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As Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, Dixie L. Thompson provides oversight to graduate education at the University of Tennessee. She leads the team responsible for implementation of the Vol Vision 2020 goals related to graduate education. This strategic work requires coordination with all academic units that deliver graduate training.
Thompson has been a member of the UT faculty since 1994. She holds the rank of Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, where she served as the Department Head from 2008 until 2012. She served as the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences from 2012 until 2016. In 2008, she attended the HERS Summer Institute at Bryn Mawr College for intensive leadership training in higher education administration. She also participated in the Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program (2009–2010).
Thompson earned a BA in physical education and an MA in exercise physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned a PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Virginia. She focuses most of her research on the health impact of regular physical activity, particularly in women. Her work has clearly shown that important health changes (decreased blood pressure, better glucose control, weight loss, etc.) can result when inactive women add walking to their daily routine. She is currently part of a federally-funded research group training students from various disciplines (exercise physiology, nutrition, psychiatric nursing, pharmacy) to work in teams to assist patients with multiple chronic conditions develop wellness plans. Her research has led to numerous peer-reviewed publications, articles for the general public, book chapters, a textbook, and presentations. Thompson is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology.