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Kelly Ellenburg

Director of Service-Learning | Smart Communities Initiative
Office of the Provost
612 Greve Hall

Kelly Ellenburg serves as the Director of Service-Learning and the Smart Communities Initiative within University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Teaching & Learning Innovation unit. As the founder of the University’s first service-learning initiative, Kelly oversees a wide range of institutional efforts related to service-learning and serves as an entry point for community involvement in the same. Kelly also established and now directs UT’s Smart Communities Initiative (SCI), a large-scale interdisciplinary service-learning collaborative that partners with local government partners across the state to address a range of livability and resilience issues. The SCI is part of a growing network of Sustainable City Year Programs, the first of which was established at the University of Oregon. The program is designed to help communities advance long-term community development goals by leveraging university scholarship and community collaboration towards sustainable, equitable, research-based planning solutions. In 2014, UT adopted the SCI as the feature program for their new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Experience Learning. Kelly is also the chair of the University’s Service-Learning Subcommittee, which oversees the “S” course designation and oversees campus-level initiatives to support, track, and recognize best practices in service-learning. Prior to her current role, Kelly served as Coordinator to UT’s faculty development office, the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). Her work at the TLC included founding their Student Forum on Learning, coordinating the UT Learning Consortium, and designing faculty development tools. Kelly’s work on campus-level initiatives has included service on the 2015 SACS Quality Enhancement Plan writing team, the 2014 Carnegie Community Engagement writing team, the 2010 UT Community Engagement Task Force writing team, and coordinating author for the 2010 whitepaper “Student Ownership, and the College Experience.” In 2014 she received the Chancellor’s Award for Environmental Leadership for her leadership of sustainability-focused service-learning and the SCI. In 2016 she and SCI faculty collaborators received the “Flame Award” by the Southeast TN Development District for excellence in scholarship and service to the region. She served as the University’s designee and ex-officio Commissioner to the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Service until 2016. Kelly also serves on the Board of Directors for the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N), the Board of Advisors for East Tennessee Quality Growth, and as the Chair of Fountain City Town Hall. Kelly holds a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and a Bachelors of Fine Arts, both from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is a wife and mother of two girls, ages fourteen and seven.


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