The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business has announced appointments for two new leadership positions in its deans’ office. George Drinnon is now the college’s assistant dean for undergraduate programs. Sara Easler is the assistant dean for international programs and partnerships. Both appointments took effect on January 1, 2023.
Drinnon joined Haslam in 2002 as an academic advisor. When he became an assistant director of undergraduate programs in 2010, he assumed responsibility for the university implementation of the AdvisorTrac advising information system, oversaw undergraduate study abroad programs and helped to coordinate Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Assurance of Learning outcomes.
In 2011, he took on the role of interim director — and later executive director — of Haslam undergraduate business (HUB) programs. In that capacity, he managed the curriculum approval process and provided academic departmental support and advising services to the college’s undergraduate population. During his tenure as director, the program grew from 3,000 students to more than 7,000 students with six directors and 20 advisors.
The creation of Drinnon’s new position reflects the college’s commitment to providing high-quality educational services for that rapidly expanding undergraduate student population. In fall 2022, the college welcomed 1,950 first-time, first-year students (a 32.5 percent increase over the previous year’s record-setting cohort) and 430 undergraduate transfer students (a nearly 23 percent increase over 2021).
“It’s a great honor to be selected to serve our college as an assistant dean,” Drinnon said. “Haslam has seen tremendous growth in size and reputation, and I’m grateful for the wonderful students, faculty and staff that make this such a great place to work.”
Stephen L. Mangum, dean and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair at Haslam, said, “As our college expands its support services and co-curricular programming and strives to keep pace with record-breaking undergraduate student enrollment, we are grateful to George Drinnon for taking on an increased scope of responsibility.”
Easler has served as Haslam’s director of international programs and study abroad (IPSA) since 2016. Under her leadership, the number of Haslam undergraduate students studying abroad has more than doubled, increasing the college’s global presence and reputation. Most recently, she oversaw the design and approval of Haslam’s new international business major, launching in spring 2023.
Prior to joining Haslam, Easler directed the study abroad program at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. She holds a master’s of education and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses primarily on litigation risk (specifically the extraterritorial application of United States federal law), equity and access in international education.
In her new role, Easler will continue overseeing the IPSA team in the undergraduate programs office. In addition, she will work closely with Haslam’s graduate and executive education leaders to guide international programming in the college’s graduate programs. Other objectives for the position include expanding the scope of Haslam’s international research partnerships.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as Haslam’s first assistant dean of international programs and partnerships, and I am excited by the challenges of the new role,” Easler said. “Our students are — and will be — taking on worldwide challenges in the workplace and beyond, and we are committed to helping them build the competencies to expand the global reach of our Haslam impact.”
Mangum said the expansion of the role is a perfect fit for Haslam and for Easler. “We look forward to Sara Easler’s continued leadership in building out international programming in our undergraduate and graduate programs and in our research and industry partnerships, thereby positioning the college for even greater accomplishments,” Mangum said.
Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org