Breaking News
More () »

'So grateful' | UTK Dean of Student reflects on her four years in Knoxville

In January, Dean Shea Kidd Brown will leave for a job at Wake Forest University.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — In Dean Shea Kidd Brown's office, letters of gratitude line the wall. It's a testimony to the dozens of lives she's touched during her time at the University of Tennessee.

"One of the things I'm most proud of is our focus on mattering and belonging," she said. "Really creating a culture where students say this is a place where my story is important, where I have significance."

She lead the university's 'Vol is a Verb' campaign and made a push to get out of her office. She hosted 'Milkshake Mondays' and 'Quarantine with the Deans' to better connect with students during the pandemic.

"Maybe that's the legacy that I've left is that a campus that's approaching 32,000 doesn't feel that big," Dean Shea said. "People can walk to class and meander and get to know their faculty and know their administration."

Credit: WBIR

RELATED: UT Dean of Students highlighted by SEC as noteworthy leader for Black History Month

Her goal 4 years ago was to make the University of Tennessee feel like home for everyone. She constantly pushed for diversity and inclusion across the campus.

Even as she leaves Neyland Stadium, the Torchbearer and all of UT's other iconic landmarks behind — the community is what she'll miss most, she said.

"The very thing that's central to me is the very thing I'll miss — which is the people," Dean Shea said. "This work is not situated in the office, but it really is getting to know our students, our faculty, our staff, our alumni and really working together to live out the Volunteer Creed."

In January, Dean Shea will leave for a new job at Wake Forest University. She said she'll miss the orange and support of Rocky Top.

"There's so much spirit and enthusiasm about Big Orange Country," she said. "I'm definitely going to miss the longstanding traditions. This place is 227 years old and so there's a lot that comes with that."

Before You Leave, Check This Out