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CCI Staff Retirements: Douglas, Suttles

Deborah Douglas with Dean Wirth

Deborah Douglas will retire this summer after 27 years of service as the administrative support assistant in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. JEM Director Peter Gross said, “Deborah Douglas has been absolutely invaluable to the School. She not only has the overall capabilities of a good principal secretary, she also knows how to navigate the university’s bureaucracy. Furthermore, she cares about students, and there are many students who managed to graduate because of her involvement with their wellbeing. She will be exceedingly difficult to replace, and I am very grateful to her for all the support she has given to me and the School of Journalism and Electronic Media.”

“I began working at UT in August 1989 in the School of Journalism. I have been here through every name change since then,” said Douglas. During her time on staff, she served for 10 years on the Employee Relations Committee, and served on the UT Sick Leave Bank as a Trustee, three terms on the Dean’s Advisory Committee, and as a Task Force member on a Journey to the Top 25 Campaign committee.

Douglas received the UT Send Roses Award in 1997 and a Chancellor’s Honors “Service to the University” award in 2000.  For the latter, then Dean Dwight Teeter said, “’Professional Problem Solver and Good Will Ambassador’ better describes who she is and what she does. She troubleshoots staff and faculty computers and serves on the college’s diversity committee. Most importantly, Ms. Douglas makes sure students get the help they need when they come her way.”



Bobbie Suttles

Bobbie Suttles will retire this summer after 11 years of service as the assistant director of the Center for Information and Communication Studies (CICS). She began her career at UT at Hoskins Library in 1968 where she worked for a few years before moving from Knoxville. She later returned to UT and worked at Hodges Library for several more years.  In 2003 she decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Information Sciences at UT and worked as a graduate assistant in the Bursar’s Office. In 2005, she joined CICS. 

As a part of her responsibilities, Suttles has assisted with the organization and hosting of the annual CCI Research Symposium. She worked with Chancellor’s Professor Carol Tenopir for several years as the Center expanded and developed its role offering assistance with proposal development and project performance for externally funded research initiatives.

In 2014 IS Professor Suzie Allard became the director of the Center and Suttles continued to help CCI faculty navigate the university and governmental requirements for research. Financial reporting and administrative details are an important but often unseen function of Suttles responsibilities. Allard commented, “Bobbie is a consummate assistant director whose contributions to CICS have been key for the center’s success. Her knowledge and enthusiasm have supported CCI’s research culture for more than a decade.  The research enterprise is not “one-size-fits-all” and each day brings new challenges for externally funded faculty researchers. Bobbie has always provided advice and expertise that helped faculty work efficiently with their funding agencies and UT’s Office of Research and Engagement. This meant faculty could concentrate on their research rather than being consumed by administrative details.  Bobbie has also worked tirelessly helping students who were funded by grants.  Most importantly, Bobbie is a great colleague whose keen observations, unflappable demeanor and passion for CCI are inspiring and energizing. As she embarks on her next life adventure, Bobbie leaves a wonderful legacy for CICS staff and our CCI community.”