Petra McPhearson, vice chancellor for finance and administration

McPhearson represents UT Martin on new UT System task force

University of Tennessee Interim President Randy Boyd announced the creation of a new task force to examine university administration effectiveness in an effort to clarify the roles and responsibilities between the University of Tennessee System administration and the individual campuses and institutes it serves. This announcement came Dec. 17 and is one of several changes already implemented as part of Boyd’s six priorities while in office.

The task force is co-chaired by David Miller, UT’s chief financial officer, and Richard Brown, executive vice chancellor for administration at UT Chattanooga. Each UT campus and institute has representation on the task force, and UT Martin is represented by Petra McPhearson, vice chancellor for finance and administration.

One of the core responsibilities of the UT System administration is to perform operations on behalf of UT’s campuses and institutes that would create duplication and additional costs if each entity performed the work independently. This approach saves the institutions, taxpayers and students significant costs.

“The faculty and staff that make up the University of Tennessee are our greatest asset to helping ensure students can fulfill their dream of graduating college,” said Boyd. “My main goal is to determine if there are opportunities to share best practices, streamline processes, identify practical ways to do our jobs better and ultimately reduce costs.”

UT has engaged in periodic reviews of roles and efficiency projects since the 1980s. Boyd has encouraged the task force to seek best practices from the business world and adapt them for higher education.

Initially, the task force will explore five departments within institutional support. These areas include capital projects, communications and marketing, human resources, information technology, and procurement and contracting. The task force will provide recommendations to Boyd for consideration by late spring.

Task force members include:

  • David Miller, UT System, chief financial officer (co-chair)
  • Richard Brown, UT Chattanooga, executive vice chancellor for administration (co-chair)
  • Tonja Johnson, UT System, executive vice president and chief operating officer
  • Chris Cimino, UT Knoxville, senior vice chancellor for finance and administration
  • Petra McPhearson, UT Martin, vice chancellor for finance and administration
  • Tony Ferrara, UT Health Science Center, vice chancellor and chief financial officer
  • Tim Fawver, UT Institute of Agriculture, chief business officer
  • Gail White, UT Institute for Public Service, budget director

For more information, contact Melissa Tindell, UT System director of communications, at 865-974-0741or


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