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About Us

Karen Sullivan-Vance serves as the Associate Vice-Provost for Student Success at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She leads the Division of Academic Success & Transitions which includes: First-Year Studies, Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, Student Success Center, and the Student Support Services (TRiO). In addition Karen works on initiatives for the Division and the University including academic advising, first-generation students, hunger and homelessness. She has her bachelors in English from the University of Puget Sound, her masters in College Student Services Administration from Oregon State University and her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from Portland State University.  Karen presents nationally and internationally on topics ranging from student persistence, retention, academic advising, first-generation and foster youth accessing higher education. Karen most recently was a recipient of an Honorary Fellowship from the UK Advising and Tutoring Network.

Stella Bridgeman serves as the Interim Director of First-Year Studies. She joined UTK in 2007 as Assistant Director in the Student Success Center. Stella earned her Bachelors, Masters and Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degrees from Tennessee Technological University (TTU). Upon Completion of her Ed.S she was hired as an Academic Advisor in the College of Education at TTU. She specialized in transfer advising. She also served as the Academic Counselor for the Academic Development Program.

As Interim Director, she is responsible for 12 staff members overseeing all First-Year Seminars, Transition Advising and the Volunteer Bridge Program (collaboration with a local Community College). In her current role, she also serves as the primary contact for all aspects of Academic Alert and Case Management. Her experience in higher education extends over 16 years as she has progressed from academic advisor to interim director managing programs that provide academic support to students.

Stella is currently certified as an Advanced Level Academic Coach and Professional Coach Trainer through the National Tutoring Association.

Andrew Seidler serves as the Director of Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships (ONSF).

In 2016, Andrew received the Chancellor’s Ready for the World Citation, in part for developing and leading UT’s first-ever study abroad program to Cuba. Prior to working at UT, he was an editor and newspaper reporter. Andrew is a graduate of Colby College (BA in History) and Northwestern University (MS in Education & Social Policy) and is currently pursuing his PhD in Education Psychology and Research.

Doug Renalds (MTS, Duke University) serves as Director of the Student Success Center, providing academic support to undergraduate students at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  The SSC offers Academic Coaching to students hoping to maximize their time and expand their toolkit of learning strategies.  The SSC also provides course-specific support through individual tutoring, as well as Supplemental Instruction.

Doug also collaborates with faculty and campus partners to assist students during difficult circumstances and transitions.  In addition, he is responsible for co-creating and implementing initiatives such as the Summer Opportunity for Academic Recovery (SOAR) for academically dismissed students, and the HOPE Protection Partnership (with Financial Aid) for freshmen with state lottery-funded scholarships.

Talisha Adams serves as the Interim Director for the TRiO Student Support Services (SSS). Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education, SSS seeks to increase the number of low-income college students, first-generation college students, and college students with disabilities who successfully complete a bachelor’s degree. The program does this through individual coaching, small, SSS-only sections of math and chemistry classes, one-on-one tutoring, cultural enrichment activities, workshops, and in partnership with campus and community partners.

Phyliss Shey (MS, University of Tennessee) serves as division administrative coordinator for a variety of areas including academic advising, administration (budget and training support staff), GradesFirst web-based student support for all campus-wide undergraduate advising/tutoring, data collection, and various web sites. Provides support for AVPSS initiatives such as First-Generation College Student and food and housing insecurity.