Tickle College of Engineering

2020 Annual Report

Dean Janis Terpenny

A Message from the Dean

The rapidly changing landscape of our campus and community through the past year has given our students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to show their resilience and come together in spirit like never before. It’s also provided a catalyst for impactful collaborations both on campus and with our industry and community partners. Allow me to share with you some highlights.

College Profile

Leadership Team

Janis Terpenny
Dean and Wayne T Davis Dean’s Chair

Leah Buffington
Special Programs Coordinator

William Dunne
Associate Dean for Research and Facilities

Paul Frymier
Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Engagement and Faculty Diversity Director

Christie Kennedy
Director of Communications

Ozlem Kilic
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Ami McBride
Director of Finance and Administrative Affairs

Brian Shupe
Executive Director of Development

Keith Stanfill
Edwards Assistant Dean for Integrated Engineering Design

Carrie Zitzman
Administrative Specialist

Affiliated Directors

James Simonton
Interim Executive Director, University of Tennessee Space Institute

Board of Advisors

Check out the full list of our Board of Advisors.

Department Heads

Julie Carrier
Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

Chris Cox, Condra Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering

J. Wesley Hines, Chancellor’s Professor
Nuclear Engineering

Veerle Keppens, Chancellor’s Professor
Materials Science and Engineering

Bamin Khomami, Granger and Beaman Distinguished University Professor
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

John E. Kobza
Industrial and Systems Engineering

Matthew M. Mench, Chancellor’s Professor
Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering

Greg Peterson
Electric Engineering and Computer Science


All engineering programs at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. The computer science program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is accredited by the Computer Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Rankings, Facts, and Stats Update

The college is progressing in many ways. Including enrollment, research expenditures, programs offered, and academic support. Take a look at how we're doing.

Data accurate as of 8/1/2020.

Alex Crigger in MSE lab


Ranked 34th (undergraduate) and 32nd (graduate) among public colleges of engineering (U.S. News & World Report 2021).

Eight departments with nationally ranked programs and seven internationally known research centers.

Total Full-Time Enrollment


  • Undergraduate: 3,516
  • Graduate, MS: 368
  • Graduate, PhD: 714
  • Total: 4,598
Emma Betters works at ORNL EECS student works in Min Kao Engineering Building labJune Cho works in the ICS

Degrees Granted


  • Bachelor of Science: 701
  • Master of Science: 211
  • Doctor of Philosophy: 89
  • Total: 1,001

Students Stats

95 percent undergraduate student growth since 2005

Incoming students have an average ACT of 29.6 and an average GPA of 4.1.

24 percent of undergraduates are female—female enrollment has increased 60 percent since 2008.

30 percent growth in PhD enrollment since 2012, and the 33rd largest PhD program among public schools of engineering.

22 percent female graduate student enrollment.

7 percent underrepresented minority graduate students.

Maik Lang works in research lab Student works in the ICS LabJohn Schwartz works in GSMNP Lab

Faculty Profile

Our faculty includes the following:

181 T/TT Faculty

67 non-TT faculty

3 National Academy of Engineering members

39 endowed chairs/professorships and faculty fellows

11 UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chairs

23 Early Career Awardees since 2016 (NSF, DoE, DARPA, ARO)

1 Distinguished Scientist

1 University Distinguished Professor


29,300 alumni across all 50 states and 81 countries.

Financial Update

(For Fiscal Year 2020)

Total Expenditures

Total: $143 Million
Externally Funded Gifts, Grants & Contracts $83,486,956
Recurring & Nonrecurring State Funds $59,483,961

Resources: Recurring & Nonrecurring State Funds

Total: $59 Million
Salaries & Benefits $47,362,182
Miscellaneous Operating Expenses $10,424,423
Equipment & Software $1,697,356

Gifts, Grants, & Contracts by Department/Center

Total: $85.6 Million
Administration $2,207,014
Biosystems Engineering $2,363,528
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering $5,401,992
Civil & Environmental Engineering $7,072,225
Cook Grand Challenge Honors Program $150,633
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science $23,996,103
Engineering Fundamentals Division $152,768
Industrial and Systems Engineering $2,135,166
Materials Science and Engineering $7,854,767
Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering $13,993,701
Nuclear Engineering $12,533,146
UT Space Institute $4,224,798
Research Centers $7,989,441

Development Update

Dear alumni, friends, and industry partners,

Brian Shupe

The past year has brought many challenges to our campus community, our nation, and our world. In the face of a pandemic, civil unrest, and learning to work remotely whenever possible, we are meeting these challenges like the Volunteers we are! But this year, we also closed a successful fundraising campaign. Thanks to each of you, our donors and partners, through your generosity and your leadership, the Tickle College of Engineering closed the Join the Journey Campaign with $238.6M raised. This effort smashed the original campaign goal and the adjusted goal after that and will make a huge impact for scholarships, faculty support, and other strategic priorities.

The following are just a few examples of the dramatic improvements to the college, established through your philanthropy and support:

  • Naming the Tickle College of Engineering in 2016 in honor of John and Ann Tickle and their incredible level of support for our students, faculty, and staff
  • Crossing the $1M threshold for Engineering Diversity Program (EDP) scholarships, resulting in naming of EDP director position as the Fred D. Brown Jr. Director, held by Travis Griffin
  • Three new, modern facilities designed with engineering in mind:
    • The Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building opened in 2012 and is now home to the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
    • The John D. Tickle Engineering Building opened in 2013 and is home to the Departments of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering
    • Construction is nearing completion on the recently named Zeanah Engineering Complex, which broke ground in 2018 and is on track to open for the fall of 2021
  • Establishing the Heath Integrated Business and Engineering program in honor of Ralph Heath (BS/EE, ’70, MBA, ’75). This truly unique program provides a cohort of selected students from the Tickle College of Engineering and Haslam College of Business an immersive, three-year experience. Faculty, guest speakers, executive mentoring, and in-person experiences bring real-world issues and problem solving to bear that enables students to graduate ready to lead at the intersection of engineering and business
  • Naming the Cook Grand Challenge Honors program for Joe and Judy Cook to help our most driven students pursue solutions to humanity’s most challenging issues
  • Establishing the Edwards Assistant Dean for Integrated Engineering Design, named for Tom and Elaine Edwards, to unify our student design programs across the college on projects that require a blend of engineering disciplines
  • Multiple endowed chairs, professorships, and scholarships to help our faculty and students focus on their research and education.

I’m so excited about the coming years and the new heights to which we will climb in the next campaign! Thank you for all that you do. We appreciate you for your continued support and for joining us on this good and noble journey.

Brian Shupe
Executive Director of Development

Top Stories

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Countering COVID-19

As a picture emerged for how the COVID-19 pandemic could impact the world well beyond the spring 2020 semester, TCE students and faculty stepped up to limit the effect of the virus’ effect.

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Soaking Up the Sun

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A Legacy of Support

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Spinning New Life

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