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Vol Vision/Top 25

Since embarking on its journey to become a Top 25 public research university, UT Knoxville has made some good progress in its five priority areas—undergraduate education, graduate education, research, faculty and staff, and financial resources and infrastructure.

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek on Thursday provided the UT Board of Trustees with an update on the Top 25 initiative. Among the gains that have been made in the past year:

• The freshman-to-sophomore retention rate has increased by 2 percentage points. It’s now at 86 percent.

• The six-year graduation rate has increased by 1 percentage point, to 61 percent.

• Federal research expenditures have increased by $39 million and total research expenditures by $32 million.

• The gap has narrowed slightly between UT Knoxville and its Top 25 peers in the average salaries of tenure-line faculty.

• There has been an increase in the amount UT Knoxville spends per student on teaching and support, as well as on the value of the campus’s endowment per student.

In addition, Cheek explained that many efforts have been undertaken to lay the groundwork for even bigger gains in the future. Among those, UT Knoxville has:

• Used the additional tuition money appropriated by the Board of Trustees last year to add faculty, advisers, tutors, and graduate student teaching assistants.

• Hired three more Governor’s Chairs, bringing our total to nine.

• Recruited high-quality graduate students and faculty for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE).

• Increased faculty diversity hires.

• Established a partnership with Y-12 National Security Complex.

• Expanded research support services.

• Tightened the drop policy, limiting students to dropping only four classes during the late-drop period in the course of their undergraduate careers.

Teams have spent the last year reviewing each of the priority areas to determine what we need to do to continue making progress toward our Top 25 goal. Those individual reports have now been merged into a single action plan outlining 64 major efforts we need to undertake, and many of these efforts are already under way.

To view the presentation Cheek provided to the Board of Trustees and to find all of the latest updates, see the new Vol Vision/Top 25 website, http://www.utk.edu/volvision-top25/. Cheek’s presentation can be found here.