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Each month, ACUPA will spotlight one individual in an effort to bring you, our unique and diverse group of members, together to network, share and acquire knowledge.

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Catherine (Katie) Villars Lane
Associate General Counsel
, University of Tennessee

Catherine Villars Lane PhotoHow long have you been involved with higher education policy administration?

I am a relative newcomer to the area of higher education policy management. I’ve worked in the Office of General Counsel at the University of Tennessee (UT) for more than ten years and have helped with policy review in that role, but recently have undertaken a revamp of our policy development process.

What drew you to working in higher education?

I started out as a securities lawyer for a large national firm but went in-house at a local company that sells jewelry and gemstones on television and online after I had children to provide a more flexible schedule. When an opportunity opened up at UT, I was intrigued because there are traditionally very few openings in the Office of General Counsel because people rarely leave the office other than to retire. I thought that was  good omen and was attracted by the great variety of work as well as the vibrant campus atmosphere.  I grew up in the backyard of UT and have been honored to be able to work here.

Why did you become an ACUPA member? What are you looking forward to from your membership?

I signed up for ACUPA at the recommendation of Stefan Fletcher – who kindly gave me some guidance on where to start the policy overhaul process! I have enjoyed the great online examples and resources and look forward to attending the conference in person in the future.

What are the main policy issues you are working on right now?

I am first tackling our “Policy on Policies” and trying to make it more user-friendly. I am also redesigning the review process to utilize a central policy office, which will reside within the Office of General Counsel. Then, we get to tackle redesigning the policy website and re-drafting our policies to fit a new style. I think I have my work cut out for me!

Give us one fun fact about your institution.

We have an office in every county in the state of Tennessee (all 95) through our Agricultural Extension. Our policies really do reach all over the state.

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