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Chancellor says UT Martin well positioned for the future

Chancellor says UT Martin well positioned for the future

Posted: Wednesday, September 2, 2009 10:41 am

The Messenger 09.02.09
University of Tennessee at Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes sees plenty of opportunities amid challenging times.
Rakes told those attending last week’s fall faculty meeting, “Our future is bright because we are well-positioned and balanced. I could not be more proud of where we are at this point in time.”
Confident of the process and outcome of budget decisions made last fall, Rakes said, “There are challenges ahead, but … we have many positives to cheer.”
Rakes said the university as a whole is adjusting to changes in operations, instructional offerings, delivery modes and overall campus-wide resources. He also made reference to stimulus funds as a means to acquire scientific, communications, musical and technology-related equipment and support for other university initiatives and programs that will serve the university well for many years.
The chancellor cited effective faculty leadership as one of the university’s strengths and thanked those who have served through the years.
He also pointed to increased internship opportunities, strong showings in assessments and comparative measurements, such as continuing increases in ACT scores of incoming students, steady enrollment growth and higher graduation rates, as positives.
“We measure up very well,” he said.
Playing an important role in student access are the online bachelor’s and master’s programs, extended campuses in Jackson, Selmer, Ripley and Parsons and the dual-enrollment program — the latter two representing nearly 11 percent of the total university enrollment, he said.
Rakes included successful development efforts — exceeding $11 million in giving this year — research, grant and scholarly activity along with ongoing and recently completed capital-building projects as examples of capacity-building efforts for the future.
Finally, he mentioned community-service projects carried out by students, faculty and staff that benefit the community and surrounding area.
“Here, service to other people counts,” he said.
Looking ahead to the new school year, he said the university would be called upon to be more inclusive, diverse with an “expanded view of the individuals and world around us.”
In closing, he also asked the faculty to focus on perceptions and highlighted how powerful perceptions about the university can be. He added that the statements made on and off campus and observations to someone in the community and to each other, have a direct bearing on how the university is viewed.
“What we benefit from are solution-finding, capacity-building comments. We can be as good as we want to be,” he said.
Rakes thanked faculty members for their service to the university and added, “I really feel blessed to work here with you.”
The showing of the university’s new promotional video capturing academics, service learning, diversity, quality of life and other strengths closed out the meeting.

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