This is an exciting time on the Knoxville campus as we anticipate opportunities that will define the university’s future. To build on our current momentum, Chancellor Loren Crabtree has asked me to direct a strategic planning process for the entire campus. I want to explain how I am organizing this initiative. I also want to strongly encourage your input into this process.
A broad-based strategic planning committee composed of faculty, students, and staff will help move the process along and then shape and approve the final report to the chancellor.
This group and its subcommittees will use as an outline the six strategic initiatives set forth last year by the UT System. These include access for students, student success in achieving progress and appropriate degrees, research activity as measured by scholarly output and grant activity, economic development that contributes to the fiscal well-being of the state, outreach to ensure accessibility to university resources for a great number of citizens, and globalization measured by the connectivity of the campus with the rest of the world and the student’s ability to compete in the global economy.
The planning process faces several challenges-most notably involving funding and the uncertainty of the funding process. Expansion of the campus will require a significant infusion of resources. This must take place if we are to reach our full potential as a research-intensive institution. Even at our current size, we are already underfunded. We need the cooperation of the Office of the President, the governor of Tennessee, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and the General Assembly to achieve our goals.
Permeating these six categories are three themes of particular importance to Knoxville as the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee:
Accessibility. UT is the only public university in the state with such significant research activity. We must increase accessibility by increasing the size of our student body to 33,000 over the next decade. The projected graduate student population will be 8,000. Current enrollment is approximately 21,000 undergraduates and 6,000 graduate students.
Quality. In becoming larger, we cannot afford to dilute our quality. We must continue to attract highly qualified students, improve our educational processes and their indicators, and achieve significant increases in sponsored research and scholarly productivity.
Diversity and Inclusiveness. In keeping with the Ready for the World Initiative and our diversity plan, we must attract a diverse population to our faculty, student body and staff and promote intercultural and international programs.
Our website, provost.utk.edu, will post documents and drafts leading to the final report and encourage and enable input from the campus community.
The entire process will engage constituencies through forums and other discussions.
If you have questions or comments or would like to receive any of the forthcoming materials in printed format, please contact the Provost’s Office at 865-974-2445.
I look forward to working with you. Your engagement will ensure that we make the best decisions for the good of the campus.