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Chancellor’s Update

As I shared during the State of the University, it’s an exciting time to be a Moc!  One announcement was that moving forward, we will center our communications about the work of the university around four core areas:

  • Creating the MOCS experience where students, faculty, and staff are positioned for success and thrive.
  • Leveraging our special place as Chattanooga’s University and our central role in workforce and economic development in this region and beyond.
  • Cultivating a culture of innovation where we lead the transformational change happening in higher education and in our state, nation and world.
  • Operating with excellence, from exceptional teaching, research, and service, to achieving student success, to the way our campus looks and feels.

As I look at these core areas, Mocs are leading in every way! Below highlights just a few of those examples:

Creating the MOCS Experience

Three UTC seniors pursuing healthcare careers, psychology major Destini Givens (Ooltewah, TN) and nursing majors Emmanuella Ingabire (Nashville) and Kendrick Cox (Cleveland, TN), were among six statewide recipients of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation BlueCross Power of We Scholarships.  Each student received a $10,000 gift toward tuition and a computer.  What a tremendous accomplishment!

Congratulations to UTC undergraduates Breanna Evans (senior/exercise science and psychology/Smyrna, TN), Jack Henley (sophomore/psychology/Brock Scholar/Nashville), Gillian Morton (sophomore/ pre-health professional exercise and health science/Brock Scholar/Nashville), Jude Suliman (senior/biochemistry/Innovations in Honors/Fuheis, Jordan) and KeyAirra Sutton (junior/pre-professional biology/Chattanooga).  These students are participating in the HBCU Wellness Project, which trains student health ambassadors and exposes them to service learning, working with local health and social service agencies to serve as community change agents in rural and underserved communities.

A big Mocs welcome to Dr. Delight Yokley, our first assistant provost for Student Success, who arrived on campus this week.  Dr. Yokley comes to UTC to direct “A Moc’s First Year,” the Quality Enhancement Plan proposed in the spring for our SACSCOC reaffirmation.  This new program aims to increase first-time, full-time freshman students’ retention and graduation rates.

Mark your calendars for the fourth annual Mocs Give Day on Tuesday, Oct. 3.  The Division of Advancement is hoping to raise $1 million through 1,500 donor gifts in 24 hours to support the people and programs that make UTC unique.  A gift of any size to anywhere on campus helps to reach those goals.  There will be 14 matching gift opportunities and donor challenges throughout the day, meaning your gift can make even more of an impact.

Hispanic Heritage Month continues through Oct. 15, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs has several more festivities planned as part of “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One.”  Please visit the Hispanic Heritage Month page for event details.

Stay tuned for announcements about Homecoming Week 2023.  “UTC and Beyond” takes place Sept. 30-Oct. 7 with a week’s worth of events and activities.

Leveraging Our Special Place as Chattanooga’s University

Community involvement plays a significant role in the UTC experience, and I am so proud of campus efforts to enhance the Chattanooga community.  Tomorrow (Sept. 22), students from all over UTC are participating in the United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s Day of Caring community service initiative, traveling to either Brown Middle School, Hixson Middle School or the Chattanooga Zoo for beautification efforts such as painting, cleanup and moving debris.

Over the weekend of Sept. 9 and Sept. 10, more than 75 students, staff and faculty volunteered at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic, a pop-up clinic delivering free dental, vision and medical care to those in need.  UTC volunteers came from the Social Work, Music Therapy, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Master of Public Health and Nurse Practitioner programs and the UTC RAM Chapter student organization.

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation

We held our first AI open forum on Tuesday and attendance was very strong.  The group was very engaged and brought a lot of ideas.  We have a second forum scheduled in a virtual format next Friday, Sept. 29; please click here for the Zoom meeting link.  Our faculty and staff will be the driving force in how we position ourselves at the forefront of these changes that are coming our way.  Please participate and share your ideas.

I look forward to participating in next week’s UT visit to Wolfsburg, Germany, with a goal of enhancing our partnership with Volkswagen.  Our group, which includes UTC Research Institute Executive Director Mina Sartipi, UT System President Randy Boyd and UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman, will be touring multiple facilities and innovation spaces and meeting with VW groups and university partners.

Operating with Excellence

These are exciting times for our recruiting and admissions teams with the official reporting of this fall’s freshman class being the largest in UTC history.  The incoming first-time, full-time freshman class of 2,359 represented a 5.8% increase from last fall.  The University also saw a 12.9% increase in new graduate students and a 4.7% increase in new transfers.

Congratulations and best of luck to senior Mateo Jimenez (political science/East Ridge, TN), a finalist in the Emerging Latino Leader category for La Paz Chattanooga’s 2023 Latino Leadership Awards.  The awards ceremony is being held tonight (Sept. 21).  Mateo has spent the last year as an American Connection Corps/Regional Connectivity Fellow for Lead For America—a national nonprofit organization that trains college students to serve as full-time local government or nonprofit employees in their home communities.

Kudos to Master of Public Administration student Shelby Glover on winning the Tennessee City Management Association’s Master of Public Administration Scholarship.  Shelby, who received her bachelor’s degree in political science from UTC in 2018, is the City of Chattanooga’s Grants Coordinator; she returned to UTC in the fall of 2021 to pursue her MPA degree.

Congratulations to Allie English (senior/communication and environmental science/Munford, TN) and Eli Rushing (senior/communication/Sparta, TN) on winning 2023 Excellence in Broadcasting Awards from the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters.  English was recognized for her short documentary “Raising Wolves,” and Rushing was honored for his audio version of “Heather’s Story.”

Thank you for all you do and Go Mocs!


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