UT is coming close to the end of its search for a new vice chancellor of Student Life.
The third of four public forums took place Tuesday in the Ray Mears Room at Thompson-Boling Arena. These public forums are presented by a running candidate for the vice chancellor of Student Life position and are attended by students and faculty of UT.
Tuesday's forum was hosted by C. Renee Romano.
Romano is the current vice chancellor of Student Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has a doctorate in higher education from Iowa State University and a master's degree in higher education and bachelor's degree in art from Southern Illinois University.
"I've only gotten more excited about the possibility of becoming the vice chancellor for Student Life here at the University of Tennessee," Romano said. "I feel that all the pieces are in place to move student life forward in a way that really integrates into the mission of the university and really helps the University of Tennessee become a Top 25 institution.
"This institution knows where it's going, and I would like to be a part of that."
Vice chancellor of Student Life is a position described as being the student's main advocate. Their responsibilities entail providing leadership from student judicial affairs and student publications to Greek life and student counseling.
Candidates center their presentations on one recurring theme; emphasizing why they are the best choice for the position.
Romano's main points stressed how her ideas and programs will make UT a Top 25 ranked school.
"What stuck out to me is definitely trying to get the students on the Top 25 Initiative Board," said Seth Watkins, sophomore in business and active member in Ignite and a past Welcome Week leader. "As a student right now, we haven't really heard anything at all.
"We know it exists and we know it's there, but we don't really have any information about how to go forward with it."
Although the goal is to be Top 25, UT is currently ranked 47th among all public universities, according to U.S. News and World Report's 2013 rankings. Romano directed many of her points and plans with the sole purpose of helping UT reach that goal.
When Watkins inquired as to how Romano planned on keeping in touch with students, Romano stepped away from administrative jargon and captured the opportunity to speak about her students.
"At Hollins College, I was in the administration building and sometimes I would just need a student fix," Romano said. "So, I would go to the dining hall and just interact with students and come back feeling completely energized. The irony is the more you go up on the levels of administration, the less contact you have with students ... I've carved out time for students ... When a student talks to me or emails me and wants to meet with me, I meet with them.
"Just last week a student emailed me and he wanted to talk about getting students more involved in homecoming. So, we met and came up with some ideas and implemented them. I think he was shocked that I actually followed through and implemented them. It's something I really enjoy, interacting with students."
Romano also said she makes it her responsibility to meet with student government, resident assistants, students in culture centers and other campus groups regularly.
She added that she will attend as many campus events as possible in an attempt to be available and connected with her student body.
Although the search is coming to a close, the search for new vice chancellor of Student Life has been an ongoing process since the application and nomination deadline closed on Aug. 6.
UT's goal is to have this positioned filled by January 2014.
The final candidate for vice chancellor of Student Life to visit UT is Vincent Carilli. His public forum will be held today at 2:30 p.m. in the Ray Mears Room at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Webcasts for all four public forum sessions will be posted and available for viewing on Oct. 3, along with a list of the candidates and their resumés, here. Students attending or watching these forums are encouraged to submit their feedback via the online survey on the site by noon on Tuesday, Oct. 8.