Faculty Managers

Ashton Jennings

Interim Director of The Ned Ray McWherter Institute for Collaboration & Innovation

Ashton Jennings

Ashton is a fundraiser who advocates for the University to alumni and friends, primarily in Middle Tennessee. Ashton Jennings joined the advancement team as a Nashville based Regional Gifts Officer. Before coming to U.T. Martin, Ashton spent 6 years in sales and marketing in the motor-sports and sponsorship development industries. He also owned and operated Premier Racing Inc. based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ashton is proud to return to his home state as a 6th generation Tennessean. He and his wife Lindy reside in Nashville.

Lane Last

Lane Last

Lane Last is a professor of art at UT Martin in the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts. He is an artist, graphic designer, and experimental filmmaker. Lane holds an M.F.A. and a B.S. degree in art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with primary concentrations in Painting, Digital Art, Video, and New Media, though he has worked in Film Production, Installation/Non-Static Forms, and Printmaking. He was previously on the faculty at Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wisconsin and Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois. Lane has been exhibiting his animations and media works in international venues and competitions for the past twelve years. He has also been exhibiting his paintings in international, national, and regional museums and galleries for the past twenty years. His works can be found in public and private collections across the United States, Italy, Korea, and Japan. In November 2012, Professor Last had a film shown in the competition program of PSSST! Festival of Silent Film in Zagreb, Croatia.

Dr. Thomas Payne

Tom Payne

Thomas H. Payne, Ph.D. is Professor of Finance and Horace and Sara Dunagan Chair of Excellence in Banking at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Dr. Payne holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas, an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the University of Texas at Dallas, and a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Arkansas.

Since coming to academia from the private sector where he worked for two Fortune 500 companies, Dr. Payne has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles and has earned a reputation as an outstanding speaker, author, teacher, and consultant.

An avid proponent of experiential learning, Dr. Payne connects students to careers through a variety of travel study, internship, and professional activities. Tom has served as a visiting professor at the University of Orléans (France) where he taught Financial Analysis and Risk Management; partnered with the Financial Services Volunteer Corporation to assist the Savings Bank of Albania during its privatization; and, in 2005, hosted a lending and risk management program for Russian bank executives. Dr. Payne served as Interim Chair of Accounting, Finance, Economics and Political Science from 2007-2013. He served in a leadership role in the establishment and delivery of UT Martin’s acclaimed online MBA focusing on Banking and Financial Services Professionals. In 2013, this highly successful program was ranked number ten in the nation among all online MBAs by U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Payne provides conferences, hosts seminars, and sponsors speakers on the UTM campus. Tom is a frequent speaker to professional organizations and serves on the faculty of the Barret Graduate School of Banking in Memphis, the Tennessee Bankers Association Southeastern School of Consumer Credit, and the Graduate School of Banking at LSU where he was recently honored as the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Member. Since 2002, Dr. Payne has hosted the highly successful MidSouth Agricultural Lending Conference and is co-director of the new Mid-South School for Advanced Agricultural Lending.

A leader in regional economic development, Tom serves as chairman of the Martin Industrial Development Board and on the Weakley County Economic Development Board of Directors. He served on the WestStar Leadership Program Board of Trustees from 2011-2013 and was founder of the UT Martin Regional Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (REED) Center. Now affiliated with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center Network, the UTM REED Center supports small business growth and economic development throughout Northwest Tennessee.

Tom is a past president of the Martin Rotary Club and the Southwestern Finance Association. He and his wife Amy have two daughters, Rachel, a UTM graduate and CPA in Franklin, Tennessee, and Rebekah, who is a senior finance major at UTM.

Dr. Darrell Ray

Darrell Ray

Darrell Ray is a Kentucky native, but has adopted Tennessee as his home. After receiving BS and MS degrees from Western Kentucky University, he earned his PhD from Vanderbilt University in Plant Physiological Ecology and Botany. Dr. Ray has interests in pollution biology and in public and environmental health. He has been active in developing new ways to teach important concepts in biology, and in promoting the use of computer applications and mathematics in the life the life sciences. He is an enthusiastic supporter of programs to help people, especially children, overcome various problems ranging from hunger to mental health concerns.

Dr. Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts

Dr. Roberts, a veterinarian, is the founding director of the University of Tennessee at Martin Veterinary Technology Program and an associate professor in the Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Geosciences. Dr. Roberts received his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from UT Martin in 1998 and his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from The University of Tennessee in 2002. Previously, he worked 7 years as a private veterinary practitioner in a rural Tennessee community before joining UT Martin. Along with serving as Director of the Veterinary Technology program, he teaches, advises, and coordinates the pre-veterinary medicine and veterinary technology option at UT Martin.

Dr. Nancy A. Warren

Nancy Warren

Dr. Nancy A. Warren has been employed in the Department of Nursing 1991. She has served as Chair of the Department of Nursing, President of Faculty Senate, and member of the UT System President Search Committee to name a few of her endeavors. She has been actively involved in Nursing Research and developed the Needs Meet Inventory to measure the needs of Critical Care Family Members which has been published nationally and internationally. She earned a PhD in Family Nursing from Georgia State University in Atlanta in 1998; a Master of Science in Nursing from Murray State in 1991; A Bachelor of Science from Murray State in 1982; and an Associates of Arts in Nursing in 1976. Dr. Warren has travelled internationally through Europe, South America, and East Africa. She achieved a lifelong dream and summited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2000.

Mission Statement

The Office of Student Engagement is committed to advocating for the University of Tennessee at Martin by providing outstanding student services, while ensuring effectiveness and efficiency, through six organizational departments...

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