Beginning of the Academic Year
Welcome back to campus for the fall 2012 semester. I hope you have had a restful and productive summer. As the semester's activities begin, I would like to introduce you to our incoming students and remind you of existing programs and offerings.
The class of 2016 consists of 4,200 students and is among the best and brightest ever. They bring to campus a 3.9 high school grade-point average (GPA) and a 27 average ACT score. Forty-four percent of the class enters with a 4.0 high school GPA. To gauge just how much our students have changed, compare the above numbers to those of students who entered UT Knoxville with an average of 3.68 GPA and 25.9 ACT in 2008 and 3.45 GPA and 24.7 ACT in 2004. Tennessee residents account for 89 percent of this incoming class, with minority enrollment at 19 percent. The Tennessee Pledge Scholarship, which is awarded on the basis of extreme financial need, is assisting 13 percent of this class and most in-state students hold a Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship.
This fall also brings along some undergraduate policy changes related to advanced placement exam credits, high school deficiencies, and maximum credit hours from other institutions. Please see the undergraduate catalog for more details.
For 2012-2013, the Graduate School awarded 45 internal fellowships to outstanding applicants, including 10 continuing 4-year fellowships sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor. NSF Graduate Research Fellowships have increased from 5 to 9. The number of external fellowships received by our graduate students continues to grow as well.
In 2011-2012, policies on admission requirements and procedures were revised by the Graduate Council to streamline the admission process and channel applications to the academic departments in a rapid turnaround. Readmission and change of program processes were revised to improve access and turn around on requests by using web based forms rather than paper. Further enhancements in electronic processing of graduate applications are anticipated in the coming year. A policy on concurrent master's degrees was approved to expedite pathways for students to receive a master's degree on the way to the Ph.D.
Whenever students have a question you are unable to answer, or when they are struggling in your course and need assistance, please direct them to the Student Success Center or the Graduate School. For the protocol for handling distressed students, please visit the VolAware website. To report troubling student behavior, you also may call 974-HELP. Finally, the Teaching Guide, which contains this and much more useful information, can be consulted on the Provost's website.
Thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of the students of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Posted: August 20, 2012