Two Tennessee Universities ‘Above Average,’ Poll Finds (380)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Perception of Vanderbilt and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville as “above average” institutions of higher education is increasing in Tennessee, a statewide public opinion poll says.

Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a recent UT survey rated Vanderbilt as above average — an 18-point jump from a similar poll in 1974. Fifty-six percent put UT-Knoxville in the above average category, up 13 percent from the previous survey.

The Social Science Research Institute at UT-Knoxville polled 605 state residents this fall for the Office of University Relations. It is the fifth poll in 24 years on attitudes toward education, state services and confidence in state and national institutions.

The statewide University of Tennessee touches the lives of state residents in many ways, and the poll found citizens are happy with their dealings with UT.

Ninety percent of those questioned said they have some or a great deal of confidence in the campuses and programs of the UT system. The number was 87 percent in the 1974 survey.

Seventy nine percent of those who have dealt with UT said the experience has been satisfactory — down two percentage points from five years ago.

More than 60 percent of those questioned in the poll have taken a course from one of the university’s five campuses, and three-fourths said they have attended a UT sporting event.

Nearly 60 percent have access to the Internet, and 24 percent said they have visited a UT World Wide Web site.

Replacing worn out or obsolete equipment and expanding educational opportunities on the Internet should be UT’s highest priorities, according to those questioned.

When Tennesseans think about a college campus, UT-Knoxville comes to mind in half of those in the survey. Vanderbilt University was second at 11 percent. If their child could attend any college or university in Tennessee, a third of those questioned said they would choose UT-Knoxville and 20 percent said Vanderbilt.

Conversation (26 percent) and newspapers (25 percent) are the major sources of information about Tennessee’s colleges and universities.

The latest survey has a margin of error of four percent, with a 95 percent confidence level.