Creating a Future Where Every Tennessean Can Thrive

Category: Column

This week, the “State of the University of Tennessee” address was distributed to faculty, staff, students and thousands of stakeholders across our great state.  The focus of the address was to outline our mission for 2023…and we indeed have a bold mission before us.

Tennessee is facing seemingly impossible challenges around issues such as the opioid addiction crisis, teacher shortages, low student performance in school, health and mental care scarcities, among others.  While these are not altogether new issues, they have progressed to the point where we may feel compelled to label these as Grand Challenges.

Grand Challenges represent complex, interconnected, large-scale issues that, if left unaddressed, would continue to create uncertain futures for Tennesseans. While these challenges are becoming more common across the U.S., accepting their normalization is not something the University is willing to do.

UT and its partners are aiming to create a future where every Tennessean can thrive. To do so, we are focusing initial efforts in three key areas:

  • Advancing K-12 education,
  • Strengthening rural communities, and
  • Overcoming addiction

UT is willing and ready to work on these grand challenges. With our five campuses and two institutes, the University of Tennessee System can uniquely collaborate with communities across the state to solve problems so future generations can thrive.

By harnessing the collective power of human relationships, research, science, technology and imagination, not only can we transform the future of Tennessee, but also the nation and world.

Will you join us? It will take experts from a myriad of areas working together to straighten what has been snarled.

I invite you to learn more about our grand challenges by visiting Together, we will usher in a better tomorrow for all of Tennessee and make this the greatest decade – not just in the history of UT, but for all of Tennessee.

Randy Boyd
President, The University of Tennessee System