Can you believe Thanksgiving is coming up next week? Where has the semester gone? I would like to wish our students, faculty, and staff a very Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for all you do for UTC. Together with our alumni and community partners, every one of you defines UTC. Collectively, we impact the lives of our current students, future generations of scholars, and the communities we serve. I hope everyone has the opportunity to enjoy several fun-filled days with family and friends during the Thanksgiving break. When we return to campus on Monday, December 2, the end of the fall semester is only days away. Happy Thanksgiving!
UTC’s Center for Global Education continues International Education Week festivities through Saturday, November 23, providing our students, faculty, and staff with an excellent opportunity to experience cross-cultural learning. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, and UTC and other schools across the country celebrate the diverse cultures of international students and the benefits of studying abroad. For a full list of activities, please visit https://www.utc.edu/international-students/get_involved/events/index.php#IEW.
One important measure of the quality of our programs is the accomplishments of our students after graduation. Colleen Ryan, a 2015 alumna of our School of Education and a former Chancellor’s Ambassador, was selected as the 2019 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year by Toyota and the National Center for Families Learning. Colleen and another UTC School of Education graduate, Brittany Harris, purchased a school bus and transformed it into a classroom for the community, coined “The Passage.” Colleen, a kindergarten teacher at Rivermont Elementary School in Chattanooga, received a $20,000 grant to continue her mobile classroom family literacy efforts.
A second UTC School of Education graduate, Dr. LeAndrea Ware, executive principal at The Howard School in Chattanooga, was recently named the Tennessee Principal of the Year. Dr. Ware will be the commencement speaker for our undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 14, 2019. What tremendous honors for our alumni and the faculty and staff in our School of Education program! Congratulations!
The Safe Zone Program inspires a supportive environment for members of the LGBTQQIA campus community by providing education, resources, and advocacy regarding gender and sexual diversities. Safe Zone Aspiring Ally training sessions, which help participants learn to create a supportive environment for LGBTQ+ members by providing education, resources, and advocacy, are scheduled for Thursday, November 21, and Monday, December 16. You can find additional information about the Safe Zone at https://www.utc.edu/dean-students/safezone/index.php.
Our annual Holiday Open House for faculty, staff, and community partners will take place from 3 PM to 5 PM on Tuesday, December 3, in the Tennessee Room at the University Center. This fun-filled event features holiday music, seasonal refreshments, and an ugly holiday sweater contest. I hope you will be able to drop by as we thank every one of you for the fantastic work you do for our university and our students.