GREENEVILLE – A rising professional with a track record of success in higher education and the private sector has been named associate vice president of student affairs and retention at Tusculum University.
Claire Hensley joined the Tusculum family Thursday, Aug. 11. She will have direct oversight of residence life, student life and programming as well as coordination of efforts across the university and in the community that promote student retention, success and engagement. She will serve as a member of the Executive Cabinet, which advises and assists the president in the university’s day-to-day operations.
In addition, she will support Chuck Sutton, a 12-year Tusculum employee, who has been promoted to dean of students. Sutton will oversee the Office of Students Affairs’ judicial process, work-study programs and intramural staff. He will also take the lead in assistance and support initiatives for students of concern.
“Claire impressed us greatly with her excellent leadership skills and her commitment to our mission,” said Dr. Scott Hummel, Tusculum’s president. “Her vision for the Office of Student Affairs will enrich the lives of those who enroll at the university through a holistic approach and prepare them to be career-ready professionals. We are also excited Chuck will partner with her to provide the framework for our students to grow and succeed. He has proven throughout his time at Tusculum to be a valuable asset in helping students reach their full potential.”
Hensley welcomes the opportunity to serve Tusculum students in her new role.
“I have always had a passion for working with college students and observing how each collegiate journey creates a higher sense of self and purpose,” Hensley said. “The staff and faculty with whom they engage greatly influences the experiences a student has academically and personally in college. My interest in serving in this role stems from knowing there is a great opportunity to serve as a direct conduit for staff and faculty collaboration and provide the best experience and support for all Tusculum students.”
Hensley comes to Tusculum from Coastal Alabama Partnership, where she served for a year as project initiatives coordinator. Among her accomplishment were collaborating with a steering committee to implement and allocate resources for a communitywide education initiative and leading implementation of a $562,000 grant.
Before that, she served for three years as hall director in the Department of University Housing at the University of Tennessee. She oversaw educational programming to address the academic, social and emotional needs of more than 500 students. She also supervised resident assistants and developed a training program that included opportunities to enhance others’ job performance. She served as president of the Tennessee Association of College and University Housing Officers.
Hensley has a Bachelor of Science in wellness, health promotion and injury prevention from Oakland University in Michigan. She also holds a Master of Arts in higher education and student personnel from the University of Mississippi, where she served as a graduate community director and graduate assistant for orientation.
Sutton has served as director of student affairs at Tusculum since 2018. Before accepting that position, he served as multicultural retention specialist in Tusculum’s Student Support Services office. He began his Tusculum career as a counselor in the Upward Bound program. In April, Tusculum honored him with an Outstanding Service to Students award.
Earlier in his career, Sutton served as a third grade teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, and worked in criminal justice.
“It has always been a dream and a goal of mine to become the dean of students,” Sutton said. “It is my passion to lead guide, serve and influence all students, including first-generation, adult and online students and underrepresented students. To witness their growth and success from year to year is something that drives me to become better.”
Sutton has a bachelor’s degree in education from East Tennessee State University and a master’s in education, with a concentration in talent development, from Tusculum.