Skip to main content

Runtime: 2:25

[ANNOUNCER] The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees focused its attention on budget concerns and goals for enhancing efficiency during its fall meeting held Thursday and Friday in Knoxville. Reductions in state funding have affected all UT campuses. University President John Petersen addressed the board about the state budget challenges that resulted in a $38-million cut across the UT system this fiscal year, stressing the need to preserve the university’s core missions of education, research and public service.

[PETERSEN] Really, our responsibility to the people of Tennessee and the sons and daughters of those people who are attending our institutions is to deliver an education with the quality that will prepare those young people to be leaders in Tennessee and leaders in life.

[ANNOUNCER] Petersen also gave a progress report on the UT System Scorecard, an annual report that monitors progress toward strategic goals of student access, success, research, economic development, and outreach and globalization. Also at the board meeting, trustees approved President Petersen’s motion to appoint a new chancellor for the Knoxville campus.

[PETERSEN] It’s my pleasure to move to have appointed Dr. Jimmy G. Cheek from the University of Florida as the next chancellor of the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee.

[ANNOUNCER] Cheek is the senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at Florida’s Gainesville campus. At a news conference following the meeting, Petersen said Cheek is the best person for the job, but all of the finalists were great, which made for a difficult decision.

[PETERSEN] The tough part of it is, when we got down to even the last five, we had excellent people, any of which I’d have been willing to take. It’s a shame, because what you’d like to do is take them all and then dole them out and put them in different positions, but that’s not the way you do operations.

[ANNOUNCER] In other action, the board approved the transition of the Audiology and Speech Pathology program from UT Knoxville to the UT Health Science Center in Memphis, and named buildings in honor of former trustee Jim Haslam, his wife Natalie Haslam, and the founder of the Body Farm, Dr. Bill Bass. The next board meeting is set for February 27th in Memphis. Charles Primm reporting.