Transform lives through meaningful learning experiences.

UTC offers students many opportunities to engage in experiential learning including practica, internships, research, and ThinkAchieve activities. ThinkAchieve was born from the Institution’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). While ThinkAchieve is a critical component of experiential learning at UTC, it does not encompass all opportunities in which a student can engage and supplement their classroom learning. This section contains data on the ThinkAchieve initiative and historical participation for practicum and internships courses.


ThinkAchieve: Beyond the Classroom

ThinkAchieve: Beyond the Classroom is a hub for experiential learning at UTC. Our students participate in and reflect on experience-based learning. ThinkAchieve opportunities include some of the most remarkable experiences offered at UTC, in the Chattanooga area, and around the world. As students participate and accumulate reflections, they gain points towards university awards and recognition, while simultaneously acquiring vital experience for life. ThinkAchieve Graduates earn the distinction of being recognized by the University at the UTC Commencement (Graduation) Ceremony, in the Commencement Program and on their official UTC Transcript, as well as at the SGA Senior Leadership Awards Banquet if graduating in the Spring Semester. 

Students can participate in experience-based learning through courses, events, or experiences. Designated courses provide students an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills in a practical setting outside the normal classroom. Events are a one-time activity on campus or in the community and experiences are more expansive than one-time events. All three types include a reflection component. More information can be found at https://www.utc.edu/think-achieve/

During the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 terms, 2,240 unique students participated in 85 different courses. Another 338 unique students participated in events across campus such as International Tea Time, the C.S. Lewis Autobiography Lecture, and the Hispanic Heritage Luncheon. Experiences like the International Buddy Program, HAM LLC, Multicultural Mentorship Program, and the Women’s Leadership Academy provided 452 more students with experiential learning opportunities. However, it is important to keep in mind that these are unique students in each category. Some students participate in more than one type of experiential learning throughout the year. 

Since inception in 2013, the number of individual students participating in each ThinkAchieve category has grown from 693 to nearly 3,000 or 1/3 of the total student body. It is important to keep in mind that for reporting, all of the numbers represent unique students, however, it is apparent that those who engage in experiential learning continue to do so.

Additionally, while the number of courses designated as ThinkAchieve continues to grow, the program staff monitor for inclusion of experiential student learning outcomes and documentation of assessment. This practice ensures that students involved in designated courses are truly exposed experiential learning and the long-term benefits.


Internship and Practicum Courses

Internships and Practicum courses allow students to practice the skills learned in the classroom in the real world environment. Both of these types of courses have increased in student participation over the last four years.

The UTC Honors College currently offers the following four programs for high-achieving students within the university: 

  1. Brock Scholars Program: a four-year program that delivers a unique general education curriculum for high-achieving students.  Students apply to the program during the fall of the senior year in high school and enter as first-semester freshmen.  There is no minimum ACT or GPA required, though admission is very selective. 
  2. Innovations in Honors Program (IIH)a problem-based, community-embedded learning experience designed for students to enter as sophomores or juniors. To be admitted, an applicant must have a minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.2 and at least 24 college credit hours.
  3. High-Achieving Mocs (HAM)a freshman-year-only experience. HAM students live together, take select courses together during their first year, and benefit from special programming and advisement.  Many HAM participants go on to enter the Honors College's IIH Program in the sophomore year. Incoming freshmen with at least a 3.5 high school GPA and a minimum 26 composite ACT are especially encouraged to apply, though other applicants will be considered.
  4. Departmental Honorsa year-long senior thesis designed by the student in conjunction with a faculty director from the student's major department.  To be considered, an applicant must have a minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.2 and a minimum GPA in the major of 3.5.

The Honors College:

  • Enrollment increased by over 62% from 192 students in Fall 2014 to 311 in Fall 2019.
  • First-time freshmen Honors students were more likely to be retained to their sophomore year than the overall freshmen population. The 2018-to-2019 fall retention rate was 93% for Brock Scholars and 89% for HAM, compared to 71% for all UTC freshmen.
  • Graduated students at a much higher rate than non-Honors students. For the Fall 2015 first-time, full-time freshmen cohort, 80% of Honors students completed within four years compared with 35% of non-Honors students.

The last five years have seen remarkable growth in graduate programs UTC offers. Four new degree programs have been introduced including programs in Data Analytics and Public Health. These new programs, each of which meets student and workforce needs in the Chattanooga region and Tennessee, have conferred 75 degrees as of June 2020.

In addition, 10 new graduate program concentrations and five new graduate certificates have launched. Concentrations, which offer students the ability to specialize in workforce-aligned fields within their programs of study, include Computational and Applied Mathematics (Computational Science Ph.D.), Data Science (Computer Science M.S.) and Healthcare Administration (Business Administration M.B.A.). Certificates, which are smaller credentials recognized in the workforce, include Computational and Applied Statistics and Sustainable Design.

New Graduate Degree Programs Offered since 2015

Program

Degree

Academic Year First Offered

Degrees Produced

Data Analytics

M.S.D.A.

2019-2020

n/a

Learning and Leadership

Ph.D.

2018-2019

12

Public Health: Chronic Disease Prevention and Control

M.P.H.

2018-2019

15

Social Work

M.S.W.

2015-2016

48

New Graduate Concentrations Offered since 2015

Concentration

Program

Degree

Academic Year First Offered

Forensic Data Analytics

Accounting

M.Acc.

2015-2016

Finance

Business Administration

M.B.A.

2017-2018

Healthcare Administration

English as a Second Language

Elementary Education

M.Ed.

2016-2017

English as a Second Language

Secondary Education

M.Ed.

2016-2017

Data Science

Computer Science

M.S.

2016-2017

Automotive Systems

Engineering

M.S.

2016-2017

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Nursing

M.S.N.

2016-2017

Computational and Applied Mathematics

Computational Science

Ph.D.

2017-2018

Computer Science

2016-2017

New Graduate Certificates Offered since 2015

Certificate

Type

Academic Year First Offered

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Post-Masters

2016-2017

Computational and Applied Statistics

Post-Baccalaureate

2017-2018

Historic Preservation

Post-Baccalaureate

2017-2018

Instructional Coaching

Post-Baccalaureate

2016-2017

Sustainable Design

Post-Baccalaureate

2017-2018

As of AY 2018-2019, all general education categories have at least one eligible course section that is taught online.  Beginning in summer 2018, General Physics - Mechanics and Heat (PHYS 1030 & 1030L) were provided via online instruction.  In summer 2019, General Physics - Electromagnetism and Optics (PHYS 1040 & 1040L) was also included.  For the fall and spring terms, Life on Earth (BIOL 1050) is now available as an online option. For more information on available general education courses, visit the UTC course catalog.

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Benchmarks

In 2018, direct links to NSSE were provided to students in Blackboard, causing a large increase in responses in freshmen and seniors.  UTC began the process to discontinue Blackboard and migrate to Canvas in 2019.  Direct links will be provided to 2020 freshman and seniors via Canvas.

In the last five years, students have consistently reported the quality of interaction with student services staff as above average with a slight increase in the recent two years. Freshmen tend to report more positively on all marks than graduating seniors, especially for learning support services. Since 2015, freshmen and seniors have provided slightly lower ratings for institutional emphasis in three student support areas: academic success, learning support center usage, and overall well-being.

Greek Life

As of Fall 2019, UTC had 25 active fraternities and sororities with more than 1,100 participants. Greek Life is handled by the Office of the Dean of Students. To join a fraternity or a sorority, a student must have full-time enrollment status (12 or more credits) and have a GPA of 2.5 as an incoming freshman or transfer student, though individual Greek organizations are permitted to enforce higher standards.

Athletics

Currently, UTC’s Athletic Department has 15 NCAA sports teams with six being for men and nine for women. During the 2019-20 academic year, UTC debuted its newest NCAA sport, beach volleyball.

Like with fraternities and sororities, students must meet GPA requirements in order to remain eligible. A student must have a cumulative GPA of 1.8 at the start of the sophomore year, 1.9 at the start of the junior year, and 2.0 at the start of the senior year.

The NCAA tracks academic success of university sports teams via the Academic Progress Rate (APR). The APR is calculated as follows: 

  • Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible.
  • A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s Academic Progress Ratee.

During the 2018-19 academic year, three out of fourteen UTC sports teams (Men’s Tennis, Women’s Cross Country, and Women’s Volleyball) had a perfect APR of 1000.

ROTC

Since 2007, UTC has had an ROTC Program on campus. ROTC consists of a blend of classroom instruction and “live” activities to prepare students to become commissioned officers in the US Army. As of the Fall 2019, there were 66 students currently participating the program.

Students who join ROTC have a wide variety of additional opportunities available such as Airborne Training at Fort Benning where they can learn parachute jumping and the Mountain Warfare School in Vermont which offers survival training.

Upon graduation from UTC, students who completed the ROTC program become commissioned 2nd lieutenants in the US Army. Between 2015 and 2019, 35 ROTC graduates at UTC successfully earned commissions.

UTC has offered numerous opportunities for intellectual and cultural engagement. Music performances and theatre productions showcase student talent and serve the larger Chattanooga community. The Fine Arts Center renovation will provide new opportunities for engagement when it concludes in Summer 2020. Cultural events like Black History MonthHispanic Heritage Month, and International Education Week are co-sponsored by academic departments and student-facing offices on campus like the Office of Multicultural Affairs, an important resource for cultural engagement.

"The Office of Multicultural Affairs partners collaboratively with faculty and staff to promote lifelong learning one student at a time. Valuing diversity is an integral part of the college experience. We offer engaging programming that increases cultural awareness, while affirming the inclusion of underrepresented populations in the institutional community."

A group of UTC staff members take part in a line dancing class

Dancing with Dr. Dawson. Series designed to engage and build relationships between faculty, staff, and students while learning cultural line dancing, to promote health and wellness.

Over the last five years, UTC has expanded opportunities for intellectual engagement. Faculty in residence in on-campus housing provide students opportunities to build relationships with faculty members as part of their residential experience and began in 2019. Interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunities like the L.L. Roper Teaching and Learning Garden, founded in 2016, provide hands-on experiences that link arts and sciences. Other experiential learning opportunities, like the library exhibit documenting the Civil Rights Movement in Chattanooga created by students in Professor Susan Eckelmann Berghel’s Modern Civil Rights Struggle class in Fall 2018, allow students to document the experiences of movement participants.

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

At the end of May 2020, a university-wide survey went out to measure civic engagement participation at UTC.  Activities were divided into the following categories:  

  • Events (lectures, conferences, festivals, etc.), Community service
  • Courses (FYE, service-learning, capstone, work-study, etc.)
  • Extracurricular programming (internships, leadership development, etc.)
  • Research (grants, publications, etc.)
  • Participation in on-campus organizations or committees related to civic engagement

Initial Findings

  • 26% of reported civic engagement activities in UTC are events with over half reporting one or two events as ongoing or for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • Respondents reported an average of three different civic engagement activity categories their group hosted or participated in.

 

Entrepreneurship program and the Center for Innovation and Enterprise (CIE)

  • CIE was established in 2018 and serves as a source of connection across campus and beyond for those interested in research in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Randy Boyd shakes hands with a business student during the 2019 Entrepreneurship Breakfast

Randy Boyd, president of the University of Tennessee system, was keynote speaker for UTC's Entrepreneurship Breakfast 2019.

  • The Entrepreneurship program is planning to use the Readiness Inventory for Successful Entrepreneurship (RISE) assessment with a pilot group of Entrepreneurship majors for Fall 2020.
  • Both Music and Theatre division in Performing Arts department formally adopted the Entrepreneurship Minor as part of their accreditation requirements.
Veteran's Entrepreneurship Program logo

Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Program (VEP)

  • In the last eight years, the VEP has accomplished:
    • 114 veterans have completed the program
    • 39 new businesses launched
    • 7,945,000 of capital acquired
    • 142 new jobs created
  • VEP graduates have:
    • Launched Renewed Perspective Coaching: a minority-owned life coaching service that helps individuals set and attain personal and professional goals. (Stephanie Jeffreys, 2016).
    • Produced a documentary on mental health that was picked up by HBO. (Joe Smarro, 2018)
    • Established a private security company that recently provided security for a large country music event in Nashville. (Terry Chandler, 2018)
    • Recently opened a nutrition and fitness business called “Body Lab Food + Fitness” in Jacksonville, Florida. (Steven Hubbard, 2018)

The UTC Center for Professional Education (CPE) is a premier provider of quality outreach programs to a variety of learners in the region. The programs offered meet the educational and career development needs of the local and regional workforce.  As the organization continues to grow and evolve, the programs offered include human resources, project management, leadership development, supply chain and logistics management, teacher training, and entrance exam preparation. 

Center for Professional Education 2019-2020 Highlights

Over the past five years, the Center for Professional Education has taken on a new identity and repositioned to better serve the Chattanooga community.

As we evaluated the needs of the region, we designed a program portfolio outline that would include the following areas: 

  • Business Management
  • Computer Skills
  • Project Management
  • Human Resources
  • Teacher Training
  • Information Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Supply Chain

Concluding 2019-2020, CPE has seen growth and new opportunities in our original outline from 2017. 

Medical Career Academy

In 2018-2019, our Medical Career Academies enrolled twenty-seven individuals who completed one of our five programs: Clinical Medical Assistant, Medical Administrative Assistant, Medical Billing & Coding, Pharmacy Technician, and Phlebotomy Technician. Of the twenty-seven participants, seventeen earned a nationally recognized industry certification, such as the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA).

In 2019-2020, we saw a remarkable increase in enrollments totaling ninety-nine students. For the Fall 2019 cohorts, twenty-nine students earned a nationally recognized industry certification. CPE’s Spring 2020 cohorts are still in the process of completing their programs and will test in the near future. 

2019-2020 Medical Course Academy Enrollment Breakdown 

Program

Fall 2019 Enrollment

Spring 2020 Enrollment

Overall Total

Clinical Medical Assistant

9

12

21

Pharmacy Technician

7

11

18

Medical Administrative Assistant

6

N/A*

6

Phlebotomy Technician

9

19

28

Medical Billing & Coding

16

10**

26**

Total

47

52

99

* Not offered
** Still collecting registration

2019-2020 Medical Course Academy Certification Breakdown

Certification

Fall 2019 Certification

Spring 2020 Certification

Overall Total

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

9

N/A*

9

Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)

2

2

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)

6

6

Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT)

8

8

Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

4

4

Total

29

0

29

* Some programs not offered; others have not yet finished

To increase registrations, CPE staff designed a comprehensive marketing and customer service strategy. CPE’s strategy has two notable tactics that increased enrollments: scheduling calls with a program coordinator and attending open houses. For example, students who attended an open house were 50 percent more likely to register for a course. The ability to schedule a call with a program coordinator, a feature implemented in our email campaigns, has created a more personal and thoughtful interaction with potential students.

To celebrate the achievements of our Fall 2019 cohort, CPE hosted a graduation ceremony. 

Supply Chain Symposium

With the success of the Supply Chain Lunch and Learns, CPE decided to offer the Supply Chain Symposium in January 2020. Partnering with Kenco, Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association, and FreightWaves, CPE offered five sessions that explored supply chain innovation, organizational design, opportunities and challenges, and technology.

With over ninety attendees and five sponsors, the Supply Chain Symposium attracted community members, professionals, and UTC students interested in seeing the local supply chain industry grow and develop.

Corporate Training

CPE continues to see growth in our Corporate Training sector. In 2019-2020, CPE trained eleven companies and a total of 250 individuals. Crucial Conversations and Crucial Accountability continue to be top performers.

Organization

Training

Participants

Bake Crafters

Leadership

22

UTC

Project Management Fundamentals

15

AZZ

DDI Leadership

14

AdTech

DDI Leadership

22

UTC CECS

Emotional Intelligence

7

AZZ

Crucial Conversations

11

AZZ

Crucial Accountability

11

Plastic Omnium

Crucial Conversations

4

Plastic Omnium

Crucial Accountability

4

Lock Joint Tube

ISO &

27

Acumen Wealth

StrengthFinders

14

AZZ

Project Management Fundamentals

8

Lock Joint Tube

Internal Auditor

11

City of Chattanooga

Crucial Conversations

13

TBR

Crucial Conversations

13

TBR

Getting Things Done

33

Jat Oil

Microsoft Excel

21

Total

250

Awards and Recognition

In 2019-2020, CPE was also recognized by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) for our program delivery, faculty, and marketing. At the 2019 UPCEA South Region Conference, CPE won the Community Engagement Award and the Outstanding Faculty Award.

At the 2019 UPCEA Marketing and Enrollment Management Seminar, CPE won the following awards:

  • Most Improved (Silver)
  • Mixed Media Campaign (Silver)
  • Postcard (Bronze)
  • Video (Bronze)

Earlier this year, CPE Director John Freeze won the UT Alumni Association Public Service Award for his dedication to serving the Chattanooga community.  

Learning Management System: Full Migration to Canvas by Fall 2019

Canvas LMS logoIn 2018, the LMS Review Committee evaluated options for an LMS moving forward at UTC. The committee recommended-- and the Chancellor and Interim Provost endorsed-- moving to Canvas. Canvas is robust, easy to use, and mobile friendly. It features a clean modern interface for easy navigation.

The transition to Canvas finished in Fall 2019 as planned. Canvas now provides 24/7 support to faculty, staff, and students. 

 

Kaltura Video Platform

Kaltura logoThe Walker Center for Teaching and Learning conducted a lecture capture review from January 2019 through April 2020, and it is moving forward with Kaltura. The software will be implemented in Summer 2020. Kaltura is not only a lecture capture solution, but provides an interactive virtual classroom environment as an alternative to Zoom.

 

ePortfolio Development: Portfolium

Portfolium logoIn today’s technological society, students must have the ability to demonstrate to employers their proficiency with technology. What better way to do this than by providing the students with training on learning technologies that offer the portability for their technical assignments. 

Portfolium is an ePortfolio tool within Canvas that is available to faculty and students. The Honors College adopted Portfolium in 2019, and implementation is expected to occur across campus in Fall 2020.

 

Campus-Wide Adoption of Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally accessibility logoIn Spring 2018, UTC began the pilot process for the Blackboard Ally software, which was then integrated with the Blackboard LMS. Ally also fully integrates with Canvas and has now been adopted campus-wide.

Ally automatically analyzes all course materials by running them through an accessibility checklist that checks for common accessibility issues. Ally will then generate accessibility alternatives for the instructor’s original material and provide instructors the ability to immediately convert the material into an alternative format including Semantic HTML, audio, ePub, and electronic braille.

 

Continued Training for Camtasia Video Production Suite and Zoom Video Conferencing, and the Introduction of Arc

ARC, Camtasia and Zoom logosSince the beginning of Fall 2016, instructors across campus have adopted the Camtasia video production suite to create tutorials and instructional videos to incorporate in the classroom. Camtasia has been installed across campus and individualized training sessions have been provided by members of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning. By adopting this learning technology, instructors receive a powerful piece of video production software as well as tips and tricks associated with best practices in video production. All instructors are required to provide closed captioning on any video produced and provided to the students in the course. 

The Zoom video conferencing software is one tool that we utilize for quite a few learning technology functions. This tool allows for creation of instructional videos to post in the LMS; collaboration for groups, meetings, class projects, etc.; technical support and troubleshooting functionality through video conference and screen-sharing features; and the offering of online office hours by faculty for students at non-traditional times in non-traditional locations.

With the migration to Canvas came the availability of an additional video tool. Canvas Studio (formerly ARC) integrates with Canvas and provides production tools for an interactive e-learning experience. Instructure describes Canvas Studio as “a more video‑centric, interactive way to approach e-learning.”

 

COVID-19 Response and Transition to Online Learning

model of CoronavirusDuring the COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2020, these technologies took on a heightened importance. During this time the Walker Center responded to over 2,000 requests and offered 160 training sessions with over 1,200 participants, all to better acclimate students, faculty, and staff to remote interaction and instruction.

Ensure stewardship of resources through strategic alignment and investments.

The Complete College of Tennessee Act (CCTA) was passed in January 2010 in order to address the need for more Tennesseans to be better educated and trained while also acknowledging the state’s diminished fiscal capacity to support higher education. The CCTA created a comprehensive reform agenda that seeks to transform public education through changes in policies at the state and institutional level. Metrics such as progression demonstrated through earned course credits at the 30, 60, and 90 mark, and graduation rate are used to provide funding to institutions based on outcomes.

Graduation rates are calculated for first-time, full-time freshmen who graduated within six years. The gold line represents first-time, full-time freshmen who began at UTC and graduated from UTC while the blue line represents first-time, full-time freshmen who began at any UT System Institution (e.g. UTK, UT Martin) and graduated from any UT System Institution.

Radius: UTC’s Customer Relationship Management Database

As of May 2020, the following UTC programs and organizations are using Radius for processes such as event management, recruitment and information campaigns, communication plans, and management of student testing:

  • Career Services
  • Center for Advisement
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Engineering & Computer Science
  • College of Health, Education, & Professional Studies
  • Enrollment Management 
  • ESL (English as Second Language) Institute
  • Financial Aid
  • Honors College
  • International Student Services
  • Mocs One Center
  • New Student & Family Programs
  • Research and Sponsored Programs
  • Rollins College of Business
  • Student Affairs
  • Student Success Programs
  • Testing Center
  • Veteran Student Services
  • Walker Center for Teaching and Learning

UC Foundation and the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs: UTC’s Connection to Alumni and Friends

1960's era scene of students in 2 groups, standing in front of the University of Chattanooga gate on McCallie Avenue: one group of 3 female students on the left appear to be talking to each other; on the right, a group of 3 male students talk to a female student.
The University of Chattanooga Foundation provided several events for alumni engagement, including several online learning seminars via Zoom during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order.

First Generation Alumni Working at UTC

Graduating Institution

Faculty

Staff

Total

UTC

2

7

9

Other Institution

8

2

10

In 2019, UTC launched the Soar in Four tuition model in order to assist students in completing bachelor’s degrees in four years. Under Soar in Four, students are charged a flat tuition rate for any number of credits they take over 15 credit hours, allowing students to take additional courses without incurring additional tuition costs. UTC’s budget for 2020-21 includes over $2 million in funds to cover the extra tuition charges the university must absorb as part of Soar in Four in order to pass savings on to students and their families. 

Soar in Four launched in Fall 2019, so data is limited. However, there was a substantive increase in the number of new students, who are eligible for Soar in Four, who enrolled in 15 or more credit hours for that term. This indicates that students are taking advantage of Soar in Four to enroll in additional courses, decreasing their time to degree.

Even though students are taking more courses, they continue to be retained at UTC to their Spring semester at the same rate (88%) as students who began in Fall 2017 and Fall 2018. This early indicator indicates the program is experiencing initial success at reducing time to degree. 

Over the last five years, UTC has made a number of investments in high-priority endeavors that further the university’s mission and strategic growth. The new UTC Library opened its doors in 2015 and serves as an important hub for academic life, research, and student success. UTC’s transformation from a commuter-based campus to an increasingly residential community was exemplified by the opening of West campus housing facilities in Fall 2018. This seven-story housing complex houses 600 students and has operated at 100% occupancy since opening

UTC prides itself in its mission and upholds the mission in a variety of ways, including enhancing institutional effectiveness and promoting academic excellence via student learning outcomes. This institutional commitment is evident through the outcomes assessment process, curriculum mapping, accreditation and quality assurance funding, program reviews, use of results, and program improvements.

Throughout the past five years, UTC leadership steered the focus toward a complete outcomes measurement process. Although there is a direct link between outcomes assessment and student success defined by completion, of equal importance is the documentation of changes made to programs due to assessment results. These results provide justification for necessary change and serve as a measurement tool to determine whether a program is effective. Further, since the assessment results are used to make continuous improvement to the programs, without appropriate assessment techniques and instruments, it is not possible to support the mission of the program, the college, or the university as a whole.

The majority of programs have clearly stated outcomes in measurable terms. With the implementation of Compliance Assist and the accompanying process, some programs are still in the beginning stages of documenting assessment and results. Moving forward, these programs will be able to increase their outcomes and efficiency with guidance and continued adherence to the process. However, each program has shown evidence of assessment activities. While the majority of degree programs fall into the emerging and acceptable categories, some demonstrated exceptional outcomes assessments. 

Table 1 shows the percentages of programs that fell under each category for the academic years 2015-16 and 2018-19, the most recently completed assessment cycle. The data provide evidence of UTC’s commitment to ensuring a culture of assessment with dedication to student success.

  • Exceptional outcomes are those that have been developed and assessed, and for which future actions were planned, with improvements continuously underway.
  • Acceptable outcomes are those which have been created and assessed, with some thought given to followup actions.
  • Emerging outcomes are defined as those in the beginning stages and still under development.

Table 1. Percentages of Program Determined to be Emerging, Acceptable, and Exceptional

 

2015-16

2018-19

Exceptional

14%

33%

Acceptable

70%

58%

Emerging

16%

9%

Timeline for Outcomes Assessment Processes

UTC developed an annual assessment cycle that provides structure for all departments and programs to identify expected outcomes, develop measurement tools, conduct assessment, and create continuous improvement plans. Each department or program within the university is responsible for determining its specific outcomes, and each is charged with assessing identified outcomes. Academic and nonacademic departments alike participate in outcomes assessment, although some departments may utilize the terminology of Service Outcomes (SOs) as opposed to Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Service Outcomes are related to the results of providing services or programs for students and other constituencies (i.e. student support, administration, student development), while Student Learning Outcomes demonstrate behaviors, skills or abilities, or goals a student is expected to achieve as a result of completing an academic program. This systematic method ensures that all departments and programs align procedures and practices to support the university’s mission and demonstrate program effectiveness. The Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Institutional Research (OPEIR) oversees and supports the Institution’s assessment process. Each academic year, a calendar of activities guides the assessment process:

Timeline graphic; no text equivalent. Please contact UTC OPEIR for a verbal description of the Outcomes Assessment Timeline

Programs are responsible for ensuring that outcomes assessment adheres to best practices in higher education. Within each discipline, it is expected that department heads, faculty and assessment personnel work together to determine outcomes and the measurement tool used to assess those outcomes. In order to close the assessment loop, a benchmark is established to frame the assessment results, allowing for development of concrete follow up actions leading to continuous improvement.

Campus Labs logoEach department is responsible for setting its own assessment timelines and practices within the time frames set forth by OPEIR. OPEIR facilitates the process by reminding departments and programs of the general timeline each academic year. A communication plan was developed to effectively communicate with the university community about outcomes assessment, and emails and reminders about deadlines are sent out periodically. Additionally, training and brainstorming sessions are held in order to help faculty and staff understand the process of outcomes assessment and provide support for entering information into Campus Labs, a program defined below. Each year, approximately 14 training and brainstorming sessions are held along with numerous one-on-one sessions, as necessary. As part of these sessions, attendees are asked to complete a short survey. Comments received from the survey include:

  • Keep having the open labs for the Learning Outcomes thingy. I find that getting to the place where I put in the data is challenging, made more so because I only do this twice a year. 
  • While I absolutely appreciate the open labs and have received significant support and help during them, it may be helpful to offer something like an Assessment 101 session or online module that introduces the common terminology and definitions utilized through the system. Thank you very much for your time and support with these sessions you've offered!
  • Keep having more of these Open Labs.  I'm not confident that I understand the steps necessary to enter data and that's why I go to the Open Labs. For me, the best times are a few weeks after semester grades are due, so that I can enter the data from the Learning Outcomes that the instructors have assessed at the end of each semester.

In addition to SACSCOC, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) holds programs responsible for reporting outcomes and assessment results. Processes such as Program Review, Quality Assurance Funding (QAF) reporting, Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), and SACSCOC Fifth Year Review are just a few examples of how UTC meets the standards of reporting outcomes and assessment results. In order to track outcomes and associated assessment results, UTC uses Campus Labs, a program designed specifically for institutional reporting practices. OPEIR can review program and departmental outcomes assessment information and provide any necessary feedback. University outcomes assessment processes are outlined through a series of communications from OPEIR throughout the academic year.

Outcomes Assessment Processes

UTC has a process by which learning outcomes are established, assessed and used for continuous improvement for all academic programs. While each of the four colleges uses different data collection procedures, established processes follow the assessment timeline. Each department is responsible for making sure the process is upheld for its academic majors. Requirements to ensure the assessment of student learning outcomes are outlined clearly for department heads on the internal SACSCOC informational page. These include:

  1. Facilitate and encourage regular discussions with all faculty about student learning outcomes and the assessment of those outcomes;
  2. Coordinate, collect, and enter yearly data on program/learning outcomes;
  3. Ensure that catalog entries reflect student learning outcomes that match departmental input; and
  4. Review curriculum revisions to maintain links and relationships to student learning outcomes.

All bachelor’s and master’s degrees, postbaccalaureate and postmaster graduate certificates, and doctoral programs establish, assess, and use outcomes to improve curricula. It is important to note that online programs also follow the outline assessment cycle in terms of student learning. Assessments administered in undergraduate programs encompass the University’s General Education outcomes, which are available on the Website. Assessment instruments vary from program to program. Many use a combination of instruments to gather both direct and indirect evidence of learning. Examples of assessment instruments include comprehensive exams, embedded coursework, internships, theses and dissertations, surveys, and rubrics. The type of assessment instrument is indicated and described in detail for each Student Learning Outcome. For example, the Nursing program may use a case study as a means of assessment. When that is the case, programs are asked to clearly describe the assessment and provide examples if possible. If a rubric was used, programs are expected to provide a copy of the rubric. 

Programs are also asked to provide information on courses that relate to the specific outcome; if an assessment is embedded in coursework, those courses should be listed. Programs are also asked to provide examples of student work where appropriate. Programs assess the extent to which they have been successful in helping students achieve learning outcomes. Each program provides information on outcomes assessment, including any prior target goals. This helps each program determine whether it is meeting its goals and whether changes should be made during an assessment cycle. Each program is responsible for citing evidence of continuous improvements that will be made based on the results of outcomes assessment.

The Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness (IAE) Committee was reinstated in Fall 2019. The IAE Committee consists of faculty, staff, and administrators from all major campus units. The IAE Committee’s charge follows:

The primary purpose of the IAE Committee is to support the development of an ongoing culture of planning and assessment in an effort to ensure maximum effectiveness of the university and the learning environment. While SACSCOC accreditation and federal and state compliance are issues we must address, student learning outcomes are UTC’s ultimate success measure.

The IAE Committee will work closely with the Director of Assessment and SACSCOC Liaison in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Institutional Research (OPEIR) in order to set annual priorities, facilitate logistics for evaluation of assessment, and build capacity for assessment in each functional area. The Director of General Education, Vice Provost, Provost, and Chancellor will also be involved with the work of the IAE Committee.  

Specifically, the IAE Committee will provide direction regarding assessment plans, tools, and activities as they relate to the university’s academic and non-instructional service units and student learning outcomes. The committee’s responsibilities include annual evaluation of assessment plans and of progress toward achievement of the institution’s strategic initiatives and demonstration of outcomes. The Committee provides feedback on findings to the campus operational and academic units, faculty, staff, and administration.

The IAE committee will be a cross-campus group including representatives from each college and each operational division and will provide ongoing information as it relates to the following:

  • Fostering a campus culture of assessment and institutional effectiveness
  • Coordination and planning of institutional assessment of academic departments and student learning outcomes
  • Coordination and planning of institutional assessment of administrative units (academic and institutional support) and their role in supporting the academic mission of the university
  • Coordination and planning of General Education assessment
  • Providing feedback to units and to university leadership
  • Serving as a conduit for two-way communication on accreditation, assessment, and institutional effectiveness
  • Maintaining communication with units of representation and be ambassadors between units and administration.

While only having met one time, they are anxious to get started and hope to be able to provide support for assessment and effectiveness processes campus wide. The Chancellor and Provost strongly support the decisions and actions of the IAE Committee, as they recognize its importance in our continuous improvement efforts. The current plan for the continued work of the Committee includes collaboration with the General Education Committee, OPEIR, and departments across campus. Members of the IAE Committee have voiced their commitment to ensuring college and potentially departmental assessment contacts being put in place to ensure the message of the Committee reaches all areas of campus. IAE Committee members have also agreed that their monitoring of outcomes assessment will help to ensure an effective and efficient process.  

Embrace diversity and inclusion as a path to excellence and societal change.

A group of students and chaperones pose at a historic residence in Washington, D.C. during a Spring 2020 trip to study Civil Rights historyUTC has implemented a wide array of programs and engaged in numerous activities to celebrate the diversity of its students, and to help support them in dealing with the various challenges they face in the higher education environment. Below are some highlights from a few just a few of these programs and activities. 

First Generation Students

The Division of Enrollment Management and Student Success has made first generation college student success a priority, and has hired staff to implement policies and programs targeted at this student population. 

  • Summer Bridge Program: While not exclusively for first generation students, the Bridge program aids at-risk students in the transition from high school to college and has shown particular efficacy in improving the success of first generation college students with financial need. The Bridge program enables students to come on campus for the summer, earn up to eight credit hours toward their degree, and receive individualized advising and support before their first Fall term begins.
  • First Gen Mocs LLCThe new Living and Learning Community was housed in Stagmeier in 2019-20, its inaugural year, and will be in Lockmiller beginning in Fall 2020. This LLC is for first generation students, bringing them together for a shared experience with resources and activities to help them acclimate to college life and share success strategies.
  • Students pose in front of a mural in Washington, D.C. during a Spring 2020 trip to study Civil Rights historyStudy Away Trip: A group of students went to Washington, D.C. in Spring 2020 to study Civil Rights history. The trip helped students to put their UTC experience as a first generation college student in context. Said one student,
    [M]any of the tour guides spoke of civil rights leaders seeking higher education for black students. As a black student and first-gen, I personally feel like a byproduct of what those civil-rights worked so hard to achieve.”
  • UTC is a “First-Gen Forward” School per NASPA. UTC was one of 80 institutions to be named to the inaugural cohort in 2019-20. The distinction is a credit to UTC’s efforts, and with it comes requirements for continual reporting and giving back to its regional community.
  • Mentorship ProgramUTC started a mentorship program, with the mentors being UTC staff and faculty who were themselves first generation when they attended college. Forty-five students were actively engaged in the program in 2020, and there are plans to involve alumni from UTC’s first gen programs in future mentorship roles.
  • Additional Activities and Programs: UTC has also recently done the following with its first generation students:
    • Faces of First Gen, presented to acquaint the UTC community with what it is like to be a first generation student.
    • First Gen GroupMe, a group chat with 61 engaged students as of May 2020.
    • First Gen Blog posts have been written and published on NASPA’s website to share UTC’s efforts and experiences.
    • First Gen Self-Identification has been added to the admissions application to help UTC engage more first generation students.
    • Presentations at Upcoming NASPA Conference will share best practices and engage the higher ed community.

Center for Women and Gender Equity

The Center for Women and Gender Equity at UTC is committed to creating a community of diverse and empowered students through the core values of awareness, activism/advocacy, collaboration, leadership, and community. The Center was opened in 2008 and has since expanded its scope to include support and programming for LGBTQ+ students and work around masculinities.

In 2019-2020, the Center has held more than 20 events with a total attendance of more than 1,300. Over 95% of attendees responding to the Center’s assessment survey said they experienced the core value of community at events they attended, an essential starting point for cooperation and understanding on the UTC campus. Of the Women’s Leadership Academy, attendees said the following on social media:

  • “This year I got to go back to Women’s Leadership Academy but this time as a group leader I met some amazing people I’ll never forget and I got to make a lot of memories.”
  • “Women’s Leadership Retreat is just what I needed to recenter. Loved getting to meet some beautiful and amazing ladies!”
  • “This has been one of my favorite experiences of college! There’s no better way to de-stress from life than starting the weekend off with a hike, and then going out in the middle of nowhere with no cell service for the weekend to work on leadership. I learned so much about myself and what I can improve on in my life. My favorite part of this trip was meeting so many amazing and strong women!”
Group photo of the 2020 cohort of the Women's Leadership Academy

2020 Women’s Leadership Academy

Of the Center itself, one student said, “it’s impossible to walk in the center and not feel proud of your own identity”; another engages the Center because “no matter what there are people there that will listen when I need it.”

Faculty-in-Residence Program

The Faculty in Residence (FIR) program, which began in Fall 2019, is sponsored by the Office of Housing and Residence Life and aims to increase meaningful interactions between faculty and students. Research has shown that faculty programs in residence halls benefit students and the university as a whole. The faculty members involved with students in out-of-classroom experiences also benefit from the experience. Faculty gain a greater understanding of students’ needs, expectations, strengths and weaknesses that can lead to better structured academic expectations and challenges. The program is not targeted toward any particular groups or demographics, but the improved sense of community and resulting comfort level on campus are of benefit to students of any background. 

One 2019-2020 Faculty-in-Residence, Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste, reflected upon the experience: 

portrait of Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste

Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste

Faculty in Residence is a strategic opportunity to develop an additional layer of support to assist UTC students to be successful on and off of campus. As a faculty member with over twenty years of teaching in academia, I often see the challenges students face in the classroom. Having a more direct connection in Student Affairs, specifically through housing and residential life, has afforded me the opportunity to cultivate communication and support with students outside of the classroom. In the last year I have met so many students outside of my discipline and my college. I have been able to direct students, particularly freshman and first-generation college students to a number of directed resources on campus. Whether it was connecting students to the counseling center, the Mocs One Center, the ARC, or Scrappy’s Cupboard, students saw faculty collaborating to ensure they have a positive experience on campus. Through programming centered around financial literacy, understanding their ClearPath, or learning more about graduate school, students seemed very grateful for the FIR presence.  The classroom can be quite formal, but meeting students in a more relaxed environment eases tensions, builds rapport, and helps me earn their trust. This is a great partnership between Academic and Student Affairs. As a Faculty in Residence, I serve at the leisure of the students, in the role of mentor, facilitator, advisor, and friend. 

https://www.utc.edu/housing/residentiallearningcommunities/facultyinresidence.php

 

The Accessible Information, Materials and Technology Program (AIMT) was developed to ensure that information technology resources and services are accessible to all students, faculty and staff of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

“Accessible” means: information, materials, and technologies are available to an individual with a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. 

  1. Developed training program focused on creation of accessible documents, “Accessibility: What is it & Why Should You Care?” 
    1. All Colleges and several departments have participated in training
    2. Created advanced level accessibility sessions including checking existing PDF files for accessibility and making existing PDF files accessible. 
    3. Ally:
      • In Fall 2018, UTC completed the campus-wide implementation of Ally which integrates with both Blackboard and Canvas.  Ally analyzes all course materials by running them through an accessibility checklist. Ally then generates accessible alternatives for the instructor’s original material and provides them the ability to immediately convert the material into an alternative format.   
      • Since Spring 2018, there have been 87 views of the Ally training video.
    4. Links to a variety of tutorials for Creating Accessible Documents and Videos.
  2. Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is an awareness day focusing on digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people with disabilities and impairments. Purpose of the summit was to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.
    Haben Girma demonstrates a braille touch-assistive keyboard

    Haben Girma, guest speaker for GAAD 2019 at UTC

    Braille Sense QWERTY keyboard

    Braille Sense QWERTY keyboard

    Assistive Screen Magnification

    Screen Magnification

    Tactile signing

    Tactile signing 

    1. Signal Centers Accessible Technology 8thAnnual Summit held on UTC campus on May 16, 2019, approximately 175-180 people attended.
    2. Guest Speaker Haben Girma was the first deaf and blind person to graduate from Harvard Law School.
    3. Workshops included:
      • Accessible Documents (presenter – Scott Seagle (UTC))
      • Accessible Web Design (presenter – Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman (co-founder of Center Centre), Daniel Ryan (Enterprise Center), and Chris Gilligan (UTC))
      • Accessible Options in the Workplace (presenter – Jon Tun (Senior Test Engineer, UNUM), Dr. Jill Shelton (Assistant Professor, UTC Psychology Department), Ryan Jones (The Paciello Group Project Manager), and Cheryl Zuckerman (Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Tennessee Division of Rehabilitation Services)
      • Accessibility and the Law (presenter – RoseMarie Hill (Chambliss Law Firm), Stacie Caraway (Miller & Martin), and Nathan Walsh (Disability Rights TN Staff Attorney)
    4. Some methods of communication that were seen and demonstrated were:
      • Braille Sense QWERTY keyboard
      • Screen Magnification 
      • Tactile signing which is where someone feels the hand movements of another person signing.
  3. In May and June of 2020, UTC and Signal Centers again co-hosted the Accessibility Awareness Summit (formerly GAAD). The sessions were held on May 21st, May 28th, June 4th, and June 11th with two 2-hour virtual sessions being held each day. Sessions were registered for by people from all over the world.

    a)     Workshops included:

    • May 21, 2020
      • Moving from Disability Accommodation to Universal Design
        • 284 registered and 179 attended
      • Creating a Culture of Accessibility (presenter – Deb Socia (Enterprise Center) and Heidi Leming (TBR))
        • 266 registered and 156 attended
    • May 28, 2020
      • Technology in the Workplace (presenter – Liz Persaud (Tools for Life))
        • 257 registered and 147 attended
      • A.I. and Emerging Technology (presenter – Chris Fink Fillauer Orthotics and Prosthetics) and Bryan Cuervo (Fillauer Orthotics and Prosthetics))
        • 235 registered and 128 attended
    • June 4, 2020
      • Accessible Media Platforms (presenter – Ben Jacobs (RebelTech Consulting))
        • 253 registered and 113 attended
      • Voice Technology and Accessibility (presenter – Bradley Metrock (Score Publishing))
        • 249 registered and 101 attended
    • June 11, 2020
      • Universal Design Roundtable (presenter – Leslie Jensen-Inman Inman (co-founder of Center Centre) and Daniel Ryan (Ragtag))
        • 256 registered and 94 attended
      • Accessibility Trends (presenter – Stacie Caraway (Miller & Martin) and Stacie Price (Disability Rights Tennessee))
        • 288 registered and 106 attended

    b)    Guest Speaker was Jared Spool and he along with Leslie Jensen-Inman started Center Centre, a school that creates industry-ready User Experience Designers.

  4. The Disability Resource Center offers a variety of accessible technology programs across campus. JAWS and Zoom Text are currently available in the following departments: Library, Mocs One Center, Bursar, and Records Office.  
    1. JAWS – this program is a screen reader
    2. Zoom Text – this program is a screen magnification
    3. Kurzweil – this program is also a screen reader but is designed for those with ADD/ADHD.  In this program you can highlight a word to get the definition and you can also copy information to create notes. Currently there is approximately 335 users of this program on campus.
  5. The Bursar Office has developed some Instructional Videos.  These videos are in English and Spanish and also contain Closed Captioning.

  6. Students, Faculty, and Staff can report a barrier through the “Report a Barrier” link on the Accessible Technology Initiative webpage.  This has been a great tool as when someone reports something, it is then routed to the correct department so changes regarding accessibility can be addressed. The response time for this report is 24 hours

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services assists international students on the UT Chattanooga campus. The staff has training and experience in cross-cultural counseling and U.S. immigration regulations. The services offered by ISS include advising, counseling, and advocacy on the following: admissions processes, immigration issues, academic issues, and personal issues.

International students wishing to attend UTC must have a recent TOEFL score of at least 61 to be admitted as an undergraduate or 79 to be admitted as a graduate. Prospective students who are not proficient in English can take English as a Second Language courses through UTC’s ESL Institute.

During the Spring 2020 term, 190 international students were enrolled at UTC, with 66% majoring in a program within the College of Engineering & Computer Science. During both the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 terms, the most popular major for international students was the undergraduate chemical engineering program. Kuwait is the most common national origin for UTC’s international student body, making up 27% of the Spring 2020 total.

There are many opportunities for the UTC community to interact with international students. Every month, the Center for Global Education hosts an International Tea Time where students, faculty and staff can sample different types of tea while learning about other cultures. The ISS Office also has the International Buddy Program where current UTC students are paired with incoming international students to help them with their transition.

The Office of Study Abroad offers many opportunities for students to participate in an international experience. During the 2019-20 academic year, 59 UTC students studied abroad at a wide variety of locations including Costa Rica, Japan, and Switzerland. The most popular destination was South Africa with a total of 16 students followed by the Bahamas at 15.

Over the past three years, UTC has gone from having 32 active advisory boards/councils, one retired board, and four developing boards/councils to 37 active advisory boards/councils, four retired boards, and two developing boards across the University.  A total of 916 people have served serve on the active boards which are comprised of 446 females (48.69%) and 470 males (51.31%).  The ThinkAchieve Advisory Board, developed in conjunction with the launch of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) of 2011, was retired after full integration in 2016. 

In addition to community members, 72 students are currently serving as active board members.  Community members serving on the active boards represent both the public and private sectors and hold positions ranging from officers to owners.  The 37 boards have been broken down into 11 different industry types.  These types are Alumni/Student/Parent, Computer and Engineering, Consulting and Design, Education, Insurance, Legal, Medical, Politics/Finance/Religious, Sales, Support, and Utility.  

The graphs below show the distribution of the gender, industry type, and the location of the companies the board members work for.