Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE–University of Tennessee President J. Wade Gilley will propose a $150 million Tennessee Plan for academic excellence during his inaugural address Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Tennessee Plan, one of three initiatives proposed by Gilley to raise the quality of the state university, would help create seven new major academic centers of excellence, attract more National Merit Scholars and graduate students, and provide equipment allocations for faculty seeking competitive research grants.

“We are a university that must be prepared to provide leadership in the new science-driven, knowledge-based, and information technology facilitated economy,” Gilley says.

The plan, as proposed by Gilley, would be funded by $30 million from administrative savings; $30 million in special allocations; $60 million from a five-year, special university wide fund-raising campaign; and $30 million from a one-time state appropriation.

“The support of the state of Tennessee in this incentive-based fund will be the critical test of the state’s commitment to having a top 10 public research university,” Gilley says.

He also will announce the formation of the Committee on the Future of the University of Tennessee, chaired by Dr. Douglas Olesen, chief executive office of Battelle Memorial Institute. The 17-member group will “recommend eight to 10 strategic directions for the University of Tennessee in the 21st Century,” Gilley said.

Another committee, headed by UT-Memphis Chancellor Bill Rice, will address reducing administrative expenses of the university by ten percent. Savings would be applied to instruction, research and fellowships.

“As a leader of society, the university must be a good steward of the financial and human resources entrusted to it,” Gilley says. “That stewardship is essential to sustaining public confidence and the confidence of students, parents, taxpayers and contributors, all of whom are the investors in the institution.”

The new president also will outline “standards of excellence” by which the university is to be measured over the next 10 years.

These include improved graduation rates; faculty and staff salaries comparable to those of national peer institutions; doubling of federal research and development grants to $150 million per year; increased number of faculty who are members of national academies; tuition levels approximating those of national peers; and committing at least 3 percent of the university’s annual budget to information technology.