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Chancellor’s Update

It is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is next week.  Where has the fall semester gone?  My family and I wish our students, faculty and staff a happy Thanksgiving.  Thank you for all you do for UTC; together with our alumni and community partners, we are UTC.

When we return to campus on Monday, November 28, only six class days remain in the semester.  Reading Day is Tuesday, December 6, and final examinations are December 7-13.  Commencement ceremonies at McKenzie Arena will take place December 16-17:

  • Friday, December 16: Graduate School (all colleges), 2:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 17 (Undergraduate): College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and Computer Science, 9 a.m.
  • Saturday, December 17 (Undergraduate): Gary W. Rollins College of Business and College of Health, Education and Professional Studies, 1 p.m.

Over the past two weeks—between the Blue and Gold Preview and The Power C Tour stops in Franklin, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga—we have had multiple opportunities to highlight UTC to prospective students and their families.  Thank you to everyone—students, staff and faculty—who worked so hard to make these events a huge success.  Our Admissions Team worked incredibly hard to ensure every detail was addressed, and I know they appreciated the excitement and enthusiasm and support of their campus partners.

I am excited to share the news of the Richard Brown Inclusive Access Scholarship, which commemorates Dr. Brown’s contributions to this University.  For those who don’t know him, Dr. Brown invested more than 38 years of service to UTC and the UT System—rising to executive vice chancellor for administration and finance—and was instrumental in this institution’s growth.  During the 2022-2023 academic year, 30 UTC students from the Chattanooga region are benefitting from this new scholarship.  This is a deserving tribute to Richard and his significant impact as a mentor, role model and tireless advocate for excellence and inclusion.

The last couple of weeks have seen several exciting announcements for UTC – just in case you missed them, here is a recap of a few of them:

  • A new Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology in Cybersecurity degree program at UTC will start in January after receiving approval from the UT Board of Trustees and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. This new program will directly address workforce needs, as approximately 6,700 cybersecurity jobs are open in Tennessee—including 300-plus in southeast Tennessee and north Georgia.
  • UTC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation and promote collaboration in areas of mutual interest, creating increased opportunities for students in the Master of Public Health program and the Biology, Geology and Environmental Science department. Congratulations to Dr. Dawn Ford for her work in establishing this partnership with the EPA.
  • A ribbon-cutting took place in Fletcher Hall to introduce the Sales Institute and the Business Skills Laboratory. Congratulations to Dr. Chris Plouffe, the first Gary W. Rollins Endowed Chair in Sales, who has spearheaded the design and launch of the sales curriculum and programming.
  • An articulation agreement between UTC and Volunteer State Community College guarantees admission to mechatronics students who have completed the 60-credit-hour Associate of Applied Science in the Mechatronics degree program at VSCC. Ahad Nasab and Associate Dean Michael Danquah did a terrific job in creating another partnership for the mechatronics program, which has grown from five students when it started four years ago to nearly 90.

Congratulations to the UTC Mock Trial team on its recent victory at the Grand Ole Tournament at Vanderbilt.  Three students won individual honors: Stacy Cunningham (junior/history and philosophy of law, ethics and justice major/Nashville), Emma Denham (junior/political science and public service/Chattanooga) and Justin LaPorta (sophomore/Brock Scholar/political science and public service/Birmingham, Alabama).  The UTC Mock Trial team is coached by Mike Giglio, an attorney and adjunct faculty member who has worked with the team since its inception in 2008.

The Center for Global Education’s International Education Week 2022 festivities continue through Friday (November 18).  Every year, UTC and other colleges across the country celebrate International Education Week—a joint initiative of the U.S. departments of State and Education—by offering students, faculty and staff an opportunity to engage in cross-cultural understanding through special events focused on international learning, leadership and exchange.

The next Coffee with the Chancellor will be held on Monday (November 21) from 8:15-9:30 a.m. in the newly renovated Hunter Hall (Room 405).  If you haven’t seen Hunter Hall this semester, you have to check it out!  For those unfamiliar with Coffee with the Chancellor, this is an open-door event; drop by and chat and grab a cup of coffee.  The only agenda is a meaningful conversation, so bring your creative ideas and any questions or concerns.  I will take questions from 8:30-9:15 but hope to chat informally before and after.

I look forward to attending the UTC Theatre Co.’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” which runs through Saturday night (November 19).  The cast includes 14 UTC theatre majors or minors, one theatre alumnus and one theatre faculty member.  A big round of applause to everyone involved in the production—the cast, crew, faculty and staff!

I want to thank Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer Vicki Farnsworth for taking on the challenging roles of adding interim vice chancellor for finance and administration duties and chairing the search committee.  Vicki provided steady leadership during a crucial period for the University and will be a tremendous asset to Brent Goldberg once he gets to campus on December 1.

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!


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