Brown stated that there has been more publicity for the campus in the last five years than there had been in the previous 95 years. 

Faculty Senate members and college committees are not disseminating information like they should be- e.g. new research policy.


The Office of Clinical Research has great resources. It would be good to market these to the campus more.


Incentive for practitioners to come to academia-e.g. a student loan repayment plan? Student loans are so high that practitioners are choosing private practice over academia.


Upcoming Forum Dates: UTHSC Campus

  • September 7, 2016
  • November 9, 2016

Upcoming Forum Dates: Off Site

  • May 3, 2016
  • July 13, 2016

As a follow up to the forum attendees provided their feedback:

The opportunity to share my suggestions and thoughts with the campus leadership was helpful. I also enjoyed hearing from other employees around the campus and getting to know more about what is going on in their areas.

Everyone listened to our concerns and I feel like progress will be made going forward. 

All comments and questions were answered and acknowledged. They made every department represented feel important and appreciated. 

I like the fact that the Chancellors were available to meet and discuss ways to help improve the University. It was a privilege to have been asked to be a part of the first Leadership Breakfast Forum, Thank You.

I like the opportunity to share with and receive insights from other individuals, at high levels (outside the college). Faculty also needs a forum for presenting sensitive concerns, perhaps on Ombudsman.