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In the recent employee engagement survey, you indicated a desire for more communication, especially from the senior leadership team. We’re listening to you! This is the first issue of a brief newsletter I’ll send every other month to share with you topics of concern and happenings on our campus.

What did the Employee Engagement Survey tell us?

Pride. Job satisfaction. Benefits. Connection to mission. Diversity and inclusion. Compensation. Communication. These are some key words for UTC.

Many of you have expressed interest in how the results from the recent 2011 UT Employee Engagement Survey compare with those from the three surveys the Center for Applied Social Research administered for the Strategic Plan to faculty, staff, and administrators in 2008.

The UT and UTC surveys really can’t be compared in any statistically valid way: the response rates, population proportions, individual questions, and item response options were quite different. However, major areas of strength and opportunities for improvement are revealed across the studies/years. As shown in the report card below, UTC continues to be strong in seven areas while needing continued focus in five.


Provost search update

As chief academic officer, the provost leads the academic enterprise on any campus.  A chancellor depends on a strong provost in many ways. The voice of the faculty on the leadership team, the point person for deans, and the spirit of the faculty—all of these roles suffer when a campus loses a good provost. Phil Oldham was certainly a good provost. This campus has moved the needle on freshman retention, graduation rates, admission standards and other measures of student quality. At the same time, enrollment has grown, and UT Chattanooga has become a destination campus. The programs championed by Provost Oldham are serving our campus well, and I have no doubt that we will continue to pursue them with the same conviction and determination.

We are fortunate that Dr. Mary Tanner has agreed to serve as interim provost.  Her experience, wisdom, and partnerships with the community will serve us well as she takes the helm of our academic affairs. UT President Joseph DiPietro feels strongly that a new chancellor should have input into the selection of a new provost. With that idea in mind, I anticipate that President DiPietro will name a chancellor search committee soon with the hope of having a new chancellor in place in spring 2013. A provost search for this campus likely will begin during the fall semester, with the thought being that final provost candidates could be identified soon after a new chancellor is selected.

An update on our libraries—new and old

Have you seen the new library recently?  While it looks immense now in its concrete structural shape, the building will fit into its site more comfortably once brick covers the walls.  At $48 million, the new library will become the academic center of the campus. With its café, auditorium, plaza, and other amenities, it may even become the social center!

The campus has needed this building for a long time.  Technology has changed since the Lupton Library was built in 1974, and all of us rely on electronic databases and online access to resources. When the Lupton Library was planned in 1969, our enrollment was 3741. In fall 2011, it was 11,438—more than triple. In 1969  we had 32 undergraduate  and seven graduate programs; today we offer 49 undergraduate, 20 master’s, one specialist, and four doctoral programs.

So what will happen to the current library? The Lupton Library will remain an academic building, but to determine what departments and offices reside there, Facilities Planning and Management will request proposals for discussion. We should know the outcomes by the end of 2012.

Did you know?

UTC is one of the fastest growing campuses in the state. In the past 10 years, applications for first time college freshmen have increased from 2686 to 6703. That’s a remarkable149 percent increase.

Note:  Prior to 2004, only "finalized" admissions were included. Since then the number has also included students provisionally admitted so that data may be consistent with other TN institutions.

During the same time, our total enrollment has jumped from 8,524 in fall 2002 to 11,438 in fall 2011, an increase of 34 percent in just 10 years! This puts us well on our way to our goal of 15,000 over the next several years.