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Impact of “One UT” stressed in yesterday’s “State of the University” video

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Randy Boyd Yesterday

In a jampacked pre-recorded video unveiled yesterday afternoon, University of Tennessee System (UT) President Randy Boyd and the five Chancellors of its campuses highlighted progress made in the past year on the five pillars of the institution’s strategic plan.

The slightly under 20-minute video spotlighted: (1) enhancing educational excellence (covered by UT Southern Chancellor Mark La Branche); (2) expanding research capabilities (reviewed by UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman); (3) fostering outreach and engagement (covered by Peter Buckley, the newly named Chancellor of the UT Health Science Center); (4) ensuring workforce and administrative excellence (summarized by UT Chattanooga Chancellor Steve Angle); and (5) advocating for UT (reviewed by UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver).

The video can be watched at your convenience at this YouTube link.

Plowman Yesterday

Each of the topics is critically important to the success of UT as Boyd noted in his introductory and concluding comments. In her segment, Plowman cited three different initiatives that have been the topics of frequent articles in teknovation.biz.

  • She thanked the U.S. Department of Energy, Governor Bill Lee, and the General Assembly for providing a combined $28 million for the new UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute which allowed the program to begin “building a solid foundation for the future.” That includes three new doctoral program at the Knoxville campus. (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Governor has proposed $72 million in his 2022-23 budget that would complete the state’s commitment.)
  • She cited the new “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator” which launched its inaugural cohort on Monday. Calling out UT’s two partners in the endeavor – Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority, Plowman said, “We have a shared mission in identifying, developing, and implementing innovative solutions across industries of the future. We will help world-class start-ups build and scale breakthrough technologies that help address some of our world’s most pressing problems.”
  • Finally, she talked about the tremendous growth at the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, noting that the number of tenants had tripled during the two-year period when the world was adversely impacted by COVID-19. Plowman also talked about the “Spark Cleantech Accelerator” for which recruitment is currently underway.

After the five presentations by the Chancellors, Boyd said one word – “Wow.” Noting that “we have a lot to be proud of as a state and university,” he quickly added, “We still have a long way to go to make sure we have the educated workforce to make our state as successful as it can be.”

Boyd talked about thinking differently and expanding the way to deliver education to students and concluded,” At UT, we are not just committed to doing our part but to lead by being bold and innovative. 2021 was an incredible year. Working together as One UT, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.”

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