Chancellor’s Column


Spring is here and we are down to the last month of the semester.  This is “I Love UTC Week,” and it is always an exciting time to celebrate all the reasons UTC is such a special place.  As a metropolitan university located in Chattanooga focused on experiential learning, we are positioned to continue to excel and be an asset to our community.  Simply stated, at UTC, we learn, do and lead in ways that few other higher ed institutions can.  Our success is because of the incredible faculty, staff and students that make “Being A Moc” truly special.

I wanted to update you on what the strategy team is doing to continue to position us at the leading edge of change in higher education as we look toward the rest of the year and beyond.

Each year, I meet with the UT System President to review past year’s progress and lay out goals for the coming year.  In some cases, he sets the goals, and in others, I do.  Whichever the case, we agree to work together to achieve them.  A couple of weeks ago, I shared my annual goals with our vice chancellors and deans.  Today, I am writing to share them with the campus.  As we turn our attention towards 2030, it is important that we communicate year after year what our goals are and how we are progressing.  My major goals for the year are to:

  • Grow undergraduate enrollment by 3% to 11,721
  • Increase retention by 2% to 76.3% and the six-year graduation rate to 55.1%
  • Move the Fletcher Hall addition project forward with construction beginning in 2025
  • Increase philanthropic giving to an all-time high of $58 million
  • Develop a comprehensive residence hall facility plan and budget
  • Move the new 700+ bed residence hall forward in the planning process
  • Increase graduate school enrollment to 1,440 and dual enrollment students to 250
  • Complete our strategic plan for 2025-2030, expand campus use of AI, and launch the Center of Excellence and Innovation in Education

These goals are not meant to be all-encompassing, but they do give a view on a few of the strategic items we will be working towards this year.  I have asked the vice chancellors and deans to identify 3-5 measurable areas of focus for their division that scaffold towards the aforementioned goals.  As they finalize their respective division goals, we will also communicate them to the campus.

Additionally, I have asked this group to be bold in their thinking.  In the State of the University, I shared that “Our plans must be bold leaps forward, not incremental steps down the same path of the past.”  We must be willing to think differently and approach our work in even more connected ways than before.  In a recent conversation with a faculty member at a monthly lunch, she shared how important it was for departments to come together to make intentional connections to ensure that the learning, doing and leading that UTC does so well becomes even more impactful.  I couldn’t agree more.

Just as spring brings a change of season and growth to everything around us, this is a season of innovation and growth for our university.  I’m excited about where we are heading and our potential to make an even greater positive impact on our students and our community.  If we are to achieve our goals, we must work as an integrated team.  Together, we will open the door of opportunity for our students.  It’s a great time to be a Moc!


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