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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.  

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.

Jason Mastrogiovanni serves as the Director of First-Year Studies.

He has over twelve years of leadership experience in student success and transition. He came to UT as the founding director of the First-Year Studies Department in 2013 from Stony Brook University in New York. As a doctoral candidate in Learning, Design, and Technology he has published several articles on collaboration, transition, and design thinking in the higher education environment. His dissertation topic is The challenge of designing transfer student services: Activity-theoretical studies of collaboration at four-year institutions and he intends to graduate fall 2019.

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.

Cory Major serves as the Director for the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. 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.


Cory has over 20 years of experience in higher education, most of which has been spent helping students access higher education and supporting their success within the higher education setting. He holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Excelsior College and a master’s degree in leadership and policy studies from the University of Memphis.