President Joe DiPietro told a group of Chattanooga community leaders he supports UTC as it aspires to build upon its success as an engaged metropolitan university and become one of the top five public master’s universities in the South. UTC is currently ranked in the top 20 graduate schools by U.S. News and World Report.
“Great cities like Chattanooga deserve great universities,” DiPietro observed.
To achieve its goals, UTC is focusing on premier undergraduate honors experiences; regionally superior graduate programs; and applied research and experiential learning with regional partners. Chancellor Roger Brown explained the University strives to attract the best and brightest students and embraces its engaged metropolitan mission, reaching out to students who will be the first in their families to attend college.
DiPietro applauded UTC’s efforts to encourage very young children to work toward that goal.
The Center for Community Career Education at UTC began PAWS, an elementary collegiate awareness program, in 2007. It annually serves 50 children from Brown Academy. UTC student mentors work with 4th and 5th grade students three times a week, and the results have been dramatic.
There has been a 40% increase in school attendance; nearly 80% are now aware of financial aid available for college; and in the second year of the program, a significant increase was observed in the percentage of parents who thought their child would attend a 4-year college, up from 60% to 93%.
“The notion of talking to young people early can really have an impact on their lives,” DiPietro said.
DiPietro also noted a pilot program which offers English “1010+1” classes—a three hour class and a one hour writing workshop, is available to students who would have taken developmental writing classes as well as students who felt they needed extra help.
While faculty members are in the early stages of analyzing the data collected, preliminary data indicate that this initiative works. Approximately ten English 1010+1 classes will be offered in fall 2011 semester.