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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Advances in academics, research and student achievement highlight a University of Tennessee report prepared for its board of trustees.

UT’s annual Report on Performance says entering students are better prepared than a decade ago. Since 1987, high school grade point averages and entering test scores at UT’s Chattanooga, Knoxville and Martin campuses have risen.

The board will receive the performance report at its annual meeting here June 18.

Graduation rates at the three UT campuses are up — with UT-Knoxville highest among Tennessee’s six public universities. From 1991-97, the Knoxville rate rose from 57.8 percent to 59.1.

The report says 27 university programs are ranked in the top 50 of their disciplines by various agencies and media outlets. UT-Knoxville’s textiles program and the transportation and logistics program were each ranked best in the nation.

UT students have been successful in passing licensure exams.

UT-Memphis students led the nation in passing the pharmacy national exam, the report says.

At UT-Martin, 100 percent of the students taking the nursing licensing exam since 1995 passed. The nursing passage rate at Knoxville and Chattanooga was above 90 percent.

UT-Knoxville students also scored well on the law and engineering exams.

All 130 academic programs at Chattanooga, Knoxville and Martin are accredited.

Other highlights in the report:

— Research funding grew from $159.4 million in fiscal year 1996 to $165.1 in FY 97.

— Since 1988 UT’s statewide enrollment has increased 8 percent, while the number of employees has dropped nearly 4 percent.

— UT’s Center for Industrial Services helped state businesses cut $238 million in costs since 1995.

— Funding for four-year merit scholarships has increased 109 percent at UT-Chattanooga, 163 percent at Knoxville and 113 percent at Martin since 1992.

— The 21st Century Campaign, announced in 1993 with a goal of $250 million, has passed the $400 million mark. —