May 27, 2011
KNOXVILLE –- As the University of Tennessee introduces more than 6,100 new graduates of its five campuses to the workforce, spring commencement season winds down with future graduates now looking forward to the possibility of finishing college faster, thanks to summer funding of lottery scholarships.
In the session just ended, the General Assembly passed legislation allowing students to apply HOPE scholarship funding to summer school beginning in 2012. This is one of many initiatives that will help students complete their degrees sooner, UT President Joe DiPietro said.
“Congratulations to all our new graduates,” DiPietro said. “Ensuring students graduate in a timely manner, are prepared to enter the workforce and are considered by the state’s leading employers are primary objectives of the University.”
Additional measures in place throughout the UT System to enable students to reach graduation more quickly and easily include implementation of new engagement and advising programs to help boost students’ productivity. New technology is being used on some campuses to streamline course registration and enhance tutoring options.
“The message being sent to current and prospective students is to plan for graduation today,” said Katie High, interim vice president for academic affairs and student success.
“We also expect to see more transfer students enter UT in coming years because of the new universal transfer paths created between community colleges and universities. Almost 50 programs now are in place to ease the transition of students from a two- to four-year degree. When a community college student with an associate’s degree transfers to UT, and follows the path for that major, all the courses will count for credit toward a bachelor’s degree.”
Of the more than 6,100 UT students earning degrees in May, 928 graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on May 7. The UT Space Institute in Tullahoma recognized 10 students during a graduate reception on May 9. UT Knoxville recognized 3,929 students during ceremonies held May 11-14. UT Martin’s commencement on May 14 included 710 students. The UT Health Science Center will graduate 615 students today during the campus’s commencement ceremony in Memphis.
Between spring and fall commencement ceremonies, UT graduates a total of 10,000 students a year, on average, and the University is working to see this number increase in the near future. The University’s alumni base exceeds 322,000, and more than 184,000 alumni live in Tennessee.