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Meet the Commission

2020-2021 Administration and Members


James Williams, Associate Professor, Retail, Hospitality, & Tourism Management

Vice Chairs

Ryessia Jones Russell, Assistant Director, Haslam College of Business

JaNay’ Turner, Coordinator for Diversity Recruitment


Talisha L. Adams, Director of the Office of Academic Inclusive Initiatives

Derek Alderman, Professor, Department of Geography, Co-Director of Tourism RESET 

DeOnna Anderson-Washington, Clinical Instructor, College of Nursing

Thomas Andrew da Silva Zeigler, Undergraduate Student, Political Science-Laws and Courts Concentration

Stefanie Benjamin, Assistant Professor, Retail, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Co-Director of Tourism RESET  

Robert Bland, Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Kaia Boyd, Cinema Studies Student

Jennifer Charles, Athletics, Volleyball Volunteer Assistant Coach

Sharon Couch, Coordinator for Student Life and Diversity and Inclusion for the Herbert College of Agriculture 



Trent Dickerson, Student, Industrial Engineering

Heather Ervin, Athletics, Director of Player Relations and Administration

Jessica Francis, Athletics, Learning Specialist

Yasja Hemmings, Hall Director, University Housing

Trey Hobson, Library Supervisor II, John C. Hodges Library

Lyndsey Hornbuckle, Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, & Sport Studies

Joann Jeter, Assistant Director, Center for Career Development

David Kline, Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences

Celisse Lambert, Assistant Director of Admissions, College of Law

W. Marcia Lane, Administrative Specialist II, Retail, Hospitality, & Tourism Management

Thura Mack, Professor, John C. Hodges Library

Marcia McAllister-Spurgeon, Clinical Faculty, College of Nursing

Kathleen Modica-Forster, Academic Coach, Division of Student Success

DeMauri Mumphrey, Undergraduate Student, College of Architecture and Design

Devendra Potnis, Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences

Nadia Powell, Resident Assistant, University Housing

Izetta Slade, Senior Director, Human Resources

Maddie Stephens, Public Relations Specialist, Office of Communications and Marketing

Jennifer Sullivan, Athletics, Assistant Coach

Andre Temple, UT Institute for Public Service, Center for Industrial Services

Lexie Walker, Enrollment Management, UTK Visitors Center

Antoinette Williams, Community Supporter, Knox County Schools

LaTrice Wright, Doctoral Student in Counseling Psychology

Ex-Officio Members

  • Mary Lucal, Representing Vice Chancellor for Human Resources ♦
  • TBD, President of Faculty Senate ♦
  • Erin Darby, Chair of the Council for Diversity and Interculturalism ♦
  • TBD, Chair of the Commission for Women ♦
  • Mitsunori Misawa, Co-Chair of the Commission for LGBT People ♦
  • TBD, Representative of Graduate Student Senate ♦

Note: ♦ denotes Voting Ex-officio members


Commission member

As a member of the commission, you are expected to fulfill the following responsibilities.

  • Serve on one committee OR serve as Chair/Co-Chair of a committee.
    • Provide input to the committee.
    • Assist with the work on the agenda set forth by committee and/or commission.
  • Attend monthly commission meetings.
  • Serve as a community liaison for the campus and Knoxville area African American community.
  • Bring pertinent issues forth to the Commission.
  • Assist with events as necessary (greeting, handing out lunches, set up/take down, etc.)

Committee Chair or Co-Chair

The Commission has four committees: Faculty/Staff/Student Concerns, Bylaws, Awards, and Publicity & Community Outreach. As the chair or co-chair of one of these committees, you are expected to fulfill the following responsibilities.

  • Set a goal for the year.
  • Communicate with and/or hold meetings with committee to achieve goal set forth.
  • Provide updates on committee work to full commission at meetings.
  • Provide year-end report on goal.