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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Campus Advisory Board met Friday to discuss the new strategic vision, record enrollment, student success initiatives, budget allocation model updates, and COVID-19.

Chancellor Donde Plowman began the meeting by thanking the board for their input on the university’s new strategic vision, which will be presented for approval at the UT Board of Trustees meeting next week. She pointed to the metrics for measuring the university’s success that have been added to the vision since the advisory board met last.

“I’m really proud of the work we did on how we’re going to talk about our progress,” she told the board. “For every single goal, we have what we’re calling ‘transformational progress’ and then operational goals and metrics.”

Plowman also shared aggregate data the Student Health Center recently received from the state about vaccinations among students, faculty, and staff.

“COVID-19 transmission rates are low on campus, and vaccinations are a big part of that,” she said. “We’re also working hard to promote the flu shot. Our nursing students have been helping with this, as have pharmacy students from the Health Science Center.”

Campus community members who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine include 77 percent of faculty, 73 percent of staff, and 64 percent of students.

Record Enrollment, Access, and Student Success

Plowman also discussed the university’s record enrollment and commitment to enable more students across Tennessee to have access to a UT education.

This fall, UT welcomed 25,067 undergraduate students and total enrollment topped more than 31,000 for the first time. New scholarships were announced last month for in-state students, and the number of total Flagship high schools in the state is up to 38.

Vice Provost for Student Success Amber Williams gave a presentation on initiatives to support student achievement. One such effort is the Volunteer Experience, a comprehensive university-wide initiative that will harness the power of students’ strengths to promote their well-being.

“We start with high expectations and challenge our student scholars intellectually with systems to support their growth,” she said.

Williams shared additional updates including successes with Vol Success Teams, Big Orange Welcome, the Vol Study Center, the new Success Academy, and initiatives for first-generation students. She also announced a Veterans Success Institute that will launch in 2022.

Budget Allocation Model

Senior Vice Chancellor Chris Cimino provided an update on the transition to a new budget allocation model, which will optimize the benefits of effective planning and forecasting.

He shared a proposed implementation timeline that provides for a transition into the use of new budget procedures, application of user training materials, and model governance team interaction. The incentive-based model will shift thinking about the budget from having a pool of funding available to spend to forecasting the level of funding needed to achieve the strategic plan. The new model will go live in fiscal year 2023.

Meeting materials and the archived webcast are available on the chancellor’s website.

The board was created in 2018 when the Tennessee General Assembly passed the UT FOCUS Act, restructuring the Board of Trustees and creating an advisory board for each campus in the UT System.

The board is charged with making campus-level recommendations to the Board of Trustees on strategic planning, operating budgets, and tuition, as well as advising the chancellor.

Members of the advisory board are Alexia Poe and Tom Smith of Nashville, John Tickle of Bristol, Tennessee, and Syreeta Vaughn of Knoxville. Beauvais Lyons is serving in his second year of a two-year term as faculty representative on the board. Second-year doctoral student Alexandra Pelligrino is the student representative. The next advisory board meetings will be February 11 and April 29.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,