At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, we are on the move.
With our focus on student success, we are seeing improvements in graduation and retention and working to make UTC the model for all comprehensive regional universities. These achievements result from the combined work of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners.
As we approach the end of our academic year, it is an appropriate time to review how our achievements and aspirations align with our mission, vision and values.
Our Strategic Plan defines our path forward with this Mission:
“The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a driving force for achieving excellence by actively engaging students, faculty and staff; embracing diversity and inclusion; inspiring positive change; and enriching and sustaining our community.”
Our vision is to “Engage Students, Inspire Change and Enrich Community.”
Our values are our core guideposts:
- Students are the primary reason we exist as an institution.
- We live integrity, civility and honesty.
- We relentlessly pursue excellence.
- We embrace diversity and inclusion.
- Creativity, inquiry and scholarship are our culture.
Within these words that comprise our overall strategic objectives, there are other principles like academic freedom that are essential to our educational achievements.
We are currently working with the Faculty Senate to update our Faculty Handbook. During the process, there has been some concern expressed about academic freedom.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga strongly supports academic freedom. Faculty and students are free to express themselves. The University does not, and will not, control nor limit the message or the scholarly or creative agenda. Academic freedom is at the core of what we do, woven into our values, and essential to fulfilling our educational mission. Without it, we are no more than a shell.
Faculty members and students are encouraged to express their opinions, research topics of interest to them and explore a range of scholarly or creative pursuits. UTC does not hinder these endeavors. Updates to our Faculty Handbook that have been in discussion for several years will reinforce our commitment to academic freedom.
Additionally, we strive for an inclusive campus environment that recognizes the broad diversity of race, religion, sexuality, gender identity, and political ideology. The free and unfettered expression of ideas is as important to UTC as the classroom curriculum. This principle is integral to the learning process and to opening all of our minds to be challenged by new possibilities.
Recently, there has been considerable discussion about our NPR radio station, WUTC-FM, and its editorial independence. We are working with WUTC to review and update as necessary its set of editorial standards and to formalize a statement on its editorial independence. Both are important as we reinforce our ongoing commitment for the radio station to freely conduct its business and programming.
In the next few weeks, we will see new graduates, who have completed their academic degree at UTC, preparing to enter the work force or continue their education. The lessons they have learned and the education they have received are the hallmarks of UTC’s commitment to student success.
Thank you for all you do.