The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees approved new academic units for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Friday that include converting the School of Music to a stand-alone college of music, transforming the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy into a school of public policy and public affairs, and establishing the College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies.
The board also reviewed and discussed the Knoxville campus master plan and heard an update on the Institute of American Civics.
“This is a time of incredible momentum at UT Knoxville, and the strategic decisions we are making today around our academic structures, campus master plan and other initiatives will have a big impact on our future,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “I am grateful to the board for their support and guidance as we continue to move the state’s flagship land-grant university forward.”
Three New Academic Units to Support Student Success, Access and Careers
During Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick’s presentation to the board, he said the new academic units support state higher education goals for student success, access to higher education and workforce development.
“The Baker School will meet the critical need to prepare leaders for public service and address the state’s most pressing challenges,” said Zomchick. “The College of Music will provide career paths for students into the music economy and strengthen cultural and economic development. And the College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies is designed from the ground up to provide innovative interdisciplinary programs to meet workforce needs.”
Each unit will use existing facilities, meaning no new facilities or major renovations are needed, and has strong potential for private funding and public-private partnerships. The proposals will be sent to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. If approved, the new units will begin operations in July.
College of Music
The board approved converting the School of Music, currently in the College of Arts and Sciences, into the College of Music. This independent stand-alone college will be the first college of music at a public university in Tennessee and the first in the SEC.
Goals for the college include:
- Leading development of programs to support the rapidly changing music economy in the state and around the country
- Raising the profile of a dynamic public-facing unit that engages directly with the public, including being the home of the Pride of the Southland Band
- Enhancing opportunities for private development and philanthropy
The campus plans to invest $2 million to launch the college. Tuition and fee revenue is projected to increase from $8.2 million to $9.2 million over five years.
Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs
The board approved transforming the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy to the Howard H. Baker Jr. School of Public Policy and Public Affairs. The school will be the first school of public policy and public affairs at any public university in Tennessee.
The redesign will:
- Address a critical need to prepare future leaders in government, public policy and public service by grounding them in Howard Baker’s style of leadership and pragmatic problem-solving
- Strengthen interdisciplinary research for more durable solutions to the state’s most pressing challenges
- Build on the 20-year achievements of the Baker Center and the legacy of Howard Baker by embodying what he stood for: confidence in America’s democratic institutions and an absolute commitment to the competition of ideas and civic processes
The campus plans to invest $2.1 million to launch the school. Tuition and fee revenue is projected to increase from $280,900 to $2.3 million over five years.
College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies
The board approved establishing the College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies. The unit is both a college and a central office that serves other colleges. The design, centered on collaboration and interdisciplinary education, is unique among UT’s peers.
The new college will:
- Design innovative programs to address emerging workforce needs
- Launch and grow multidisciplinary courses, programs and degrees in emerging areas
- Increase access for students of all ages and backgrounds by providing customizable programs, both face to face and online
The campus plans to invest $2.7 million to launch the college. Tuition and fee revenue is projected to increase from $123,700 to $3.1 million over five years.
Campus Master Plan
The board approved the new Knoxville campus master plan. The plan will serve as a broad guide and vision for the physical transformation of the campus and outlines infrastructure needs and priorities to support the university’s strategic vision.
Key areas driving space needs include the expansion of research activity, growth in the residential student population, and a campus-wide need for space for collaboration, study and recreation as well as STEM instructional labs and maker spaces.
Key strategies for the plan include:
- Creating interdisciplinary learning and research communities supported by shared facilities that catalyze innovation
- Student life clusters that create welcoming, vibrant mixed-use campus settings supporting student success and wellness
- Campus connections that create a cohesive network of landscapes and gateways to strengthen connectivity between campus hubs, the river and downtown Knoxville
Update on the Institute of American Civics
The board received an update on the Institute of American Civics from Marianne Wanamaker, executive director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, on the first year of activity at the institute, which is housed within the Baker Center and works to strengthen civic engagement and combat political polarization in the state and nation.
“The mission of the institute is to serve not just our students but every Tennessee citizen. We will define success not just by how many Baker students we serve but also by how many UT students of all majors, and Tennesseans more generally, are impacted by our work,” Wanamaker said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us, and I want to thank Gov. Bill Lee, the Tennessee General Assembly, President Boyd and Chancellor Plowman for allowing us to be a part of this effort.”
The legislated mission of the institute is to provide a comprehensive civic education for university undergraduates and the state at large that includes America’s founding principles, the economic and political institutions that maintain American democracy, and the basics of civic engagement.
All Board of Trustees meetings are archived, with meeting materials available online.
Tyra Haag (865-974-5460, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cindi King (865-974-0937, email@example.com)