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UT president speaks at UT Martin

UT president speaks at UT Martin

Posted: Friday, October 21, 2011 5:02 pm

A major component of the future of UT Martin and UT System will be strategic planning, University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro, noted during his address to campus, regional and state officials at UT Martin’s Boling University Center on Oct. 11.
“Its probably the most important thing we’ll do this first year that I’m in office,” DiPietro said.
Strategic planning, he explained, is an organized approach to taking advantage of key opportunities and trajectories that will benefit and advance UT system schools and the system as a whole.
Planning groups are currently preparing to deliver proposals to the UT Board of Trustees in June.
“So what it will do, is it will map out where we’re going, be a road map for the next six to ten years,” DiPietro said. “It will tell us how we’re going to get there, but it will talk about resources that are needed to employ the plan as well … and it will keep an eye on outcomes that will measure and make sure we are advancing the plan. The process will be very engaged.”
Each UT system school has a specifically developed strategic plan that works to build on and enhance the strengths of each campus and institute. A broader integrated plan works to strengthen all UT schools collectively.
UT Martin’s strategic plan involves expanding dual enrollment credit offerings, increasing campus outreach activities and establishing goals to maximize resources, among others.
DiPietro also emphasized the importance of keeping strategic plans flexible.
“It needs to … be something that we use to make decisions but realize that we need to have it be dynamic enough that we can make changes in directions as they’re needed, as opposed to being boxed in the next five years,” he said. “Other problems may come along that we just have to be flexible and adaptive.”
Directing his message toward state officials in attendance, DiPietro commended the Complete College Tennessee Act, which was passed by Tennessee legislators in 2010 and implemented in 2011.
“We very, very much support the Complete College Act, because its primary goals are all around completion, from the standpoint of how you all want funding for undergraduate programs and producing more graduates per unit and time.”
In closing, DiPietro made a point to acknowledge UT Martin’s vital role in the UT college system. UT Martin’s ability to broadly reach out to the western part of the state with education centers in Ripley, Parsons,Selmer and Jackson, he said, and the WestStar leadership development program, which has trained more than 600 West Tennesseans, are credible strengths.
“The ability of Martin to regionally serve people and be connected to the University of Tennessee is powerful,” Dipietro said. “There is no doubt that UT Martin is the ‘crown jewel’ of West Tennessee.”
UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes welcomed DiPietro to campus and other attendees of the event, including State House representatives Bill Sanderson and Steve McDaniel.
DiPietro’s address was the first of two UT Martin appearances on Tuesday. He later traveled to Jackson to speak at the grand opening of the UT Martin Jackson Center.

wcp 10/20/11

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