UT leaders want to boost enrollment
By: The Associated Press
The Messenger 12.26.07
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Leaders at the University of Tennessee want to boost enrollment at the flagship campus in Knoxville to 33,000 students in 10 years.
That would be an increase of about 21.5 percent from the campus’ current student population of 27,154 and would require as many as 400 new faculty members and new facilities.
Chancellor Loren Crabtree believes that without such growth, the Knoxville campus will never rise to the ranks of top-tier public research institutions.
UT “is a fine university, but as the flagship it is too small to fulfill all our obligations to the people of Tennessee,” Crabtree said.
Applications for the fall 2008 freshman class are already up 15 percent over last year, said Tom Milligan, UT vice chancellor of communications. About 13,000 students applied for approximately 4,200 spots in the fall 2007 freshman class.
Since 2003, the Knoxville campus has grown about 8 percent as lottery-funded scholarships have made it easier for students to pay for college.
And as enrollment has grown, so has the academic achievement of students.
It’s also put a lot of pressure on the existing facilities on the Knoxville campus, which has little free land for additional buildings.
Crabtree said the school will have to get creative and look toward downtown Knoxville, the Cumberland Avenue commercial district and land across the Tennessee River from the campus.
A 33-member committee that includes faculty, staff, one Student Government Association representative and administrators will formulate a strategic plan for the so-called “33 for Tennessee” initiative.
The new committee will look at how other universities handle growth and involve campus groups for input through town hall meetings, Milligan said.
The strategic plan is expected to be in place by the end of spring semester.
Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, www.knoxnews.com