UT faces plenty of challenges, but one that easily overshadows the rest is finding sustainable, long-term funding.

Midway through 2014, I outlined our broken business model and projected a funding gap of $377 million over 10 years. Averting that gap means changing how we do business, and we must maximize effectiveness, efficiency, excellence and be more entrepreneurial. To keep tuition increases low, we must either cut costs or increase revenue outside annual tuition increases. Solving the problem should secure affordability of a public higher education at our campuses.

Overall, I am very pleased by how the University has responded to unprecedented financial challenges over the last eight years, and I know we can persevere through this challenge. I am proud that even though state support has decreased, we have awarded 22 percent more degrees and increased our four-year graduation rate by 7 percent. The quality of our students has increased, and we have continued to make strides in our research and outreach programs.

Please visit tennessee.edu/outcomes to see current available data presented to Governor Bill Haslam at his budget hearings. If you would like to know more about how you can advocate on behalf of the University, please visit our advocacy website.

Tennessee’s same funding challenges are happening throughout the country. Nationally, higher education’s business model is at a crossroads. We are tackling this problem head-on. The University will face hard decisions, but we will make them because it is the right thing to do for UT, our students and the future of Tennessee.

Joe DiPietro signature
Joe DiPietro


Current Membership


  • Dr. Steve Angle, Chancellor, UT Chattanooga
  • Dr. Keith Barber, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, UT Institute of Agriculture
  • Tony Ferrara, Vice Chancellor for Finance & Operations, UTHSC
  • Rachel Smith, Student, UT Chattanooga
  • Dr. Steve Smith, Dean of Libraries, UT Knoxville


UT System Liaisons

  • Tiffany Carpenter, Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing
  • Dr. David Golden, Executive Assistant to the President (Secretary)
  • Anthony Haynes, Vice President for Government Relations & Advocacy
  • Dr. Dennis Hengstler, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research
  • Dr. Katie High, Vice President for Academic Affairs & Student Success
  • Dr. Tonjanita Johnson, Executive Vice President & COO (Primary Staff Liaison)
  • David Miller, Chief Financial Officer
  • Dr. Stacey Patterson, Associate Vice President for Research
  • Matthew Scoggins, General Counsel