Welcome back! A new academic year is underway, one I know will be filled with exciting and invigorating changes and challenges. Although the campus seems to take a deep breath over the summer, gearing up for the fall, much has taken place at UTC in recent months as we continue our drive to excellence.
One element of that drive is to maintain our ongoing belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to UTC’s vision to engage students, inspire change, and enrich community. As a university community, we must embrace a variety of ideas and opinions, some of which could be troublesome and offensive. The key is to discuss these opinions openly and without rancor. In this way we can ensure that UTC remains a great institution, one that welcomes new and different ideas and respects everyone’s place in this diverse world. There is no room for hatred and prejudice. On Oct. 17, we are hosting “Moving Our Campus Forward: An Inclusive Excellence Conference,” which will examine many factors that influence diversity and inclusion and their importance on campus. I encourage faculty, students and staff to attend.
In other news, major construction projects continue. The new West Campus Housing is on schedule to open in Fall 2018. Holt Hall’s renovation also is on track, with work on the west wing to finish in Spring 2018 and east wing work to begin in Summer 2018, with completion the following spring. The massive project to update and renovate Lupton is set to start next summer and be ready for opening in Spring 2020.
The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees Executive and Compensation Committee, acting on behalf of the Board, recently approved a new group of peer universities for UTC. The new list can be found at http://bit.ly/2xyiXzO.
Our fall enrollment numbers are closing in on a UTC record. We will have the final numbers on Tuesday.
Let us extend a warm welcome to our 54 new faculty members. You can see and learn more at https://www.utc.edu/academic-affairs/new-faculty.
The new businesses in the University Center’s food court—the P.O.D. convenience store, Panda Express and Steak ’n Shake—are open for business. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 10:30 a.m. Please join us!
Our football season has kicked into high gear. We travel to Baton Rouge to take on Southeastern Conference powerhouse LSU on Sept. 9. The game will be telecast on the SEC Network. Women’s soccer and women’s volleyball are just revving up their seasons, and our cross-country teams face their first challenge this Saturday. Go Mocs!
Founder’s Week cranks up on Monday, Sept. 11, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 17, offering events every day. With basketball, football toss and refreshments, the Mocs Games Monday give faculty and staff a chance to have some fun. The next day, we recognize faculty and staff at our Service Awards luncheon. The State of the University address is set for Friday, Sept. 15, beginning at noon at the new West Campus Housing. The entire campus community is invited to attend.