It is a long way from New Hampshire to Knoxville, but the new vice chancellor for research and engagement, taylor Eighmy, has found his way to Rocky Top.
"My wife and I both grew up in New England, and we have been heard to say, on occasion, that the Cumberland Plateau and Knoxville area remind us of home. We've fallen in love with the city of Knoxville," Eighmy said.
Beginning on October 2, Eighmy will bring his previous experience of growing research programs at Texas Tech University and the University of New Hampshire to UT. "Hopefully, with a little bit of luck, we will be arriving the last weekend of September," Eighmy said.
He began his career at New Hampshire as a research assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering in 1986, moving up to interim vice president for research and then assistant vice president for research. Since 2009, he has worked as a faculty member and research administrator at Texas Tech, most recently serving as the senior vice president for research.
UT's plans and goals for progress interest Eighmy. "Tennessee is right up there. If you look around higher education, there aren't a lot of universities thinking this way," Eighmy said. "I'm excited to work for a university who has aspirations to be a top-25 university."
His first goal as vice chancellor focuses on growth. "It is pretty clear that one of the first orders of business is to develop a plan for growing research enterprise within the context of the strategic plan already in place," Eighmy said. "That's something I'll be getting on right away."
Chris Ludtka, junior in chemical engineering, hopes the new vice chancellor can make strides in relationships with national organizations. "I'm really hoping he will put more effort into strengthening the partnership between UT and ORNL. That's a great resource for us," Ludtka said.
The vice chancellor for research and engagement is a position that has been filled by Dr. Lee Riedinger, a professor of physics whom Eighmy praised as "a wonderful ambassador for the institution."
"I've been impressed with the immense quality of the faculty. There's been great growth in the research enterprise, and their allegiance is great to see," Eighmy said.