Table of Contents

We Are One

Annual Report of the President of the University of Tennessee

we are educators.

two young men dressed in costume on a darkened stage
Cody Jarman, left, plays Friar Laurence while Dillon Davis plays Juliet in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at UT Martin.
A young man in costume cradling a skull on a darkened stage
Cody Jarman plays Hamlet in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at UT Martin.

All The World’s A Stage

When Cody Jarman (UT Martin, ’15) traveled to Ireland in 2013, he had no idea that trip across the Atlantic would change his life.

Now, a Fulbright Scholarship, one of the first awarded to a UT Martin graduate, is sending Jarman back to the Emerald Isle to study Irish literature and film at University College Cork.

“Being able to see firsthand Ireland’s struggle to find and define itself through its art drew me in,” he said. “From Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde to James Joyce and William Butler Yeats, it’s difficult to study English without being inundated with Irish literature.”

The Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee native began his journey in September and will return to begin a doctoral program in English at the University of Texas at Austin in fall 2017.

“I actually hope to end up teaching at a small, primarily undergraduate university, ideally something like UT Martin, where I can be the same kind of supportive mentor that many of my UT Martin professors have been to me,” he said.

“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”

Robert M. Hutchins
A young bearded man sitting on a staircase with an open laptop on his lap
Cody Barnes has found success with help from UTC’s Disability Resource Center

Transformative Power of Support

“Without the Disability Resource Center, I definitely would not be employed as I am and as successfully socially as I am,” said UT Chattanooga senior engineering major Cody Barnes. “I was quite an anxious person, nervous about everything, horribly terrified to even speak to people.“

Today, Barnes is on schedule to graduate in May 2017 and works a new job in the IT department at a Fortune 500 company.

Success stories like Barnes’s landed UTC’s Disability Resource Center national recognition for the services it provides to all students. The College Choice recently ranked UT Chattanooga among the top 50 universities in the country—and the only Tennessee university to make the list—for serving students with disabilities.

College Choice particularly noted UTC’s MoSAIC program, which serves students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. MoSAIC provides mentoring and academic/life coaching and prepares students for careers beyond the classroom.

“The curriculum was a transformative process. Basically I didn’t have any innate tools that most people have for social interactions—reading body language, being able to hear things in people’s tone, things of that nature. Over time, they helped me create tools that I could use to succeed,” said Barnes.

“They will absolutely never give up on you, even if you have given up on yourself. There were times that I went through some very traumatic situations. And despite everything that I might have felt about myself and my situation, they would always assure me that there was a future for me.”

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela
freshmen welcomed onto UTK campus fall 2016
UTK total enrollment more than
class of
largest first-year class in at least three decades
incoming freshmen average ACT score of
average high school GPA of incoming freshmen

Changes in the East

Students and staff returned to Rocky Top, this fall, to find the $1 billion campus makeover still going strong. Two new residence halls opened, another neared completion while two new academic buildings took shape, and the second phase of the Student Union rose at the corner of Cumberland Avenue and Phillip Fulmer Way.

Also taking form is Experience Learning, a new campus-wide initiative that will provide students with an increasing number of courses that use real-world problem-solving and hands-on experiences to enhance learning. The key agent of all this change—the campus’s Journey to the Top 25—marked its five-year point in 2015 with significant success in key areas, including a 9 percent increase in the six-year graduation rate and a 3 percent increase in retention.

A refreshed version of the plan, Vol Vision 2020, sets goals for the next five years to continue improvement in undergraduate and graduate education, faculty and staff, research and engagement, and resources and infrastructure. It also adds diversity and inclusion as a new priority area and emphasizes the “Volunteer Difference,” the unique set of strengths that sets UT Knoxville apart from its peers.

A student studies in the Humanities Amphitheater at UT Knoxville