Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs, Research & Student Success and Associate Vice President for Student Success

Bernie Savarese, acting vice president for academic affairs and student success, joined the University of Tennessee System in October 2021. In this role, he works closely with campus chief academic, research, and student affairs officers to coordinate and promote high-quality academic and student experiences tied to key outcomes. Dr. Savarese also serves as staff to the Education, Research and Service Committee of the UT Board of Trustees and represents the UT System in state, regional and national student success initiatives.

From 2017 to 2021, Bernie served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Success and the Student Experience at New York University (NYU). In this role, he oversaw the creation of the Office of Student Success, led NYU’s Student Success Steering Committee, and served as a subject matter expert and resource to university leaders. Prior to joining NYU, Bernie worked at Ohio State University for almost two decades, most recently serving as the Director of University Orientation and First Year Experience (FYE), leading the Campus Visit Experience team in Undergraduate Admissions, and serving on the leadership team in the Division of Enrollment Management. Before his time in FYE, Bernie held various leadership roles across the Office of Residence Life and Ohio State’s Center for Student Leadership and Service.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Bernie was raised across the Ohio River in Belmont County, Ohio. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and an MBA from Ohio State University, a master’s in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University, and his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership and Innovation from NYU where his dissertation was focused on the early college experiences of Black men at private research universities.

Bernie has been recognized with honors such as BGSU’s President’s Award for Distinguished Service and NYU’s Making a Difference Award, he was inducted into the 2016 Class of “Forty Under 40” by Columbus Business First, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Ohio State University Alumni Association. He continues to speak nationally and internationally on topics including student success and enhancing equity and belonging across the student experience.

Bernie currently lives in Knoxville with his wife, Krystyne, their two teenage sons, Anthony and Ben, and their spunky Boston Terrier, Rocky.