List of Articles

UT Knoxville College of Business Administration Announces Century Campaign

The UT Knoxville College of Business Administration will celebrate its 100 year anniversary in 2014. In recognition of this significant historic milestone, the college has announced a new campaign to be the cornerstone of the centennial celebration.

As part of the college’s role in UT Knoxville’s journey to become a top 25 public research institution, the Century Campaign seeks to grow the college’s endowment from its current level of approximately $74.2 million to $100 million by 2014.

Funding priorities include the College Fund for Business Administration, entrepreneurship and innovation, faculty support, the Global Leadership Scholars program, MBA scholarships, need-based undergraduate scholarships, and technology support.

“Private support is more critical than ever,” said Dean Jan R. Williams, Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair. “For us to continue to deliver a world-class education, and as the college leads the university in its goal to be a Top 25 public research institution, we must strive to increase our endowment and alumni participation.”

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High Schoolers Explore Business World through UT Summer Program

In June, 30 high school students from the Southeast learned about office etiquette, personal finance, the business world, and potential careers at a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, summer camp hosted by the College of Business Administration. The five-year-old Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) program allows students from communities underrepresented in the business world to explore career opportunities. There is no cost to the students to attend.

The visiting students took part in team-building activities, such as a ropes course, and took field trips to businesses including Alcoa, PepsiCo, PetSafe, the Knoxville Mayor’s office, and accounting firm Dixon Hughes in Asheville.

The Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi natives heard from faculty members and business experts and learned about various majors offered in UT’s College of Business Administration including accounting, finance, marketing, economics, human resource management, public administration, enterprise management, supply chain management, and business analytics. They also worked on their writing skills and learned more about educational funding options. The week concluded with a marketplace competition, a team-based business-simulation game that allowed the students to virtually run a company as business professionals.

More than 119 high school students from four states have participated in the program to date. Of the 89 students who have already completed the program, about 50 students are now or will be attending UT. The program is a great recruiting tool, said Tyvi Small, the business college’s coordinator of diversity initiatives.

“We view the BETS program as a perfect opportunity to introduce high school students to all of what our college has to offer and allow them to get a sneak peek of what college life is like,” he said.

This year’s participants are rising seniors with at least a 3.5 grade point average who were nominated by counselors or community members. The 30 students represent 23 high schools and 13 cities.

Funding for the 2012 BETS program was provided by the PepsiCo Foundation as part of its $350,000 five-year grant to the college’s diversity efforts.

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UT Names Classroom for Alumnus Jim R. Shelby

The UT College of Business Administration announced the naming of the Jim R. Shelby Classroom in the James A. Haslam II Business Building at a presentation celebrated on May 10. The naming was announced by Dean Jan R. Williams, Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair in the UT College of Business Administration. Over 100 of Shelby’s family, friends, and professional peers attended the presentation, hosted in the newly named room of the James A. Haslam II Business Building.

Jim “Jimmy” R. Shelby, a 1959 accounting graduate, passed away in July and will be missed by all who knew him. Shelby was widely respected as a trusted and influential business advisor to large and small businesses across the state of Tennessee. His accomplishments in the accounting profession as a partner in two international accounting firms and as an officer and member of numerous bank boards of directors had a lasting impact on multiple communities.

Shelby’s reputation for personal and professional integrity established him as one of the most influential wealth advisors in the state. He shared his expertise in a variety of ways with the University of Tennessee and served numerous charitable and civic organizations.

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Members of UT's National Association of Black Accountants Meet With Executives in Charlotte

Members of the University of Tennessee’s National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) student chapter and the National Black MBA Association recently went on a week-long professional development trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. Twenty-one high-achieving students from the UT Knoxville College of Business Administration participated. The students, from first-year to graduate-level, have an interest in a business-related discipline, such as accounting, marketing, finance, and information management. The purpose of the trip was to give them first-hand exposure on how companies operated and have them envision potential career paths within those industries.

“A professional development trip, such as the one to Charlotte, benefits students in several ways,” said Randy Bradley, NABA co-advisor and assistant professor in UT’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. “First, it gives the students a greater appreciation for the concepts they learn in class because they have the opportunity to see how those concepts are being leveraged in industry. Second, such a trip can lead to better scholastic achievement since students, especially freshmen and sophomores, can better visualize the careers they are working toward. They no longer have the mindset of ‘I’m taking classes for the sake of taking classes.’ Students experience a paradigm shift toward viewing their coursework as an opportunity for career preparation.”

Students met with executives from Bank of America, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dixon Hughes Goodman, DukeNet Communications, OfficeMax, and the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team. Executives spoke to the students about their businesses operations, focusing on the areas of accounting, finance, and diversity and inclusiveness.

One of the highlights of the trip was the time spent talking with Jerry Richardson, the majority owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. His key takeaways for the students were to never give up and never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something; you need to believe in yourself. The students also enjoyed an evening with the NABA Professional Chapter of Charlotte.

“I really enjoyed meeting with the NABA Professional Chapter of Charlotte,” said Courtney Jennings, a May 2012 graduate in economics. “It gave me the opportunity to network in a relaxed environment. This program was a great way to see the opportunities that are available in the ‘real world’.”

“All of the executives we met with were extremely courteous and really interested in the students’ success,” said Tyvi Small, coordinator of diversity initiatives for the College of Business Administration. “They helped the students better understand the educational career paths often taken by executives and how to prepare for jobs in business. They also exposed our students to internship and full-time job opportunities.”

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Don Bruce Appointed New SEC and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative

Economics professor Don Bruce has been named UT’s new faculty athletics representative for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

In the new role, Bruce will work closely with top university administrators to support a campus environment where academics remain a central focus in college sports.

Bruce, who is also a research professor in the Center for Business and Economic Research, will join faculty from the thirteen other SEC schools who represent their universities’ relationship with the SEC and NCAA in the areas of compliance and academic integrity.

Faculty athletic representatives make recommendations regarding the role of faculty in athletic department policy-making; athletic seasons and scheduling and their impact on academics and student welfare; and standards that will promote academic success of student-athletes.

“I am grateful to Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Dave Hart for their confidence in my ability to step in as the new faculty athletics representative,” Bruce said. “I look forward to working with them, Provost Susan Martin, the athletics department staff, and my faculty colleagues in this new role.”

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Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Tiller

MBA Class of 2013 candidate and former Lady Vols athlete Elizabeth Tiller has already earned her undergraduate degrees from UT in both Spanish (with a concentration in Hispanic studies) and public administration. As an accomplished student, Alabama-native Tiller entered UT as part of the inaugural 15-member class of Haslam Scholars, the esteemed honors program that attracts top students from across the United States. In addition, she was a recipient of the 2008 Peyton Manning Scholarship.

Tiller’s honors thesis, titled “An Economic Analysis of Redeeming Hope Ministries (RHM)”, involved analyzing the effectiveness of the various programs of RHM. As a member of the undergraduate Haslam Scholars Program community, she volunteered at Redeeming Hope Ministries and was a member of its board. She completed internships at Hospice of West Alabama and Tuscaloosa’s One Place, where she helped organize Tuscaloosa’s first annual Hispanic Diversity and Wellness Fair and served as a translator and interpreter.

As a member of the Lady Vols track and field and cross country teams, Tiller interacted with local sports media and served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. She was an active member of the Campus Crusade Girls’ Bible Study and served as an Honors Ambassador. She was honored numerous times throughout her college career. She was on the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District IV Track & Field/Cross Country First Team and the 2011 SEC Track & Field Community Service Team. She was recognized as a 2011 VOLSCARS/UT Athletics Helen B. Watson Female Scholar-Athlete and appeared on the 2011 and 2010 SEC Academic Honor Rolls and on the 2009 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.

Tiller has received the MBA Ergen Fellowship for the class of 2013, which begins in August.

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Alumni Spotlight: Stacy Leeds

Executive MBA alumna Stacy L. Leeds is used to having the word “first” come before more than just one of her professional job titles. The dean and professor of law at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is the first female American Indian to serve as dean of a law school. She was also the youngest person and first female ever to serve as a Cherokee Nation Supreme Court judge. As a teacher, writer, consultant, and advocate in the areas of American Indian law, property, energy and natural resources, economic development, judicial administration, and higher education, Leeds serves countless Americans across her community, state, region, and country.

After earning her undergraduate degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Leeds earned law degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Tulsa. She earned her MBA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, through the College of Business Administration and the Center for Executive Education’s Executive MBA program, in which students combine time in the classroom with distance education over 12 months.

“I came to UT’s Executive MBA program as I was becoming associate dean at the University of Kansas Law School,” said Leeds. “Having spent (at that point) 11 years as a faculty member did not adequately prepare me to be an effective administrator.  There was a deficit of skills I wanted to remedy, and the UT program offered a flexible way to accomplish this goal while remaining a full-time professor and associate dean. As I transitioned to the role of dean at the University of Arkansas Law School, the lessons learned have continued to be very valuable.”
Her career as a law professor began at the University of Wisconsin where she was the William H. Hastie Fellow. She then went to the University of North Dakota School of Law where she served as assistant professor of law and director of the Northern Plains Indian Law Center. Leeds was a member of the law faculty at the University of Kansas School of Law from 2003-2011 where she served as director of the Trial Law and Government Center and spent a year (2010-2011) as interim associate dean for academic affairs.

Leeds has been honored by her professional peers on numerous occasions. She received the Immel Award for Teaching Excellence as well as the AALS Clyde Ferguson Award for Excellence in Teaching, Service, and Scholarship in 2006. She was a candidate for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in 2007. Additionally, she received the Fletcher Fellowship in 2008 and was named a nonresident fellow of the W.E.B DuBois Institute at Harvard University.

In 2011, Leeds was appointed to serve a two-year term on the National Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The commission is charged with leading a comprehensive, forward-looking evaluation of the Department of the Interior’s management of nearly $4 billion in Native American trust funds.

In addition to her work in academia, Leeds served as a trial and appellate court judge in tribal courts for the Cherokee Nation, the chief justice of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma’s Supreme Court, the chief judge of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation’s District Court, special judge for the Muscogee Creek Nation’s District Court, associate judge of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indian’s Court of Appeals, and the associate judge of the Kaw Nation’s Supreme Court. She has served on the board of the National American Indian Court Judge’s Association and on the National Judicial College’s tribal advisory board.

When she is not at home in Fayetteville, Leeds spends much of her time at her home in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, near the Illinois River, with her son. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing basketball, and traveling, especially to South America.

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Faculty Spotlight: David Cicero

This past April, Assistant Professor of Finance David Cicero had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in “Bo Bikes Bama,” a charity bike ride with retired pro baseball and football star Bo Jackson, Cicero’s childhood hero. The ride was organized to raise funds for victims of the devastating tornadoes in 2011 that ravaged Cicero and Jackson’s native state of Alabama.   Although Cicero is “all Vol” now, he grew up in a household of Auburn fans and spent many fall weekends cheering on the Tigers and football star Jackson.  Like most young Auburn fans of the time, Cicero’s favorite player was the legendary Jackson, who grew up in the Birmingham area. When Jackson witnessed his neighbors’ suffering after the tornadoes, he was moved to join the tornado relief efforts by leading a five-day charity bike ride through the hardest hit areas.  The ride took place on the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes.

A Birmingham native himself, Cicero was thrilled to join Jackson, retired pro baseball star Ken Griffey Jr., and about 100 others for the final ride of the event, which started outside of Birmingham, continued through tornado-ravaged communities, and ended in Tuscaloosa.  Given the ride’s final destination (home of UT rival, the University of Alabama), Cicero couldn’t resist wearing his bright orange and white Power-T biking jersey.  One highlight of the ride for Cicero was chanting “S.E.C.! S.E.C.! S.E.C.!” along with other riders who wore Auburn and Alabama jerseys as a sign of their common bond and purpose while gliding past the throngs of supporters.

The spirit of the event was perhaps best summed up in Jackson’s own words, when he tearfully acknowledged, “I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.”  Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised through this extraordinary event, and communities and lives are being rebuilt due to the generosity of all involved. To read more about the ride, and to see Cicero cross the finish line, visit

Cicero always envisioned himself as a professor at a large southeastern university, and he has found the University of Tennessee to be an excellent fit.  He and his wife love being in the gracious Southland and are greatly enjoying the natural beauty and friendly people of East Tennessee.  He counts it a blessing to be a part of UT, a prominent teaching and research institution with a strong history and tradition.
Cicero received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn, a law degree from the University of Virginia, and a PhD in finance from the University of Georgia.  Before coming to UT, he spent two years at the Securities and Exchange Commission (which he jokingly refers to as the “lesser” S.E.C.) and four years as an assistant professor at the University of Delaware.
At UT, Cicero teaches courses on financial markets and institutions in the undergraduate, MBA, and Professional MBA programs, and he works with PhD students on research projects on corporate finance topics.  His research has been published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Finance and the Journal of Financial Economics.  Cicero’s dissertation was instrumental in uncovering the backdating of executive stock option exercises and was prominently featured in international news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal

Working with colleagues at UT, he now is exploring how the ethical values of CEOs impact public companies’ investment strategies and interactions with the capital markets.   Some of his other research projects include an exploration of the determinants of changes to the boards of directors of public companies, the detection of patterns of informed insider trading by executives, and the ways that banks use information gained through the corporate lending process.  Cicero also has joined UT’s Corporate Governance Center as a research fellow and supports its mission by focusing on corporate governance research and participating in the center’s many programs designed to enhance the quality of governance at U.S. public companies.

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