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Outreach to Community

These groups have been involved to date with the strategic planning initiative. They have responded to questions related to the UTC Vision and potential branding messages. In addition, they provided feedback on student success and community partnerships that is being used in developing the strategic objectives for UTC.

Interview Notes

Chancellor’s Multi-Cultural Advisory Council

Student success:

  • Career focused
  • Good judgment
  • Confidence – degree worth something
  • Connecting with mentors
  • Resources
  • Class size
  • Personal relationship with professors; real life experiences
  • Facilities – tools & resources
  • Employment
  • Graduation
  • Well-educated
  • Global
  • Challenged in classroom
  • Learning how to be leaders
  • Prepared for life

Community connections:

  • Internship structure; tied to job, company pool
  • On campus intern facilitator
  • Volunteer coordinator to tie into community events
  • Facility exchange with local groups
  • Painting city blue & gold
  • Lecture series
  • Events to engage city that bring them here and take the campus to the city
  • Service on boards
  • Marketing outside of the UTC hub

Chancellor’s Round Table Board


  • Graduation
  • Skills and needs of employers
  • Job opportunities
  • Leadership opportunities on campus
  • Community engagement
  • Encouragement to reach high
  • Transition from academia to real world
  • Life long passion for learning
  • Pride in achievement in graduation years later
  • Continued engagement – internships, mentors, boards
  • Seeking input to solve community and business problems; seen as a resource
  • User friendly
  • Front door (website) – more intuitive, too many clicks
  • Good with social media
  • National rankings
  • Research
  • Success stories
  • Successes in job placement
  • Honor student enrollees
  • Cooperation between city and academic departments
  • Athletics – catalyst for interaction


  • Town/university visually connected
  • Engagement with community – not just on campus
  • Partnerships and collaborations
  • Earlier connections with business
  • Seniors mentoring freshmen; faculty help with connections
  • Think tank for community
  • Leading authority on…
  • Telling our story
  • Social media connections
  • Brand UTC as Chattanooga’s university
  • Take advantage of own back yard
  • Sense of ownership – what else does Chattanooga need?
  • Faculty as resource for community
  • Blue ‘n Gold trail

Chamber of Commerce executive committee

  • 20 participants
  • Key Chamber staff and business leaders
  • Used revised vision/mission statement and 3 framing buckets
  • Consistent results with previous groups

Words liked:

  • Creative achievement
  • Success
  • Knowledge
  • Engaged community
  • Inspires
  • Teaching/ academic programs (focus on undergraduate)
  • Solutions

Words less relevant:

  • Metropolitan
  • Critical
  • Scholarly
  • Take advantage of

What they wanted to know or needs more definition:

  • Type of student success
  • Teaching and/or learning
  • Engaging and how you engage

On the 3 buckets, a few added points:

  • Emphasis on business and commerce
  • Learning at work
  • Start with customer service
  • Jobs
  • Show leadership and development
  • Greater faculty engagement in community
  • Shaping learning experiences to fill real world skill gaps
  • Entrepreneurial values and skills
  • Greater visibility
  • Research related to community
  • Engage students in community events, public meetings and civic process

UC Foundation

The UC Foundation trustees participated in the review of the current UC vision statement and potential refinements as well as sharing insights on student success, community connections and customer service. The Foundation also reviewed the potential three major areas of focus for the strategic plan.


Points of general support:

  • Academic focus, particularly on teaching and undergraduate
  • Diversity
  • Partnerships
  • Achievements but mixture of reaction as to classifying them as creative
  • Student success and the focus on its parts
  • Engagement with areas to explore
  • Communities are important but need clarification
  • Concept of preparing an educated work force
  • Defining teaching as classroom and then application outside of the classroom and after graduation
  • Strengthening civic responsibility

Identifying the ways for UTC and students to become engaged in meaningful connections with the community. The discussion was on giving back, sharing leadership and skills through United Way and United Way-based programs.

Chattanooga Entrepreneurial Community

On October 22, 2014, Provost Jerald Ainsworth met with Chattanooga entrepreneurs to explain the strategic planning process.  The goal of the meeting was to obtain feedback from community members regarding the proposed vision: Empower students, Inspire change, Enrich community, and to understand what how the university can address the needs of the entrepreneurial community. 

Chattanooga Entrepreneurs outreach session

The first exercise of the meeting was for each attendee to write down what UTC’s top values are or should be.  Results are below:


  • Quality education
  • Community engagement
  • University spirit
  • Student leadership
  • Innovation/engineering
  • Provide education in an engaged environment
  • Prepare students for the future by staying on top of business/social trends
  • Establish a network that creates a pipeline to provide workers for local jobs
  • Integrate with the downtown community
  • Keep alumni connected to the future
  • Educate students
  • Provide a place for research
  • Meet the changing needs of the marketplace
  • Be a contributing part of the community
  • Sustainability
  • Commitment to innovation in education
  • Passionate about community
  • Integrity and honesty
  • Accomplished students
  • Community leaders
  • Community integration
  • Good stewards
  • Education x 2
  • Research x 3
  • Education access for all
  • Mastery
  • Prosperity for the community
  • Resource for region
  • Life preparation
  • Relationships:
    • Student – student
    • Student – faculty
    • UTC – alumni
    • Faculty – faculty
    • Faculty – administration
    • University – community
    • Education- equip youth/students for productive futures
    • Opportunity
    • Engagement- connect the university to Chattanooga area and businesses
    • Tech savvy
    • Community
    • Diversity
    • Sustainability
    • Academic rigor
    • Career preparation
    • Community engagement
    • Honor
    • Innovation
    • Educate- real education for today
    • Trusted- community can trust what is happening and students can trust they will have marketable skills
    • Fiscal responsibility- steward resources available
    • Superb education
    • Diverse student population
    • Properly prepared workforce
    • Athletic excellence
    • Community engagement
    • Educate
    • Innovate
    • Integrate
    • Elevate
    • Cultivate
    • Academic excellence
    • Integrity
    • Community
    • Innovation
    • Transparency
    • Educating students to be “world ready”
    • Supporting community building efforts
    • Building more robust graduate programs
    • Recruiting great professors from leading institutions
    • Staying engaged with alumni
    • Educate
    • Develop leaders
    • Community improvement
    • City, region, state advancement
    • Excellence in education
    • Renowned destination
    • Public/community resource
    • Regional university of choice
    • Nurturing the next generation of leaders
    • Provide strong liberal arts base for future careers
    • Creating a campus environment that supports learning, living and a unique community space

The values exercise led into a discussion about the proposed five goals and a discussion about what activities the university should undertake to meet these goals.


Goal 1: Transform lives through meaningful learning experiences.

Goal 2: Inspire, nurture and empower scholarship, creativity, discovery, innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Goal 3: Ensure financial stewardship through strategic alignment and investments.

Goal 4: Embrace a commitment to diversity that prepares effective citizens to participate in a global community.

Goal 5: Share and communicate a consistent level of achievement.


  • Create internships where students work side-by-side with entrepreneur for a semester. 
  • Clear a pathway and create incentive for professors to engage with the community.  (One group member discussed a design program faculty member who brought her design class to the library regularly to use the 3D printer.)
  • Create a central coordinating point within the university for community engagement. 
  • Encourage more faculty/staff to connect with the community.
  • Create a UTC database so the community and the university can determine out who does what and people in involved fields (inside and outside of the university) can make connections. 
  • Encourage mentoring of businesses starting rural activities.
  • Create high tech and low tech solutions for communication.
  • Create a low tech way to inform the public about the events that are going on at UTC.
  • Create incentives and recognition for professors who engage in projects.
  • Empower all professors to start their own projects. 
  • Create an idea fund to give students a small pool of money supported by an idea fund.  Students would use the money for creative projects. 
  • Bring the community to UTC, get more of the community on campus. 
  • Let the community use campus spaces that aren’t being used.
  • Create a student contest: have students break into teams, provide each team with $10,000 and require that each team to invest the money to build a product, provide a service. Teams would have to make the money back by the end of the year.
  • Become part of collegiate e-sports.
  • Change the curriculum to address the needs of students who will be employed in a global economy.  People who are coming right out of college are not prepared to do business in different countries.
  • Use the Mapp building to create collision opportunities. Encourage the entrepreneurial community to use some of the space as incubator space. 
  • View UTC as a venture company.  UTC can’t reinvent itself fast enough to be innovative in education, but what if we have an area to experiment with methodology?  Like the Center Centre. 

There was a lengthy discussion about the bureaucracy of the university and how willing UTC is to change and innovate.  The community members expressed a need for university administrators to think outside the box and consider doing new things in innovative, entrepreneurial ways. This led to a discussion of curriculum unbundling, UTC’s bachelor of integrated studies, the at Stanford University and the need for students to have integrative thinking skills and that they need to connect the dots between many different topics and fields because entrepreneurship is inherently cross-disciplinary.  Healthy schools of entrepreneurship sit outside of colleges as well.  The group felt that it would be difficult to convey the spirit of entrepreneurship when the program is under the college of business- because entrepreneurship is much more that business. It was suggested that the entrepreneurism program could be a hub to connect all of the different colleges at UTC. 

Hamilton County Career and College Advisors


UTC held a focus group with Hamilton County Public Schools’ career and college advisors on Tuesday, November 4th.  The objective of the meeting was to understand how UTC could better support the advisors and how the university can market to students more effectively considering the Tennessee Promise.  The notes below detail the group’s discussion:

  • UTC should work with high school seniors and new students at Chattanooga State to ensure that students consider UTC as a good transfer option after they complete their two-year degree. 
    • Pay for prospective student transportation to campus, provide a meal. Show them the UTC option.
    • Match the $500 that low income students will lose from the lottery scholarship. 
    • Market to high school students- provide a bus and conduct bus tours.
      • Begin marketing to juniors, then return senior year to talk with the students again.  Plant the seed early.
      • Conduct face to face meetings with UTC personnel and students.
      • Help prospective students understand how they can afford to transfer to UTC in their third year.  Put together an easy-to-understand financial package that details all of the costs and scholarships/grants available for the third year.
      • Help students understand UTC’s financial package and the advantage to starting at UTC year vs. junior year (Ex. freshman scholarship remind low income students that they may get Pell grants, lottery scholarship, etc.)
      • Help students understand how transfer credits work.
      • Create an education program for parents to help them understand:
        • The financial differences between community college and UTC.
        • The safety of our campus- many parents are afraid for their kids to go to UTC because it is so much bigger than Chattanooga State and in the middle of downtown.
        • Explain Tennessee pathways and how transfer of general education classes will work.
        • Start the parent education process when the students are in their junior year.
        • Utilize mentor meetings to communicate with potential students. 
        • Speak to students and parents at the December college workshops.
        • Educate students about the transferability of Chattanooga State credits to UTC and that some credits (art, economics) may not transfer.
        • Help lower income students by utilizing a policy like UTK’s: if a student gets in to UTK, qualifies for the lottery scholarship and their family makes less than $36,000/year, their tuition and books are free.
          • Create a financial package for this and market it.
          • Waive application fees for local students and low income students, application fees deter a lot of low income students. 
          • Communicate with career and college counselors via email.
          • Create a one stop-shop for students- stop the red tape.
          • Alleviate the parking problems on campus.

Consider adding an associates or applied science degree.

Chattanooga Arts Community


A group session with Chattanooga’s arts community was held on Friday, November 7th. The objective of the meeting was to determine how UTC and the local arts community can connect and collaborate.

  • Create MAs and MFAs.
  • Create opportunities to share personnel with arts groups, this results in greater quality professors, greater quality students and better audiences.  (Example: the symphony’s conductor was brought to town by UC and the local opera owes its genesis to people who had a role at the university.  A lot of people who play with the orchestra teach as adjunct professors, these opportunities make a difference and help bring talented people to Chattanooga. Also the Holmberg professor of Music used to be required to consult with the symphony.)
  • Keep the requirement for music appreciation classes and other introductory arts classes to attend local productions.  It really helps give the arts community access to the younger generation.
  • Increase live performances- they are good for all of the performing arts.
  • Create a way for departments on campus to jointly attract people to arts openings, the symphony, etc.
  • Offer a degree in arts administration or perhaps a joint MFA with art and the College of Business.
  • Create a certificate in arts management- that would include financial accounting, grantsmanship, skills needed to run an arts program. This could be team taught using community members. 
  • Teach creative people how they can make a living in the arts.  This could be done through the bachelors of integrated studies.
  • Use our community resources (Example: Hunter museum has a museum studies course with competitor.)
  • Help the community understand the bigger picture and help the arts community understand where trends are.
  • Create internships and a path to employment for creative people/artists. The arts community wants people to be able to hit the ground running.
  • Increase the amount of internships that offer credit.
  • Create internships in public elementary schools to help meet arts needs in elementary schools. 
    • Not just occasional intern, but a set curriculum and schedule. 
    • Publicize and communicate to students the volunteering opportunities that are available in the Chattanooga arts community. (Ex. 4 bridges arts festival)
    • Create opportunities for summer internships.
    • Require students to do a community project each semester.
    • Encourage departments (business, communications, arts, etc.) to reach out to the arts community, they want to help students get more lab experience.
    • Create work-study programs within the arts community.
    • Encourage faculty to connect with museums, offer to evaluate exhibits, help with evaluation of learning, etc.
    • Connect with the children’s discovery museum to apply for grants.
    • Provide assessment and research for outcome based grant programs within the arts community.
    • Encourage faculty and administration to be active in the arts community- attend concerts, sit on arts boards. 
    • Support community classes to teach students how to make money in their craft- how to turn a skill into a business.  College of Business could be involved in this entrepreneurial opportunity.  Could be short term (Ex: 8 weeks).
    • Work with students to develop a package for art agents, etc.
    • Teach arts students how to get an agent, community members could help with this.
    • Hold career fairs for artists.
    • Encourage students to submit work to juried festivals. Students need to learn to jump through the hoops and how the process works in the real world.
    • Partner with symphony guest artists, have them offer educational opportunities on campus.
    • Encourage guest artists to interact more with the community.
    • Have choral groups perform in the community and in the local schools. Use them to recruit locally.
    • Utilize successful graduates- promote them to the community and the student body.
    • Bring high school art students to UTC’s campus- Saturday programs, etc.  to recruit talented individuals.
    • Create an entrepreneurial program that mixes business classes and the arts.
    • Create a scholarship program to recognize talented students in the community. 
    • Market to the public why arts students should come to UTC. 
    • Determine the direction of the music program.
    • Determine our priorities as a university: pick one thing and be really good at it.
    • Encourage faculty members to recruit students.
    • Encourage more of a faculty connection to the community/ community service.