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For the fourth year in a row, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will recommend zero tuition increases as part of a $1.92 billion budget approved by the the Campus Advisory Board at its meeting Friday, May 12. The budget will go before the UT System Board of Trustees next month for final approval.

“There never has been a better time to be a Volunteer,” Chancellor Donde Plowman told the board. “With record enrollment, student success, our research proposals, awards, expenditures, alumni support, along with incredible support from our donors and friends as well as the state, UT is truly a university on the rise. People across Tennessee and beyond are recognizing the great work happening here.”

Plowman presented a campus update that highlighted the university’s two new degree-granting colleges and a new school, a public-private partnership to build three new residence halls on campus, a roundup of faculty and student awards, and the success of the university’s new research strategy.

Under the leadership of Vice Chancellor for Research Deb Crawford, the university has begun focusing on large interdisciplinary research proposals. It’s a strategy that is paying off: UT has already surpassed last year’s records for proposals submitted at $1.03 billion and awards received at $363 million.

Not included in those numbers is a National Science Foundation award announced Thursday to lead a statewide coalition of public and private entities that will strengthen Tennessee’s innovation economy and secure its place in leading the future of mobility and the transportation industry, Crawford told the board. The grant is a $1 million development award that will help the coalition compete for $160 million in funding to carry out the vision.

In addition to leading this coalition, UT is part of two additional NSF coalitions announced on Thursday.

The board heard from Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Danny White, who discussed the department’s strategic priorities and shared his gratitude for Vol Nation, noting the importance of the university’s fan base.

“We are unique in that we have the best fan base not only in college sports but in sports,” said White.

Marianne Wanamaker, director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and soon-to-be dean of the Baker School for Public Policy and Public Affairs, shared the strategic vision of the new school and goals for the Institute of American Civics.

“We are enhancing civic knowledge. We are trying to help people understand the fundamental democratic principles of this country and what it means to be a citizen,” said Wanamaker. “We are also charged with building civic skills — that includes listening to other points of view, to accommodate other points of view and seek common ground.”

Plowman recognized outgoing board member and Student Government President Jordan Brown, who is graduating.

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

About the Board

The board was created in 2018 when the Tennessee General Assembly passed the UT FOCUS Act, restructuring the UT 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 UT Board of Trustees on strategic planning, operating budgets and tuition, as well as advising the chancellor.

Public members of the advisory board are Allen Carter of Niota, Alexia Poe of Nashville, Tomi Robb of Knoxville, Tom Smith of Nashville, and John Tickle of Bristol.

The Faculty Senate appointed Joan MacLeod Heminway, Rick Rose Distinguished Professor of Law, to serve as the faculty appointee to the board.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Cindi King (865-974-0937,