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Chancellor’s Update

Happy 2023!  We look forward to an exciting spring semester when classes resume on Monday, January 9.

To anyone new to our campus, welcome to UTC!  To all the continuing Mocs, Welcome Back!  This is the first C-Note of 2023.  During the academic year, these notes are sent out on the first and third Thursdays of each month.

UTC is accredited to offer degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  Every 10 years our accreditation is reconsidered and we must go through a formal reaffirmation process.  We have already submitted a several hundred-page document addressing how we comply with each of the accreditation standards.  The next step in the process is to have a visiting team come to campus to confirm we comply with the accreditation standards.  Our reaffirmation site visit will be March 6-9 and the team will talk with many different groups during their time on campus.

As part of the SACSCOC reaffirmation process, we are required to have a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)—a long-term commitment to student success.  The visiting team will review the UTC QEP titled “A Moc’s First Year”—which is intended to increase the retention and graduation of first-time, full-time freshmen students.  “A Moc’s First Year” will bridge and connect a variety of current and new initiatives, culminating in a centralized learning community model that increases student and faculty interaction, the overall feeling of community on campus, the connection of our new students to Chattanooga, and overall student success at UTC.

We need everyone on campus to understand their role in the reaffirmation process.  To learn about the process and our QEP, “A Moc’s First Year” and the upcoming SACSCOC On-Site Review Team visit, I encourage everyone to participate in a SACSCOC Roadshow event later this month—including two sessions on Wednesday, January 18 at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the UTC Library’s Southern Writers Room (Room 440).  This is one of the most critical campus-wide initiatives we will undertake and we need everyone engaged.

During undergraduate commencement ceremonies last month, it was my honor to present the first Chancellor’s Medal of Excellence to Dr. Michelle Deardorff, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Government and Department Head of Political Science and Public Service in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Professor Deardorff has not only invested enormously in her role as a faculty member, researcher, mentor, and department head, but she has gone far and beyond the call of duty and touched our campus with intentional impact exactly when and where we needed it.  Congratulations to Dr. Deardorff!!

In case you missed it during the holiday break, UTC and Hamilton County Schools signed a Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to the creation of University High, a new initiative that will be headquartered on our campus.  Debuting in the fall, an initial cohort of 50 high school juniors will enroll in college-level courses taught by UTC faculty and directly supported by high school courses taught by Hamilton County School teachers.  The courses will prepare students for future UTC classes while meeting high school graduation requirements.

The first class of our new Bachelor of Applied Science: Information Technology in Cybersecurity degree program begins next week.  The BAS-ITCyS program will prepare students to assess the security needs of computer and network systems, recommend safeguard solutions, and manage the implementation, auditing, and maintenance of security devices, systems, and procedures.

A recent degree program continues to grow.  Tomorrow (January 6), we will host a Bachelor of Applied Science: Applied Leadership articulation agreement signing ceremony with Chattanooga State Community College.  The agreement lays out a clear path for Chatt State students who have completed their Associate of Applied Science in Business to transfer to UTC to pursue a BAS-AL degree.  We are thrilled to partner with Chatt State in providing this pathway.

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Thompson in the Department of History and Will Watson, workforce development specialist for the Center for Professional Education, on being named to the All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team.  Mike and Will were selected for their shared characteristics of dedicated service to our students and contributions to campus life and the local community.  What a tremendous honor for both!

The Mocs men’s basketball team will be playing on national TV next Saturday, January 14, when they travel to Samford for a 6 p.m. ET tipoff on ESPNU.  Go Mocs!

During the holiday break, UTC lost a great friend in Sonia Young, who many of you knew as “The Purple Lady.”  Sonia was immediately recognizable because she loved the color purple.  She was a longtime supporter of the University—as an alumna; as an adjunct faculty member for 34 years, teaching theatre and speech; and in her work as a journalist.  She was equally known as an advocate supporting the arts, animals and children.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Young family.

The University will be closed Monday, January 16, for the Martin Luther King Day holiday.  UTC will participate in MLK Day of Service events that day with the City of Chattanooga; details are coming soon.  UTC will host its 10th annual MLK Day celebration on January 24 when noted author and educator Angela Davis comes to campus.  You can register here for the event.


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