Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Debbie Mackey

UT College of Business Administration faculty member Dr. Debbie Mackey has a passion for the university, its athletic teams, and its students, and her contagious energy is clear to all who meet her. Mackey’s enthusiasm is seen not only through the countless combinations of orange apparel she dons on Fridays during the fall football season, but through her work with the Department of Management’s human resource management students.

Debbie Mackey“I feel honored to work in the College Business Administration,” Mackey said. “Since our program (human resource management) moved to the Department of Management in 2003, I have watched our program grow and change to serve the needs of our students and the business community.”

Mackey has three degrees from UT, and her loyalty to the university and the surrounding community runs deep. Prior to her work as a lecturer and intern coordinator for the department, Mackey taught marketing courses in high schools throughout Sevier County, Tennessee, and wrote curriculum for the Tennessee State Department of Education. She then became a graduate assistant in marketing education for technical and adult education at UT before joining the College of Business Administration in 1997 as an adjunct professor. For the last several years, Mackey has been the faculty advisor for the student chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). She actively recruits funds for student activities and needs, including scholarships, certification exam fees, and conference expenses. Between serving in this leadership role for SHRM and overseeing the placement of interns interested in working in the human resource profession, Mackey works tirelessly to help undergraduate students succeed in their chosen field.

“As I have continued to work with the business community and build the internship program, I have learned so much about the practical side of human resources and how to use this in the classroom,” said Mackey.

Part of Mackey’s role as the SHRM faculty advisor is helping students prepare for the professional human resource certification. This spring, she coordinated the SHRM Southeast Regional Student Conference and the “Jeopardy”-style Human Resources Games which help prepare students for their upcoming certification exams. The winners received an all-expenses-paid trip to the national SHRM conference with more than 15,000 professionals.

“As our department has hosted the Southeast Regional SHRM Games three out of the last six years, I have observed the tremendous interaction among the students, faculty and the business community,” said Mackey. “All of us are working together to build the next generation of successful business leaders. Seventy-five percent of the attendees are from the community and hire interns from our college. It’s all focused on the students, which is really special.”

In addition to her work at UT, Mackey is active in the Knoxville community and has a heart for service. She has volunteered for over 16 years for the Fantasy of Trees, a local benefit hosted annually for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, and has served as the event’s co-chair. Mackey describes herself as the “biggest Vol fan EVER,” who rarely misses a game. She and her husband, Terry, have two children:  Chase, a sophomore at the Christian Academy of Knoxville, and Lauren, a junior at UT.

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