University of Tennessee system: Wikis


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University of Tennessee
Established 1968
Type Public University system
Endowment US$1 billion
President Jan Simek (Interim)
Faculty 2,250
Staff 6,950
Students 44,595
Undergraduates 34,539
Postgraduates 10,056
Location Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Campus Five campuses (Three primary, one medical, one graduate and research institution)

The University of Tennessee system (UT system) is one of two public university systems in the state of Tennessee. It consists of three primary campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin, a health sciences campus in Memphis and a research institute in Tullahoma.

The University of Tennessee system has a combined student enrollment of more than 44,000 students, over 260,000 living alumni, and a total endowment of approximately $867 million.[1]



The University of Tennessee was founded in Knoxville as Blount College in 1794. The university was designated as the state's land-grant institution in 1869, and gained the name UT in 1879. The medical campus was founded in Memphis in 1911.

In 1927, UT acquired Hall-Moody Institute and renamed it to the University of Tennessee Junior College. In 1951, the school began awarding bachelor degrees and became the University of Tennessee Martin Branch. In 1968, the UT system was officially formed, with the University of Tennessee at Martin and UT Knoxville as the primary campuses.

That same year, the Tennessee state legislature gave UT permission to establish a campus in Chattanooga, which was the largest city in Tennessee without a public university. The private University of Chattanooga determined that it could not raise enough private capital to compete with a public institution, and agreed to merge with UT to form the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1969.

Also in 1968, UT announced plans to create a campus in Nashville, expanding an existing UT center of education created in 1947. Rita Sanders Geier filed a desegregation lawsuit against the state, arguing the existence of a UT campus in Nashville where Tennessee State University is located perpetuated a dual system of higher education. As a result, the UT Nashville campus was eventually merged with TSU by court order in 1979.[2]


The University of Tennessee system is governed by the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee. There are five ex officio members and twenty-one appointed members. The ex officio members are the Governor, the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Commissioner of Education, the President of the University, and the Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The Executive Director of THEC does not have a vote, however.

One member is appointed from each of Tennessee's nine congressional districts. Two members each are appointed from Knox and Shelby Counties. One member each is appointed from Hamilton, Weakley, and Davidson Counties. One member is appointed from Anderson, Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Lincoln, Moore, or Warren County.

Two faculty members of the UT system serve as faculty members of the Board, serving two-year terms. Each faculty member serves a two-year term, as a non-voting member is year one and a voting member in year two. The appointments rotate among the three primary campuses and Health Science Center.

Likewise, two students serve as members in similar fashion. The faculty member and student member are appointed from the same campus in the same year. For example, if the voting faculty member is from UT Martin, the voting student member is also from UT Martin.


There are five educational units of the University system. Three are considered to be one entity, the University of Tennessee.


University of Tennessee

  • UT Knoxville is the flagship campus of the UT system. The largest university in the state, it has a current total enrollment of 26,400. UT awarded 5,700 degrees in over 300 programs in the 2005-06 academic year.

While not a separate entity, UT Knoxville operates a campus in Nashville that is part of the UT Knoxville College of Social work. The Nashville Campus awards the M.S.S.W. in conjunction with UT Knoxville.

  • The University of Tennessee Health Science Center with its main campus in Memphis. UTHSC offers a wide variety of degree programs among its six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also has colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy plus an Allied Health Sciences unit in Knoxville, and a College of Medicine campus in Chattanooga. In addition the Health Science Center has more than 100 clinical and educational sites statewide.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

UTC is a metropolitan campus located in downtown Chattanooga. The university was founded as a private school in 1886 and currently has over 10,000 students.

University of Tennessee at Martin

Located in rural northwest Tennessee, UT Martin has almost 6,900 students.


The university system is administered by a president, currently Dr. John D. Petersen, who was named the system's 23rd president on July 1, 2004. President Petersen is currently on administrative leave from the University until July 1, 2009 following his February 18, 2009 resignation from the University of Tennessee. Professor Jan Simek is currently serving as acting President until a suitable, permanent replacement can be found. Each of the five campuses is administered by a chancellor. Administrators on each campus report to their respective chancellors, who in turn report to the president. The only exceptions are the athletic directors of the Knoxville campus, who report directly to the president and not the Knoxville chancellor.

Other Units

The University of Tennessee system has other units that provide service to the state of Tennessee and to the nation.

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

The Institute of Agriculture is composed of the Agricultural Experiment Station, UT Extension and Knoxville's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and College of Veterinary Medicine. The Institute has a presence in all 95 counties through its educational programs in agriculture, home economics, resource development and 4-H programs.

University of Tennessee Institute of Public Service

The Institute for Public Service was created in 1971 as a part of the university "to provide continuing research and technical assistance to state and local government and industry and to meet more adequately the need for information and research in business and government."

UT-ORNL Partnership

UT Knoxville and Battelle Memorial Institute are 50-50 partners in UT-Battelle, which manages the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the United States Department of Energy.

Naming Conventions

The university system has long struggled to come up with concrete naming conventions for its individual units. A consulting study by Keith Moore Associates called the differentiating of the system from the Knoxville campus "one of the thorniest internal problems facing the university."[3]

The system is usually referred to as the University of Tennessee system. However, many times the term University of Tennessee is also used to refer to the system as a whole.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is often referred to as simply UT, especially by the general public. UTK is considered to be a correct abbreviation, but UT Knoxville is preferred.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is properly abbreviated as UTC. Athletics teams prefer to be called simply Chattanooga. UT Chattanooga is generally frowned upon by the campus, but is used widely in system publications.

The University of Tennessee at Martin prefers UT Martin to UTM, except in headlines.

UT Branding Campaign

On September 19, 2006, the University of Tennessee system unveiled its new branding campaign. The campaign was centered on the orange UT logo that incorporates the shape of the state into its design.

The campaign focuses on the word FUTURE, with the letters "UT" replaced by the system logo. Other words used in the campaign include SLEUTH, NEUTRONS and COMPUTATION. The advertising to promote the brand includes billboards, magazine ads and television spots.[4]

The UT system plans to use the new brand to assist its $1 billion fundraising effort. In 2006, UT raised $271 million towards this goal.[5]


The branding campaign has caused controversy on the Chattanooga campus. Faculty and alumni have expressed concern over the "influx of orange," a result of the system using Volunteer athletic success as the basis of the brand. Many have suggested the university return to a previous name of Chattanooga University or the University of Chattanooga.

The UTC alumni board have asked alumni and supporters for their opinions on the branding campaign. The alumni board plans to release the results in the summer.[6]

See also

External links


  1. ^ "2006-07 Facts & Figures". University of Tennessee. Retrieved 2007-07-27.  
  2. ^ McGinnis, Dr. H Coleman. "Geier Case History". Tennessee State University. Retrieved 2007-07-27.  
  3. ^ White, Dr. Candace; and Antoaneta Vanc. "Comprehensive Analysis of Consultants’ Plans and Survey Data about Perceptions and Communication at The University of Tennessee". University of Tennessee. p. 12. Retrieved 2007-07-27.  
  4. ^ "Future". University of Tennessee. Retrieved 2007-07-27.  
  5. ^ Sullivan, Joe (2007). "John Petersen's Scorecard". Metro Pulse. Retrieved 2007-07-27.  
  6. ^ "Input Sought On UTC "Rebranding"". The Chattanoogan. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2007-07-27.  


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