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UT President Petersen Introduces Strategic Plan


More students who finish their degrees, research that sparks economic development, and programs that reach around the world are the targets of a strategic plan being introduced this week by UT President John Petersen.

More students who finish their degrees, research that sparks economic development, and programs that reach across the state and around the world are the targets of a strategic plan being introduced this week by University of Tennessee President John Petersen.

Petersen is outlining the plan during a statewide campus tour throughout the UT System. He will meet with community leaders and area legislators on the UT Chattanooga campus Tuesday, the Martin campus Wednesday and the Knoxville campus Thursday. Meetings will be held on the Health Science Center campus in Memphis August 14. This will be the first public discussion of the plan since the University”s board approved it in June. He described it as “an ambitious approach to positioning UT to make significant and measurable contributions toward improving the life of every Tennessean.”

“As challenging as this plan”s goals are, the prospect of their results is even more exciting,” Petersen said. “With the University of Tennessee taking the lead in increasing the number of Tennesseans with college degrees, enhancing our state”s economic competitiveness and addressing issues that affect the health and well-being of our citizens, we can improve the lives of all Tennesseans.”

A year in the making, the plan is organized into three mission-oriented focus areas: student access and success; research and economic development; and outreach and globalization. Benchmarks have been set for several defining elements of each focus area, and yearly goals both external and internal are being set through 2012.

External goals are set for:

Student Access — Enrollment of underrepresented groups, enrollment overall and student scholarship support.
Student Success — Graduation rate of underrepresented groups, graduation rates overall, and among students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math.
Research — Annual research expenditures, recruitment of premier faculty, research prizes and faculty membership in prestigious national academies.
Economic Development — Intellectual property disclosures, patents issued, and economic impact of technology transfer
Outreach — Patients or clients served through University units, faculty engagement in externally funded outreach, annual expenditures for outreach.
Globalization — Students with UT-sponsored international study experience; active, formal international collaboration agreements; faculty engaged in sponsored international projects.

Internal goals address faculty salaries and size of administration budget compared to peers, staff salaries compared to market, faculty and staff diversity, and awareness of strategic emphasis components.

Petersen said a strategic vision for UT has been his top priority since becoming the University”s 23rd president on July 1, 2004. UT Executive Vice President Jack Britt has overseen plan development since it began in August 2005.

“The 21st century is going to see a steadily growing demand for a more educated workforce across the nation and in Tennessee, in particular, where we also have to have the jobs, the businesses and the industries to utilize a more educated workforce,” Britt said.

“Now and in the future, we are operating globally, not nationally, and the University of Tennessee”s strategic plan is intended to help the state thrive in the 21st century.”

Britt said in addition to producing more students with college degrees, economic development through research and economic initiatives, the plan”s outreach and globalization elements are about better dealing with change and thus uniquely suited to UT”s mission.

“Historically, land-grant universities were created as agents of change, essentially with a goal of raising up the working class — creating opportunity for whole segments of society to vastly improve their situations,” Britt said. “Based on that mission and as Tennessee”s land-grant university, we ought to be most comfortable in periods of change, and there”s no time in recent history when we faced as much rapid change as we face now.”

Petersen said plan goals also enable the University to maintain its historic place as “a major contributor to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of Tennessee.”

“As all members of the UT community work together to continuously improve the institution,” Petersen added, “we also build a university that has more and more to contribute to Tennessee”s future.”