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Growth, Opportunity Highlight UT Board of Trustees Meeting

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Randy Boyd sitting next to John Compton at the Board of Trustees Feb. 2023 Winter Meeting

CHATTANOOGA – Significant growth and increased opportunity were among the central themes throughout the UT Board of Trustees winter meetings held on the UT Chattanooga campus Feb. 23-24.

At a time when national higher education enrollment has declined by almost 8%, overall enrollment across the UT System has risen nearly 4% from 2021 to 2022. In addition, UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga and UT Southern reported one-year increases in freshman applications of 6,381, 741 and 200 respectively. Six-year graduation rates across the system have increased by almost 3% during the past five years.

Retention, or the percentage of a university’s first-time, full-time students who continue at the institution for the following year, also showed gains. During the past five years, UT Southern showed the most improvement of any UT campus, with a retention growth rate of 14.7% since 2018. UT Southern, formerly Martin Methodist College, was acquired and officially joined the UT System in July 2021. UT Knoxville experienced retention growth of 1.8% during a five-year period.

The UT System also experienced significant increases in its endowment, with $74 million in new gifts received in 2022. This closely follows last year’s record of $78 million and is a 6.8% increase in the total amount of endowed gifts of $1.14 billion.

“The University of Tennessee continues to enjoy solid growth in a multitude of areas, from student enrollment to student success to financial health,” said UT Board of Trustees Chairman John Compton. “This growth, combined with the opportunities to responsibly steward further advancements on our campuses and institutes, underscores the terrific work of our faculty, staff, alumni and legislative partners.”

The UT Board of Trustees also approved campus master plans for UT Knoxville and UT Chattanooga. UT Knoxville’s master plan will provide opportunities to support growing undergraduate and graduate student enrollment, engaged teaching and service, and interdisciplinary research and partnership. UT Chattanooga’s master plan will steer the university’s facilities and space needs for the next 10 years. Housing, dining, study and meeting spaces, and recreation and wellness facilities are all addressed for the next decade at UT Chattanooga.

Also during the two-day meetings, UT System President Randy Boyd outlined his proposed objectives for 2023, which included several measures aimed at addressing the state’s grand challenges. Grand challenges represent complex, interconnected, large-scale issues that, if left unaddressed, would continue to create uncertain futures for Tennesseans. After receiving feedback from a cross-section of faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders, the UT System has identified three grand challenges it will focus on in 2023: advancing K-12 education, strengthening rural communities and overcoming addiction. Boyd also highlighted these challenges in his recent State of UT Address.

“While these are not altogether new issues, they have progressed to the point where we may feel compelled to label them as grand challenges,” Boyd said. “As these challenges are becoming more common across the U.S., accepting their normalization is not something the University is willing to do.”

The board and Boyd also stressed its commitment to diversity in the educational environment, and the value of a diverse and fully inclusive campus community, one that is enriched by persons of different backgrounds, points of view, cultures, socioeconomic status, and other diverse characteristics.

In other business, the board approved:

  • Revised FY 2022-23 operating budget
  • Non-resident tuition rate at UT Chattanooga
  • Tuition levels at UT Health Science Center, which will remain flat
  • Search process and timeline for a new chancellor at UT Martin
  • Three new academic units at UT Knoxville
    • College of Music
    • Howard H. Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs
    • College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies

Archived video of the committee and full board meetings can be accessed at

The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Pulaski; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT System manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 54,000 students statewide; produces about 13,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 433,000 alumni around the world.

Download Photos from the 2023 winter meeting



Melissa Tindell
505 Summer Place, UT Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902 

Natalie Keener
505 Summer Place, UT Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902  

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Category: Announcements