Chancellor Carver addresses enrollment, strategic plan
Contact 1: Erin Chesnut
MARTIN, Tenn. — Dr. Keith Carver, chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Martin, spoke to university faculty and staff Aug. 21 during the annual Fall Faculty Meeting that precedes each fall semester. Carver discussed improvements and expected challenges regarding student enrollment and discussed implementation of the university’s five-year strategic plan.
The university ended a six-year enrollment decline in fall 2017, and Carver says this semester will also see an increase in the number of first-time, full-time freshman students.
“We’re going to be up, again, significantly, perhaps as many as 100 or more in first-time, full-time freshmen,” he said. “We had a class of 1,052 first-time, full-time freshmen last year, and we’re expecting 1,150 this year, so that is the way we want to go. … Getting this pipeline these last two years of getting more than 1,000 freshmen to come is really exciting to me.”
According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Tennessee is expected to see a decrease in high school graduates statewide over the next six years. Carver says UT Martin’s current recruitment and retention efforts are addressing this challenge early.
“We’re recruiting now every sophomore that fits our entry profile across the state. So if they’re a sophomore and they meet our entry requirements, or look like they’re going to, they’re hearing from us when they’re 15 or 16 years old. That’s important as we continue to grow recognition,” he said. In addition to high school students statewide, UT Martin is also focusing recruitment efforts on student veterans, adults who have started but not completed college degrees, and out-of-state students within 250 miles of the main campus.
The university is also beginning implementation of the five-year strategic plan approved by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees in June. Among the goals to be addressed are improving a sense of belonging among minority students; reorganizing a specialized Office of Research, Grants and Economic Development; and using donor gifts to create competitive student scholarships.
“We have been educating students here, on this soil, for 118 years. And I know, from what our students and alumni tell us, that you, that we have done an excellent job in getting them ready, making them feel like they belong and making them feel like we have poured into them,” said Carver.
“It’s time to go back to work. Our students are here. They’re about to be in our residence halls, they’re about to be in our cafeteria, they’re about to be in our library. They’re certainly going to be in our classrooms,” he added. “So it’s time again to roll up our sleeves and do what we’ve been doing for more than a hundred years here, and … be a difference-maker in the lives of our students.”
Various college deans and department heads introduced new faculty and staff members during the meeting, including Dr. Phillip Acree Cavalier, who will begin his first semester at UT Martin as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.
For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615. The UT Martin Strategic Plan is available online at utm.edu/strategic.
PHOTO ID: Dr. Keith Carver, chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Martin, is shown speaking Aug. 21 during the 2018 Fall Faculty Meeting.