WWelcome to the spring 2021 issue of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Magazine. We are now more than one year into the biggest challenge UTC has ever faced, the COVID global pandemic. Initially, we grappled with how to teach in a classroom during a pandemic. This quickly became, can we bring our entire curriculum online in one week? One week! Working together, we did exactly that.
COVID taught UTC to believe in itself as a team, to believe in this university. To believe in each other. COVID taught us that working with synergy students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters could solve even the most difficult of problems. Together, we did it. Graduation and retention rates are up. Contract and grant awards are up. Enrollment is up. We did not just stay afloat, we excelled. We are emerging from this pandemic stronger and more confident, ready to take on whatever comes our way.
The theme of this issue is innovation and research. You will find stories on research that run from why some species of fish eat their young, and why that matters, to what makes some people skeptical of public health vaccines. In the cover story, you will read about what I expect to become one of the most transformational innovations ever implemented at UTC, Cohort 2025. The name comes from the anticipated graduation year, 2025, for new freshmen admitted to UTC for fall semester 2021. Cohort 2025 will engage every incoming freshman assigned in a small group, a cohort, of fellow students with similar academic majors, extracurricular interests or other shared pursuits and interests from the start of fall semester.
Based on initial data from our pilot programs, we anticipate Cohort 2025 will enhance student retention, graduation and overall academic performance. Implementation of this initiative has required extensive planning and coordination across the entire campus. Cohort 2025 is the brainchild of Vice Chancellor Yancy Freeman and his talented team in the division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and it has been adopted and embraced by every unit on campus.
As you read the stories, you will see UTC not only met the challenges of COVID-19, we have continued to innovate and move our campus forward. I am proud of our students, faculty, staff and alumni for their individual grit, determination, creativity and partnership. UTC truly became an integrated team with a focus on protecting the health and safety of our campus community while we maintain educational excellence. I am honored to be a part of this great institution, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Together we are UTC.
What a great time to be a Moc. Go Mocs!!
Steven R. Angle