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Tennessee Releases Statement on Beverly Davenport Decision

After a report stated that Beverly Davenport was fired as the University of Tennessee’s Chancellor, the university released a statement on their decision to part ways with Davenport.

“Beverly Davenport’s appointment as University of Tennessee, Knoxville chancellor will end July 1 and she will become a member of the faculty in the College of Communication and Information,” UT President Joe DiPietro stated via the release.

He would go on to add that an interim chancellor would be named “soon” but that one has not been appointed as of yet.

“It is my responsibility as UT president to ensure the success of every campus, beginning with the leadership of every campus,” DiPietro said. “A great deal is at stake in these hires, particularly given the importance of the flagship campus both to fulfilling the UT system mission and to that mission’s impact on the lives of all Tennesseans. Upon realizing that UT Knoxville needed a change from Dr. Davenport’s leadership, I decided to take action to address the leadership need.

“Dr. Davenport and I have had several conversations during her tenure as chancellor to lay out expectations and discuss concerns. Unfortunately, issues arose that have progressed and, while I am disappointed to have to make this change, it is necessary and in the best interests of the University.”

According to the termination letter that was acquired by Laura Halm of WATE News, DiPietro’s decision to move on from Davenport was due to “numerous areas of unsatisfactory performance.”

Per DiPietro, Davenport was “unwilling or unable to improve” in the following areas:

  1. The relationship between he and Davenport as well as her relationship with some of the members of her cabinet and his leadership team.
  2. Her unwillingness to engage with a professional coach.
  3. Her unwillingness to acclimate herself to the UT system and that she still appears “unwilling to try to understand or acknowledge the value of the UT system.” DiPietro cites an “us (UTK) vs. them (UT system and UT board)” mentality from Davenport.
  4. Her one-on-one, small group, and business transactional communication skills are very poor.
  5. Her lack of organization, attention to detail, and lack of timely follow-up.
  6. Her failure to accept ultimate responsibility in some areas.
  7. Her failure to communicate to the campus a defined strategic vision of where she wants to take the institution.

DiPietro would go on to note that instead of putting her on formal notice, he elected to move forward with a change of leadership because of the number, magnitude, and fundamental nature of the areas that need to be addressed, lack of trust in “our leadership,” Davenport’s unwillingness or inability to address many of these concerns, and the lack of support from the Board of Trustees in her leadership.

Davenport’s compensation will be reduced from $585,000 to $438,750 annually as she is demoted to a full-time faculty appointment as Professor with tenure in the School of Communication Studies.

DiPietro would conclude the termination letter by saying he was “disappointed that this action is necessary.”

We will have more as more news is available.

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