The University of Tennessee’s Tickle College of Engineering has hired Jeremy Kirk to the newly created post of assistant dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He begins his new role March 1.
In the role, Kirk will help the college work toward its goals of developing a more welcoming and inclusive campus climate; attracting and retaining students, faculty, and staff from historically underrepresented populations; and building stronger relations with diverse communities throughout the state.
“We’re really pleased to welcome Jeremy to the college and are eager to see him thrive in this new and important role,” said Matthew Mench, dean and Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair of the college. “He has a comprehensive background and education related to DEI issues, and I am thrilled he will be joining us.”
“I’d like to thank Dean Mench and the entire hiring committee that selected me to serve as the inaugural assistant dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Tickle College of Engineering,” said Kirk. “As the son of a civil engineer who dedicated 40-plus years to working in the field, joining DEI work with engineering energizes me coming into this role.”
Kirk comes to UT from Lone Star College–Tomball in Texas, where he has been the director of diversity and inclusion since 2020. Kirk earlier served at Auburn University as a program manager in the diversity education unit of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, where he developed diversity modules for the facilities management team—the largest and most diverse department at the university—and in other roles, including research assistant.
Resources already in place in the college include the Office of Diversity Programs, the Women in Engineering Program, and membership in both the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and the National Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science Consortium. Active student groups include chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers as well as discipline-specific groups.
Kirk has a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education from Valdosta State University and a master’s in higher education administration from Auburn. He’s currently on track to finish his doctorate in higher education administration at Auburn this semester.
“There’s a saying, ‘If you see a turtle atop a fence post, know that it did not get there by itself,’” said Kirk. “This quote is a testament to my career and tenure in higher education. I have been afforded some of life’s greatest opportunities from the sacrifice and belief of others in me. I look forward to joining the leadership team in our efforts to implement sustainable measures to ensure Tickle College of Engineering raises the bar for all institutions to model.”
Kirk vacationed in the Great Smoky Mountains last year, and he saw part of UT’s campus driving past on his way home. Now he’s coming back to stay.
“Knoxville is a special place, and the University of Tennessee is a world-class institution that I am grateful to be a part of working in this role,” he said.