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Izabela VanDeest

VanDeest says her favorite part of working in GEE is witnessing the joy of students as they walking across the graduation stage.

- Staff

Working with students is Izabela VanDeest’s career passion. As program manager for Graduate and Executive Education (GEE) in the Haslam College of Business, she works closely with students as they achieve their academic goals.

“I see these students through the full cycle from initial conversations about the program to the admission process, onboarding, residencies, asynchronous learning between residencies, graduation and beyond,” VanDeest says. “I get to know each student closely as I assist them in their program year, often getting to know their spouses, children and even pets.”

The Haslam alumna (Accounting, ’10; MAcc, ’11) joined GEE in 2019. Since then, she has been involved in the planning and execution of the Executive MBA – Global Supply Chain program year and the four residency periods that GEE students attend in domestic and international locations.

“Each day involves a heavy dose of email correspondence, zoom meetings and phone calls with all stakeholders of the program,” VanDeest says. The daily work pays off as she guides students toward graduation.

“The joy and appreciation in their eyes as they walk across the stage to receive their hoods is so rewarding for me to witness and is my absolute favorite part about my position in GEE,” she says.

Before transitioning to her role in GEE, VanDeest joined the Accounting and Information Management department as a non-tenured track faculty, teaching undergraduate financial accounting courses. She helped manage recruitment and operations for the Master of Accountancy program as well as the coordination and relationship management of the internship and full-time job program initiatives.

“While teaching and the accounting profession will always be close to my heart, higher education administration has become my career passion,” VanDeest says. “I realized this throughout my time with AIM and as I helped graduate level candidates in the MAcc program achieve their career goals.”

VanDeest remains active in the accounting community through the Tennessee Society of CPAs (TSCPA), the state’s professional organization with regional chapters throughout. The society focuses on providing support to its members through service, advocacy and education in the accounting profession. VanDeest has been involved with the society since 2008 and part of the Knoxville chapter board since 2014. She is currently the Knoxville chapter president.

“I serve as the voice of our Knoxville and surrounding areas members in accounting profession matters with state regulatory bodies,” she says.

She works closely with the TSCPA board to ensure members receive high-quality, continuing professional education seminars through development, implementation, monitoring and assessing the impact of these programs.

“I am honored and humbled to serve in this role and to hold the trust of our membership to perform these duties,” VanDeest says.

Through her work, VanDeest is proud to be part of the college’s growth.

“Haslam has been, above all, a family to me,” she says. “As an alumna of the college and a long-time employee, I am in constant awe of our continual progress as we strive for excellence in all we do. From highly ranked existing programs to new programs, we are a mighty community with a Volunteer spirit.”