The UTC Council of Scholars was established in 1985 with the election of five Charter Members. The previous year, a planning committee had been charged with the task of developing a proposal for such a Council, an idea originated by Professor Earl Davis (Education), and their proposal, with the support of the Administration, had been adopted for funding by the University of Chattanooga Foundation that year. The Charter Members were given responsibility for developing the organizational structures and procedures of the group; determining membership categories and criteria; electing additional initial members of the Council; and for guiding the Council in its initial phases. The first Convener of the Council was Professor Reed Sanderlin (English). The first induction included 17 individuals (5 Charter Members and 12 Members).
The purpose of the Council, as originally proposed, was "for recognition of those faculty members who have distinguished themselves through scholarly activities and creative achievements."
Goals of the Council
The stated goals of the Council were: 1. Create and maintain an atmosphere which is conducive to the development of research and scholarly or creative potential at UTC; 2. Encourage new faculty members to become involved in research and scholarly or creative activities early in their careers at UTC; 3. Assist in the development of support systems for all faculty members who exhibit an interest in the pursuit of scholarly excellence; 4. Provide recognition and rewards for those individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in research and scholarly or creative activities.
In developing the organizational character, structure, membership criteria and program of the Council, it was decided:
- to place Council membership on the very highest level of scholarly recognition on Campus
- to limit membership to approximately 10% of the active full-time faculty at rank of associate professor or above;
- to base nomination and election to membership on the faculty members' cumulative record of research or scholarly and creative productivity, especially while at UTC;
- to offer a yearly award of $500 for each member and to divide the budgeted provisions for members' travel equally among the members for utilization in scholarly activities of members' choice within each given budget year.
Council Structure and Activities
The Convener, chosen from the membership, is responsible for chairing all meetings of the Council; sending out notices of meetings, invitations to special guests, and executing all contracts for outside speakers; communicating with the membership, the Administration, and the UC Foundation on all matters relating to Council activities; working with the Communications and Marketing Office and the media in securing appropriate coverage of Council activities and recognition of Council Members; maintaining the Council's official records; and approving and signing all stipends and travel grants under the Council's account.
The Membership Committee composed of six members, chaired by the Convener (who only votes in case of a tie), is responsible for proposing selection and nomination procedures, for advising the Council on the number of inductees to be added from time to time, and for the identification, nomination and election of new members.
Responsibilities of Members
Members of the Council are expected to continue a high level of productivity in the areas of research, scholarly publications and/or professional presentations within their chosen fields.
They are requested to participate in the Council's activities by attending the Council's meetings and functions and making occasional presentations before the Council relative to their research or scholarly interests.
Members are also expected to submit occasional reports on their research/publication/presentation activities and on offices held in the context of professional societies. These reports are coordinated and summarized by the Convener and transmitted to the Administration and the University of Chattanooga Foundation.
Members of the Council who resign from the University must resign from the Council. Members who retire at the University may continue to participate in all Council activities but without stipend and travel allocations, and without obligations.
The yearly stipend awards (presently in the amount of $500) are issued to members following induction to the Council and (under present budgetary provisions) for the duration of active membership. The $200 travel award is not carried over beyond the fiscal year. These funds are disbursed (with the approval of the Convener) through normal departmental channels and they are granted on first-come first-served basis.
Criteria: Nomination and election to Council membership is based on a commitment and demonstrated record of excellence in research, publication, creative activities and/or presentation in an academic field of study. Any full-time tenured member of the UTC faculty at the rank of Associate Professor or above is eligible for consideration.
Nomination and Election Procedures: New Members are elected by the Membership Committee. When openings become available, the Convener in behalf of the Committee, announces to the membership (also to deans and department heads) that nominations are open for one or more openings in the Council. Nominations must be in the form of a complete curriculum vitae, including a complete listing of the candidate's publications and/or presentations. In addition, the membership committee expects to receive a formal letter(s) of endorsement from the person (s) (e.g.Council members, Deans, Department Heads) making the nomination.
The Council acknowledges the qualifications, worthiness and eligibility of many faculty members at UTC who have been nominated and have not been elected to the Council. The original goal of the Council, which has not been achieved yet, is to induct ten percent of the tenured and tenure-track faculty. The amount of the Council's stipend however, has not been increased since the inception of the organization in 1985. New members to the Council (with the exceptions of Chairs of Excellence who receive no stipends) are inducted when there are vacant positions through retirements.
To be qualified for membership in the UTC Council of Scholars, the following guidelines should normally be met:
- Tenured, full-time faculty member with a rank of Associate Professor or Professor.
- Faculty rank at UTC for at least 3 years.
- Consistent scholarship productivity during the last 5 years.
- With the exception of colleagues in the creative arts, significant scholarship productivity measured primarily by articles in refereed professional journals and/or authorship of books through major publishers and university presses (exclusive of reports).
- Some evidence of a national reputation.
- Evidence that the scholarship has enhanced the reputation of UTC. (For example, a significant portion of the work should have been done with a UTC address on it.)
- Scholarship record beyond the average UTC expectation.