Go back

News in higher education

Tennessee's colleges and universities are obliged to serve the role of economic development engine and train a work force prepared to fill local jobs.

That was the message recently by John Petersen, president of the University of Tennessee, during multiple presentations on the campus of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Memphis was the final stop for Petersen's tour throughout the UT system, in which he visited each campus to lay out the results of a yearlong effort to develop a strategic plan for the UT system.
Tennessee's colleges and universities are obliged to serve the role of economic development engine and train a work force prepared to fill local jobs.

That was the message recently by John Petersen, president of the University of Tennessee, during multiple presentations on the campus of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Memphis was the final stop for Petersen's tour throughout the UT system, in which he visited each campus to lay out the results of a yearlong effort to develop a strategic plan for the UT system.

Petersen promised to post those specifics on the UT Web site so the public can hold the school accountable.

Along with presenting the strategic plan, Petersen also introduced a new corporate style to the academic institution. Though he never specifically said UT must be run like a business, business elements are present in how he intends to lead the university, such as benchmarking to assess performance.

"In this state we are leaving $19 billion of economy on the table just by not educating our people to the national average," he says. (Aug. 15, 2006, Memphis Business Journal)

U.S. News & World Report once again ranked Tennessee Tech University among the south's best universities in its 2007 America's Best Colleges guide released recently.

Tennessee Tech University remains the only Tennessee school to be ranked as a Top Public University in the South according to the guide. TTU is tied for 11th place in the Top Public list.

This marks the fifth year U.S.News & World Report has given TTU top billing among Tennessee public universities.

TTU also is ranked among the Best Universities (which includes both public and private institutions) for the southern region this year, tied for 33rd, and up three places from the 2006 rankings.

"This recognition is indicative of the quality that's evident on our campus and in our programs," said TTU President Bob Bell. "Our attention to quality programs, exceptional faculty and successful students has helped us earn this ranking, and I expect it will help us continue to climb. But rankings can't depict everything about a university. The culture, character, dedication and attitude expressed by everyone on this campus are what truly make TTU one of the best universities anywhere."

The magazine's ranking system is based on two main pillars, according to U.S. News editors. It relies on quantitative measures of academic quality and the editors' view of what matters in education.

Several indicators were used to determine a school's academic quality: peer assessment, student retention and graduation, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving rates. (Cookeville-Herald Citizen, Aug. 20, 2006)

Head Start has donated $1.4 million to the University of Memphis College of Education to fund educational services for 76 Shelby County children and their families.

The grant from Shelby County Head Start will be distributed over an 18-month period for educational services, professional development of Head Start teachers and other service providers associated with the program.

The program will be centered at two sites, the Lipman School at the University of Memphis and True Light Baptist Church, where services will be offered to students in the classroom and organizers hope to reach out to Latino children and families in the neighborhood.

"This grant means that we'll be able to develop two Head Start centers of learning that will be model teaching sites," said Deb Moberly, director of the program at the University, in a statement. "Head Start is a very comprehensive program for children, covering health, nutrition and education issues."

Moberly said the College of Education is very excited about becoming a part of the Head Start program, which has been very successful across the U.S. (Memphis Business Journal, Aug. 16, 2006)

The University of Tennessee plans to self-report to the Southeastern Conference a
secondary violation of NCAA rules regarding prohibited supplemental pay for receivers coach Trooper Taylor.

At issue is a gathering Taylor said he attended last month at the Memphis home of UT Board of Trustees member Karl Schledwitz. Taylor was paid what he said was a “couple thousand dollars” to speak to a group of UT boosters at Schledwitz's home.

“I've done that at other schools and know coaches at other schools who've been doing it forever,” said Taylor, who will receive a letter of admonishment as part of UT's self report.

“It's like I told our compliance people. If I thought for one second that I was doing something illegal, I would have never done it," Taylor told The Tennessean. "The one thing I pride myself on is that when I lie down at night, I don't have to worry about anybody looking over my shoulder.”

Coaches are allowed under NCAA rules to earn outside income via “bona fide employment,” such as speaking at touchdown club meetings or chamber of commerce meetings.

But the rule that got Taylor was NCAA bylaw 11.3.2.2. It states that an outside source is prohibited from paying or regularly supplementing an athletics department staff member's annual salary and from arranging to supplement that salary for an unspecified achievement.
Tennessee Athletics Director Mike Hamilton said he would wait and comment after the report is filed. (The Tennessean, Aug. 14, 2006)