KNOXVILLE – Over the next five years, the University of Tennessee expects to produce more qualified and more diverse numbers of graduates, increase research capacity and outreach, be effective and efficient and better promote the ways the University enhances the quality of life for Tennesseans, according to the goals set out in the strategic plan the UT board of trustees approved on Thursday.
The plan, called “Defining the Future,” creates a roadmap through 2017 to help the UT System Administration achieve goals driven by state and national agendas, particularly the Complete College Tennessee Act, to increase enrollment and graduation rates, influence economic development and respond to the changing needs of the state’s workforce.
“This is a moment of great opportunity. Our challenges are identified. The roles, responsibilities and accountability are agreed upon,” UT President Joe DiPietro told the board. “We have a strategic plan to guide the way, a commitment to lead the process and expectations for success.”
Each goal in the plan has several initiatives and action items to be implemented over the next two years. Here are the five main goals:
- Enhancing educational excellence
- Expanding research capacities
- Fostering outreach and engagement
- Ensuring effectiveness and efficiency
- Advocating for the University of Tennessee
Gov. Bill Haslam, chair of the UT board of trustees, spoke about his intentions to turn his focus to higher education, specifically increasing the number and quality of college graduates in Tennessee, examining the cost of a college education and preparing students for the state’s workforce. His goals align with UT’s strategic plan.
“I hope you find this to be an exciting and challenging time,” Haslam said. “This is a critical time around higher education. The status quo will not hold. … It won’t look the same 10 years from now. I personally think if you’re somebody who really believes in improvement and the kind of growth that forced change can cause this is a great time to be a part of higher ed.”
The strategic plan better defines the UT System and the role of the UT System Administration. The UT System refers to the entire University of Tennessee, including all campuses and institutes statewide. System Administration refers to the president’s office and administrative offices reporting to the president. It is charged with supporting and advancing the programs of the campuses and institutes “through leadership that removes obstacles, understands needs, provides advocacy, secures resources, promotes accountability, fosters diversity, promotes innovation, coordinates campus efforts and delivers efficient and effective central services,” according to the administration’s mission statement.
While the president is held accountable to seeing the goals of the plan fulfilled, the plan clarifies and assigns roles and responsibilities for each action item. Implementation committees will be assigned to develop plans to accomplish the goals. A dashboard will be developed to track progress.
“It’s not just a document. It’s a plan for the future of the University of Tennessee,” UT DiPietro said. “It will help our units move in the right direction to achieve their goals and advance their reputations.”
To read the complete strategic plan, visit president.tennessee.edu/strategicplan.
The board also approved tuition increases for all campuses as part of the University’s $1.93 billion budget for FY2013. Tuition and fee increases will fund salary adjustments, institutional scholarships, classroom infrastructure, academic reinvestment in support of Knoxville’s Top 25 implementation plan, academic promotions and student support services.
Here are the tuition increases for all campuses effective this fall:
- UT Chattanooga: 6 percent increase or $324 a year more for in-state undergraduates ($5,722 a year total) and $388 a year more for in-state graduate students ($6,860 a year total)
- UT Knoxville: 8 percent increase or $578 a year more for in-state undergraduates ($7,802 a year total) and $668 a year more for in-state graduate students ($9,000 a year total)
- UT Martin: 6 percent increase or $338 a year more for in-state undergraduates ($5,978 a year total) and $405 a year more for in-state graduate students ($7,130 a year total
- UT Health Science Center: 4 percent for in-state and out-of-state tuition for all colleges UT Veterinary Medicine – 10 percent increase or $1,941 a year more for in-state students and $4,326 a year more for out-of-state students
“We understand the reality of increasingly limited state resources, and the result has been that universities have experienced a dramatic decline in public funding in the last 10 years. Even as the amount of tuition has increased in that time, the cost per student remains stable, and tuition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and at UT Martin and UT Chattanooga compared to peer institutions remains a value,” DiPietro said.
Faculty and staff will receive pay increases for only the second time since FY2008. A portion of the $431.4 million in appropriations from the state will partially fund a 2.5 percent across-the-board pay increase. The budget includes increases for market and merit adjustments determined by each campus and institute.
The board approved a new tuition model for UT Knoxville, which will begin for new students in fall 2013. The new model will charge new full-time students for 15 credit hours instead of 12 credit hours, as in the current structure.
UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek presented the model to the board and emphasized the need for students to graduate in four years. This new model will tie a financial incentive to that expectation.
Students entering in fall 2013 will have the expectation of tuition increases of 3 percent for the next three years. After four years, they pay the prevailing rate. Cheek said adding just one year of college costs another $24,000 and contributes to student debt. The HOPE scholarship and all institutional scholarships expire after four years.
The board opened the meeting with honorary resolutions for outgoing trustees Carey Smith, the student representative from UT Knoxville, and J.A.M. “Toby” Boulet, the faculty representative from UT Knoxville. Non-voting members Shalin Shah, the student representative, and Victoria Steinberg, the faculty representative, from UTC joined the board.
Cheek honored Joan Cronan, retiring women’s athletics director at UT Knoxville. She served as interim vice chancellor and director of athletics before Dave Hart was hired for the role, and Cheek announced the interim title would be removed so that Cronan would be the first to hold the position of vice chancellor and director of athletics. She will serve as women’s athletics director emeritus starting in July.
In other action, the board approved:
- The president’s annual performance review, proposed presidential goals for 2012-13, and increased base salary to $430,500.
- Naming Butch Peccolo permanent Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer after serving as acting CFO in addition to his other duties.
- Discontinuance of a UT Martin regional tuition rate program for undergraduates attending the UT Martin Selmer Center who reside in Alcorn, Tippah and Tishomingo counties in Mississippi. Fewer than 10 students participated when the program began in 2010, and a four-year public institution in Mississippi now offers classes at a nearby community college in Mississippi.
- A one-year extension of UTC regional tuition rates for undergraduates and graduate students residing in six Georgia counties and one Alabama county contiguous to Tennessee. The undergraduate program was piloted in 2007, and the graduate program began in 2010. Both programs exceed revenue expectations.
- UT Chattanooga campus master plan. The plan, last updated in 2000, addresses a future vision for buildings, open space, circulation and parking, transit and bicycle, utilities and land acquisition.
- Program of study leading to the degree of doctor of occupational therapy at UTC.
- Program of study leading to the degree of bachelor of integrated studies at UTC.
- Extension of the pilot five-point scale for Knoxville-area faculty evaluations. The board first approved the pilot program in 2009 to allow for a more accurate record of performance. Chief academic officers and faculty senate leaders from all campuses and institutes are coordinating to propose a revision to board policy on this issue.
The meeting’s full agenda and materials are posted at bot.tennessee.edu.
An archive of the webcast of the meeting will be available by visiting tennessee.edu.