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The Commission for Women (“CFW”) is a body appointed by the Chancellor of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (together with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the “campus”) to advise on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of campus programs, policies, and services designed to improve the status of women on the campus. The CFW reports directly to the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee.


The Commission for Women is deeply committed to creating an inclusive environment for all and stands against social injustice in all of its forms. Here are specific statements of support.

Remembering Brenda Lewis Peel

Brenda Lewis Peel has passed away. She was 80 years old.

The East Knoxville native paved the way for generations of Black students in the state, walking across the graduation stage at the University of Tennessee only three years after the school allowed admission to Black undergraduate students.

She became the first Black undergraduate student to graduate from the university, breaking barriers at the height of the civil rights movement in the American South.

In November 2021, the university dedicated the central galleria of Hodges Library in honor of Peel.

Read more about the life and accomplishments of Peel here.

Congratulations to the 2022 HERS Leadership Institute Scholarship Recipients!

Dr. Javiette Samuel

Dr. Ozlem Kilic

The University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Commission for Women has selected Dr. Javiette Samuel and Dr. Ozlem Kilic as the 2022 Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) scholarship recipients based on their dedication to leadership and proven records of growth. Through this scholarship, these two outstanding female faculty/administrators will be sponsored to attend the HERS Leadership Institute, held either online or in-person at various times of the year. 

The HERS Leadership Institute is a prestigious transformational leadership development program for women in higher education. The distinguished program was “founded to fill leadership pipelines across the United States with dynamic women, each capable of ushering their respective institutions into a more inclusive and equitable future.” It exposes attendees to new ideas, fosters mentoring relationships, and prepares women for institutional leadership roles. 

Read more about Dr. Samuel and Dr. Kilic here.

Congratulations to the 2022 NCCWSL AAUW-TN Scholarship Winner!

Avery Vantrease

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Tennessee has selected Avery Vantrease as a 2022 scholarship recipient for the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) based on her track record of commitment, leadership, and compassion.

The two-and-a-half-day NCCWSL is a conference designed to enhance the leadership skills of female college students

Many on and outside the UTK campus have had the pleasure of working with Vantrease through the Student Government Association (SGA), the LGBTQ+ organization she created for business students, and in her many facets of engaged outreach. 

Read more about Vantrease here.

2021 NCCWSL Scholarship Recipients Reflect On Conference Experience

(L-R) Jessi Lie, Dr. Joan Heminway UTK AAUW Liaison, Sreya Kumpatla, Anne Loy and Sarah Mingo

Last year’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) scholarship recipients, Sreya Kumpatla, Jessi Li, and Sarah Mingo, presented at the September American Association of University Women (AAUW) meeting recounting the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they experienced during the summer conference they attended in Maryland.

“Though it was virtual, I had a great time meeting new people and networking with other strong women leaders from all walks of life,” Jessi told AAUW. “I really enjoyed hearing from the speakers and learned a lot about leadership, social justice, and how to use my strengths as a female student leader.”

The recipients told AAUW meeting attendees that they were thrilled about the knowledge they had acquired. All three women spoke about subjects such as anti-racism, financial literacy for working women, leadership and the value of mentors.

Jessi and Sreya, both engineering majors at UTK, spoke on the importance of STEM.

Sarah, an elementary education major, talked about her path in the field.

“I feel in my times of uncertainty to know other women have led a path and are cheering me on to go further, gives me so much strength in hard times,” Sarah told AAUW.

More information about the NCCSWL scholarship can be found here.