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Tim Ezzell

Director, Appalachian Leadership Institute

Dr. Tim Ezzell holds degrees in history and urban and regional planning from Auburn University and the University of Tennessee. He has worked extensively with communities throughout Appalachia promoting sustainable growth, asset-based development, and citizen-driven planning processes. Dr. Ezzell also chairs the UT Appalachian Community of Scholars. He has participated in the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commmission)-sponsored Appalachian Teaching Project since 2002 and represents UT in the Consortium of Appalachian Centers and Institutes. In recognition of these efforts, he was named both an Appalachian Teaching Fellow and an Honorary Appalachian Research Fellow by the ARC.

Dr. Ezzell’s work in Appalachia includes major studies related to local development strategies, tourism development, and dark skies conservation. He is helping with efforts to create a dedicated dark skies destination in Calhoun County, WV, and has worked with dark skies development efforts with communities in Pennsylvania and New York. Dr. Ezzell also works in the field of historic preservation. He authored a campus preservation plan, a project funded by the Getty Foundation, and assesses and documents historic properties across the UT system. He also participated in efforts to preserve the historic Airplane Filling Station in Powell, Tennessee.

Dr. Ezzell also holds a position in the Political Science department, where he teaches in the Masters of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) program. He is past president of the Beaver Creek Watershed Association and was founding president of the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.

Dr. Ezzell is a life-long photography enthusiast and owns far too many cameras. He spends his free time with his family, two poorly trained dogs, and a rather indifferent feline.


  • Ph.D., History, University of Tennessee
  • M.S., Urban and Regional Planning, University of Tennessee
  • M.A., History, University of Tennessee
  • B.A., History, Auburn University

Selected Publications:

Books and Book Chapters:

  • Chattanooga: A City Set Down in Dixie, 1865-1900. University of Tennessee Press, January 2014.
  • "No One's Ever Talked to Us Before: Participatory Approaches and Economic Development in Rural Appalachian Communities.” Chapter from Appalachia Revisited: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Regional Continuity and Change. William Schumann and Becky Fletcher, eds., University of Kentucky Press, May 2016.

Journal Articles

  • “The Future of Appalachia: A Scenario,” Now and Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Winter 2016.
  • “Challenging the Digital Divide, Cultivating Technology in Appalachian Communities,” Now and Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Summer 2016.
  • "Experimental Learning and Economic Development in Appalachian Communities," With Bruce Tonn and Eric Ogle, Journal of Appalachian Studies, Volume 16, Nos. 1 & 2, Spring/Fall 2010.
  • Contributor, "The Appalachian Teaching Project: An Opportunity for Academic-Community Activism," Journal of Appalachian Studies, Fall 2007.

Project Reports

  • “Hurdles to Healthcare: Haywood County Health Access Plan,” University of Tennessee, May, 2018.
  • "What is Happening in the World? Reviews of Community-Based Best Practices." Tennessee Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations, July 2015 (with Bruce Tonn and Catherine Wilt).
  • Strategies for Economic Improvement in Appalachia’s Distressed Rural Counties: An Analysis of Ten Distressed and Formerly Distressed Appalachian Counties. Appalachian Regional Commission, May 2012.
  • The University of Tennessee Campus Heritage Plan. The University of Tennessee and the Getty Foundation, June 2009.