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UT President DiPietro Focuses on Teamwork, Engagement Across the State

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KNOXVILLE – “Family reunion” has been the theme for the activities of University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro over the last four months.

DiPietro, elected the University’s president a year ago, reported to the Board of Trustees at their fall meeting on Friday his agenda since the previous board meeting in June. He listed visiting campuses to meet and listen to faculty, staff and students; meeting monthly with leaders from each campus and holding briefings with state legislators.

“I’ve been really focused on efforts to take care of the campuses and institutes,” he said. “We are expanding teamwork, cooperation and engagement among all the components of the System.”

The University will go before the governor on Nov. 15 to discuss budget needs for the following year, and DiPietro said he hopes for a stronger state budget.

“My guess is we’ll have a tight and lean year. We’ll have to roll up our sleeves to deal with that,” he said.

A priority for the University in the upcoming legislative session will be addressing the need for new academic buildings and maintenance of older buildings. “That would be transformational for us and transformational for higher education across the state,” DiPietro said.

While the board will not take up proposals concerning tuition until it votes on the fiscal year 2013 budget next June, DiPietro said he had started discussions with the chancellors of each campus on tuition and ways to perhaps provide a multi-year perspective for tuition costs to allow students to plan for the cost of attending UT.

During the meeting, DiPietro officially launched a UT President Facebook page as an effort to further engage faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters of the University. It is located at:

“It’s been a privilege to be your president and a real joy to do so as well,” he said. “It’s been a great ride.”

The president and his staff have launched a strategic planning process that will provide a roadmap for the next 10 years for the University. Keith Carver, executive assistant to the president, gave an update on the process. The University is holding listening sessions with various constituencies to gather information for the plan and expects to introduce the plan to the board in June 2012.

“This is the most important thing we will accomplish in the first year,” DiPietro said.

More information about the strategic plan is at:

Trustee Charles Anderson reported on a visit to Clemson University with administrators from UT Knoxville and the UT System to discuss the goal of the Knoxville campus reaching the Top 25 among public national universities. Clemson rose from 39th in U.S. News and World Report rankings in 2001 to 25th in the most recent rankings. He said the goal is reachable but that it will be achieved as a long-term goal.

In other action, the board approved:

  • The President’s recommendation for election and compensation of Johnnie Ray as the vice president for development and alumni affairs. Ray comes to UT from Arizona State, where he was president and chief executive officer of the university’s foundation since 2007.
  • Naming the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. Former Gov. Bredesen helped grow the partnership between UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and was a champion of higher education during his eight years in office.
  • Naming of the UTC Library Annex (auditorium) the “Dr. Lawrence G. Derthick Sr. Hall.” Derthick was U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1956 to 1961.
  • FY 2012-2013 operating budget appropriations request for non-formula units, capital outlay and capital maintenance projects and revenue/institutionally funded projects.
  • An amendment to UT’s affiliation agreement with Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospitals and a new affiliation agreement with the West Clinic to integrate cancer services.
  • An affiliation and services agreement with the UC Foundation, Inc. at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The purpose of the agreement is to leverage the foundation in order to maximize private giving to UTC, sharpen the focus of UTC’s fundraising efforts, enhance the outreach and services available to University of Chattanooga and UTC alumni, and provide the means to increase the development and alumni operation (staffing, activities, and other initiatives) located at UTC.
  • An endorsement on the UT Foundation policy on affiliated foundations. The policy establishes the model for any future UTFI affiliated foundation and paves the way for the creation of the UTHSC foundation.
  • Statement of commitment to graduate medical education as required by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
  • Establishment of the University Honors College at UTC, which is an expansion of the existing University Honors Program. A part of UTC’s goal to become a Top-5 public master’s university in the South, the University Honors College will emphasize individual development in leadership, personal and professional ethics, and creativity for approximately 10 percent of UTC’s undergraduates. Financial support will come primarily from private sources. In addition to the existing $6.5 million Brock Scholars endowment, another $7 million of a $15 million development goal has been raised to create the college.
  • 2011 Annual Report to the General Assembly, which includes financial and enrollment data.

To view the meeting’s full agenda and materials, go to

The full board meeting was webcast live and will be archived for later viewing. For a link to the webcasts, go to

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Category: Announcements