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Chancellor’s Update

Fall is in the air!  The leaves are changing colors, and the morning chill is refreshing.  The campus looks stunning thanks to our incredible grounds crew.  It is such a pleasure to walk across campus and enjoy the change of season.  Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here.

Leveraging Our Special Place as Chattanooga’s University 

Next Monday (Oct. 23), we will be officially announcing an $8 million naming gift for the new Health Sciences Building, which will be home to the UTC School of Nursing.  The new building will allow us to expand the size of our nursing program to address the shortage of nurses in our region.  This is an exciting moment for our entire campus, and we are incredibly thankful for the generosity of the Kennedy Foundation and the Kennedy family.

If you haven’t already visited the new UTC Divine Nine Heritage Park plaza, please check it out!  The park, located at the on-campus intersection of Vine Street and Terrell Owens Way (adjacent to the University Center), will serve as a lasting tribute to the visionary men and women of the National Panhellenic Council fraternities and sororities who brought something extraordinary to this campus over 50 years ago.  We are honored to pay tribute to the legacy of these trailblazers and game-changers.

We had a fantastic and enthusiastic turnout for our recent Power C Tour event in Memphis.  We expect similar crowds on our upcoming visits to Nashville (Oct. 24) and Knoxville (Oct. 30).  If you know high school seniors in the Nashville/Franklin metropolitan area or Knoxville, please let them know we are on the way to visit.  These excellent showcase events give prospective students and their families an introduction to the campus and a feel for the people of UTC.

A $1.4-million grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration has been awarded to the School of Nursing to prepare undergraduate students to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations.  Congratulations to Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator Brooke Epperson on receiving this grant funding to support the UTC undergraduate BSN program.

Creating the Mocs Experience

As we learned at last week’s Access and Engagement open forum, UTC and our fellow UT System campuses have been tasked with reimagining our strategies and structures supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.  Students graduating from UTC will enter a diverse world, and we must prepare them to be responsible, caring citizens.  Opportunities that encourage our students to move beyond their comfort zone, expand their view of the world, and attempt to see the world through someone else’s eyes prepare them for life in our society.  We are committed to access, diversity and inclusion, and your insights will be invaluable to charting our path forward.

Take Back the Night Chattanooga is a campus event making a clear statement against gender-based violence—specifically violence against women.  This year’s event will occur on Wednesday, Oct. 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Chamberlain Field.  We must all take a strong stand against gender-based violence, and I encourage you to participate and think about ways you can help in this effort.

One of the highlights of the fall is the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen.  A big round of applause to seniors Tred Hill (graphic design/Memphis) and Dominique Harris (exercise science/Jackson, TN) on being selected by their fellow students for the prestigious honor.

Students, the 2023 Study Abroad Fair takes place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, in the University Center.  Study abroad opportunities offer a range of benefits that can enrich your academic, personal and professional development—it can change your life.  You can read about some recent summer study abroad experiences in the UTC Cadiz International Research Program and the UTC Vietnam Business Research Internship Program.

Operating with Excellence

Starting next week, UTC will hold a series of open forum campus budget conversations as part of Fiscal Year 2025 budget planning.  These budget information sessions are intended to encourage conversations and transparency about our budget, where we get our funding, and how we spend it.  We look forward to your attendance and value your input.

Congratulations to seniors Anna Shrum (business management and human resource management/Nashville), Anna Jones (HR management/Stevenson, AL), Brooke Kesley (HR management/Ooltewah, TN) and Alexandra Sass (management and HR management/Nashville) on winning the Tennessee Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Student Case Competition.

Anna Shrum (business management and human resource management/Nashville) and senior Emma Sprayberry (Spanish and international studies/Innovations in Honors/Rossville, GA) were the recipients of Public Service Awards from the UTC Alumni Board of Directors and the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.  Anna and Emma were honored for their distinguished service to UTC and the Chattanooga community. 

A big “Go Mocs” to softball outfielder Olivia Lipari (junior/biology/Oviedo, FL) on being selected vice chair of the Southern Conference Student-Advisory Committee.  The SAAC is a committee comprised of student-athletes providing input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives.

Congratulations to Mocs volleyball coach Julie Torbett on recording her 500th career head coaching victory.  What a terrific achievement!

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation

Congratulations to Dr. Mina Sartipi and the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP) team on being awarded a $1.1-million grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Exploratory Advance Research program for the proposal titled “Advanced Artificial Intelligence Research for Equitable Safety of Vulnerable Road Users.”  The funded technology, in collaboration with the University of Arizona and the University of San Francisco, will develop and test a system designed to detect, classify and track vulnerable road users–bicyclists, scooters, pedestrians and any others not inside a vehicle—at intersections with high accuracy while also accounting for resiliency against sensor failure and weather conditions.

The Rocket Mocs are reaching new heights again!  For the fifth straight year, a team of UTC mechanical engineering students led by UC Foundation Associate Professor Trevor Elliott has been accepted into a NASA-sponsored national rocket competition.  The team members are Rett Stockman (team lead), Canyon Blaylock (assistant team lead/safety officer/verification officer), Sam Mossbeck (STEM engagement lead/payload), Connor Mackey (budget lead/payload lead), Isaiah Schmelzer (recovery lead), Joshua Tang (structural lead), Jared Fiveash (propulsion lead) and Adrianne Glover (payload ejection lead).  Go Rocket Mocs!


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