Cynthia Russell, PhD, RN, has been named vice chancellor for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs (AFSA) at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr. Russell has served as the interim vice chancellor for AFSA since December 2020.
With almost three decades of service to the university, Dr. Russell has also served as the associate vice chancellor for Faculty Affairs, and holds a faculty appointment as a professor in the Department of Acute and Tertiary Care in the UTHSC College of Nursing.
“I am honored to be appointed as the vice chancellor of AFSA and to have this opportunity to contribute to UTHSC’s mission,” Dr. Russell said. “In collaboration with the faculty and staff of the AFSA units, as well as with campus and collegiate leadership, I look forward to building on our successes and taking advantage of opportunities to advance our academic programs and support faculty and student success.”
Dr. Russell joined the faculty of the UTHSC College of Nursing in 1993, and practiced as an adult nurse practitioner at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center until 2000, when she was promoted to director of Distributive Programs for the college. Through the years, she has held numerous leadership positions in the college, including interim associate dean and chair of Advanced Practice Doctoral Studies.
She joined AFSA in 2008, as director of the Faculty Resource Center, was named assistant vice chancellor of Faculty Affairs and Educational Technology in 2010, and became associate vice chancellor for Faculty Affairs in 2012.
Dr. Russell graduated from the Holzer Medical Center School of Nursing in Gallipolis, Ohio. She earned her BSN from Ohio University, a master’s degree in Nursing from West Virginia University, and a PhD in Nursing Science from the University of Arizona.
“This is a dynamic period of opportunity for UTHSC, where we are receiving tremendous support from our state and the UT System,” Dr. Russell said. “UT President Randy Boyd has set an expectation that this will be the greatest decade in the history of UT. That will not occur without the contributions of UTHSC’s academic community. Having spent almost three decades at UTHSC, where I’ve seen many changes, it is apparent that our campus is on a trajectory for this to be our greatest decade. I commit to working in partnership with others to exemplify our shared vision and values, as we continue to work toward our goal of demonstrating academic excellence in all we do to further our mission.”
In making the appointment, UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, said, “Dr. Russell’s strong performance and ability shown during her role as interim vice chancellor made her not only the first choice of the search committee, but the overwhelming best individual to lead AFSA forward.”
The chancellor also thanked the search committee led by Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance Anthony A. Ferrara, CPA, MAS, and College of Dentistry Dean James C. Ragain, DDS, MS, PhD, FCID, FACD.