Jean Kim believes she can help UT reach the Top 25.
Kim spoke Thursday to about 60 people and a live webcam in pursuit of becoming the next Vice Chancellor for Student Life.
The first of four candidates to visit the campus, Kim elaborated on her background in the academic field.
"First and foremost I see myself as an educator," Kim said. "I really see myself as a person who helps individuals gain more information and helps to develop them. I am ... very passionate about people being all they can be."
Kim continued to express her commitment to being a positive force for students.
"I am both a beneficiary and an advocate for public education," she said. "Even though I have worked at both public and private arenas, I really feel like my stronger love and support is for public education."
With her experience in crisis management, working and collaborating with multiple stakeholders and facility building and renovation, Kim outlined specific areas on which she will focus should she be chosen to fill this role.
"There are at least three areas where I ... can make a significant contribution," Kim said. "One of those is, obviously, improving and enhancing the experience of undergraduate students.
"I understand that I am, and need to be, an accessible advocate for students."
Specifically, Kim promised to reserve 4-5 p.m. every day for students to walk in and speak with her. She also plans to dine with select students each month.
"The second arena where I think that I, and the division, can make a contribution is enhancing support for graduate students," Kim said. "There are some ... support needs like housing, maybe it's child care ... (that) it would be helpful and interesting to get (this) going."
Tony Shields, a First Year Studies peer mentor and sophomore in logistics, said he was not immediately ready to endorse Kim.
"She seems very personable," Shields said. "But a low point in the forum was when a question was asked about the Top 25 and what could students do and she replied, 'Just go to class and get good grades.' That's a great answer, but that's the same answer that we've been hearing for the longest time."
While pleased with the administration's first candidate, Heath Cox, a sophomore in recreation and sport management, said she remains uncertain as to whether Kim is the right choice.
"Tennessee is definitely looking for the right people," Cox said. "It's still hard to tell if she would be successful, but I do think she's very qualified.
"I do like... that she wants to get out in the community and the student body here and eat dinner with us and talk to students, ... being present in the student body is something that we need here in our chancellor at the University of Tennessee."