By Lorena Grajales, News Editor─
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Chancellor, Dr. Steven Angle gave the annual State of the University Address earlier today in celebration of the school’s 134th anniversary.
Angle started his speech by discussing the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on staff, faculty and students, which caused rapid changes in course delivery and class scheduling. He expressed the university’s quick response to this challenge as a demonstration of character and display of great value placed on education.
Angle spoke on the success of online and hybrid courses, comparing the online class availability in 2013 at 13%, with the 63% availability in 2020. He also explained the many experiential opportunities still offered to students despite the switch to online learning, such as creative activities, internships and research projects.
“The quality of the overall learning experience, not the method of delivery, is our measure of impact and success. During this global pandemic, we are doing the best we possibly can,” he said.
After going over enrollment, retention and graduation rates, Angle shared two major areas he believes UTC must focus on for the upcoming academic year. First mentioned was the importance of addressing the student experience, engagement, transition to college and assured UTC would expand and create programs to bring these incoming students together for Fall 2021.
The second goal specified was the need to focus, strengthen and structure the General Education program, as the foundation for education offered at UTC. Angle shared a statement from UTC’s General Education committee, charged by Provost Jerold Hale and chaired by Dr. Lauren Ingram.
“The revised UTC General Education program will inspire students to develop skills, habits of mind and ways of being in the world that foster the intellectual dexterity…” said a member of the committee. “Students will accomplish this through an array of active learning experiences, including stimulating coursework, civic engagement and meaningful problem solving.”
Next mentioned was the necessity to embrace and invest in students of color and diverse faculty, to keep an inclusive and diverse campus. The chancellor held UTC will hold itself accountable for making substantial changes and developing a strategic plan to make sure instruction and curriculum reflect equity culture.
Angle briefly addressed a monument being built in honor of Ed Johnson, a 24-year-old black man, lynched by a white mob at the Walnut Street Bridge in 1906. He continued by describing the Styles Hutchings Fellowship, where UTC students of color can work on expanding ideas for the greater good of the community.
Towards the end, the chancellor expressed his appreciation and admiration towards the investments made on new campus buildings such as Lupton Hall, the Fine Arts Center, Fletcher Hall and others.
Finalizing the address, Angle spoke on the challenges UTC has faced since its establishment and uplifted viewers by reassuring their focal mission and purpose as a university.
“Disruptions are not new. In the past 134 years, our university has seen many. We will continue doing what we do─education─because we exist for students and our community,” he said.
To view or read Chancellor Angle’s full address, visit https://blog.utc.edu/news/2020/09/state-of-the-university-address-set-for-friday-at-noon/.