‘A university on the rise’ | Chancellor Plowman touts UT’s gains in flagship address

Record enrollment, and retainment are two points Plowman exemplified in the nearly 30 minute speech.
Chancellor Donde Plowman gave her 4th Flagship Address to a crowded room at the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2022 at 8:38 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Inside the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, University of Tennessee Knoxville Chancellor Dr. Donde Plowman delivered her fourth flagship address to a room full of community and university members Thursday.

Plowman’s speech lasted about 30 minutes where she highlighted a series of achievements for the university.

Among them, she listed record enrollment, record retention, record research expenditures, and an athletic department on the rise.

The athletic department’s surge in the past year is a major recruiting tool for the university.

Plowman used the Saturday of Tennessee vs. Florida as an example, as College GameDay was in front of Ayers Hall on campus, bringing the eyes of the college football world to Knoxville.

”Well, when you have college game day here for two days the whole country is looking at UT Knoxville and they’re looking at the city of Knoxville and that was a great experience for us, and it was not just great publicity for the athletic department,” said Plowman.

The athletic department’s success is driving other interests on campus as the university continues to make gains in several areas.

Plowman, however, touched on three issues facing higher education, and the wins UT is making academically.

The chancellor outlined the decline in Americans seeking a college degree, while not being seen in UT’s enrollment numbers, Plowman fears this could affect the university at some time.

The second worry for Plowman and higher education is the increased public distrust in higher education. Plowman added that the university needs to work to show people higher education is an avenue for all and not just some.

Third, Plowman believes a bleak economic outlook could impact the university soon as well.

To diversify the university, Plowman and others are working to start more degree-ready programs, training the next generation of workers to leave the classroom and go straight to trades.