Lighting a fire under the UT System will ignite the “Greatest Decade in the History of the University of Tennessee”over the next 10 years, UT System Interim President Randy Boyd said.
“I’m excited about all the things that we’re working on, all of the accomplishments, all the things we’ve got planned for the future. I’m confident that if we all work together as one team across the system—recognizing that each campus is different, but I think those differences make us stronger when we work together—we can accomplish some great things,” he said, speaking Wednesday afternoon at a town hall meeting in the UTC University Center.
In his comments, he listed key goals for the upcoming decade:
- Be more accessible. “We need to make more students more successful once they get here.” One way to do that, he said, is the UT Promise program, which pays for college for anyone whose family earns less than $50,000 a year and who scores at least 21 on the ACT, 1060 on the SAT or has an overall minimum 3.0 GPA. The expectation was that 2,000 people would sign up for the program, but more than 7,100 have, although not all will qualify, Boyd said.
- Recruit more mentors to help support students through good times and bad during their college career. “I know everybody’s busy, but you can find time to make a difference in somebody’s life. We have 510 mentors right now. We need more.” To sign up, go to tennessee.edu/ut-promise
- Continue to build research projects across the system. Requests have been made to state, federal and private organizations for more money for research, he said. “These things will allow us to create world-class research institutions,” Boyd said. “It will be incredibly significant and transformative, not just for the UT system but the state of Tennessee.”
- Become more efficient. A new system-wide efficiency initiative will be launched over the next couple of years, he said.
- Continue to raise the level of engagement of the UT system with the rest of Tennessee. When forging closer relationships between the system, state and local government and other entities, system officials must keep an eye on the bigger picture, he said. “Now this doesn’t sound original: We’re not here to ask you what you can do for us, we’re here to ask what we can do for the state of Tennessee.”