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Innovation Challenge Winners Announced


A single idea and a person to voice it can help solve problems and improve lives. Today, we’re celebrating those who are helping to advance the University of Tennessee.

This spring, we asked faculty and staff to submit their best ideas on how the University of Tennessee could improve our business practices or save money with our Innovation Challenge. And you did. We received 117 submissions from all of the campuses and institutes.

From those ideas we selected six winning ideas submitted by nine individuals.  

The ideas underwent multiple evaluations. In the first round, a screening committee of six members from across the system reviewed submissions to determine if the idea was eligible and meritorious. Next, a second committee, comprised of six different representatives from across the UT System, voted on the ideas that passed through the first screening and suggested a short list of best ideas. The executive leadership team and I then reviewed the ideas and trimmed the list to the top six ideas.

Today, we’re happy to announce the winners for their ideas that will help enhance UT. Each of the winners will receive a $1,000 one-time bonus.

Jessica Black from UT Knoxville and Cynthia Vincent from UT Health Science Center both submitted ideas related to creating a centralized platform for all job-related training.

Shenika Hudson with UT Health Science Center recommended that UT centralize a process for invoice entry and routing to reduce duplicate payments and improve the University’s on-time payment to vendors.

Shakalle Milam from UT Health Science Center, Bethany Morris from UT Knoxville and Katrina Parnell from UT Health Science Center each independently recommended UT implement digital forms with digital workflow routing, which would allow UT to no longer use paper forms.

April Jordan from UT Health Science Center suggested UT implement a barcode system to allow for a smoother inventory process.

Robert Martin from UT Knoxville recommended configuring DASH to remove from inventory any equipment or assets that have depreciated to no value.

Chad Gentry from UT System Administration suggested UT sync its BE ONE UT values with its overall performance reviews and its human resources processes.

Read more about projects

Ideas that were not selected will be shared with campuses and institutes for possible implementation.

As we congratulate these forward-thinkers, let us reflect on the boundless potential that lies within each of us to imagine, create, and inspire, for it is through the power of a good idea that we shape the future we envision.

Thank you for all you do to help make this the greatest decade in the history of the University of Tennessee.

Randy Boyd
President, The University of Tennessee System