If you want to learn about the great things happening at the University of Tennessee, go to a Board of Trustees meeting. Certainly, much of the meeting involves dealing with policies and reports, but it is also an opportunity for UT campuses and institutes to tell trustees about what they are doing.
On Feb. 26-27, the winter board meeting was held in Martin at the University of Tennessee at Martin. The winter meeting rotates among the campuses. It was least held in Martin in 2010. If you’ve never been to Martin, you are missing out on visiting another really fantastic campus in the UT System. Martin is nothing like Knoxville and Chattanooga or obviously the Health Science Center based in Memphis. This is in West Tennessee flat farmland. The view from the hotel where I stayed in nearby Union City was a silo and field of what looked like harvested corn. People are very nice, and everyone at UT Martin is happy to host the board meeting.
A faculty panel about outreach mentioned how UT Martin faculty and students were involved in the exhibits at the new Discovery Park of America. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that is. The spring issue of the Alumnus has a feature about it. Basically, though, the Discovery Park of America in Union City is a smaller version of the Smithsonian that has exhibits on history, science and all sorts of other topics.
Another presentation to the board was “Partners in Crime” about a college version of the National Forensic Academy that is offered through the Institute for Public Service and administered academically by UT Martin. You can read more about this program in a previous article in the Alumnus.
A student panel gave the trustees some information about hands-on experience they received through academic programs at UT Martin. One student talked about her experience working at the last Super Bowl and another said she was able to navigate a major and career path toward investment banking through an investment competition in which a group of students managed a $700,000 portfolio. A recent alumnus got a job with the Tennessee Highway Patrol after getting a criminal justice degree and completing the NFA program. Finally, another alumna talked about her experience in the veterinary technologist program that started in 2012. You can read more about the program in this previous article.
At lunch on Thursday, there was a presentation about the new Ned McWherter Institute for Collaboration and Innovation at UT Martin. One of the students in the program, Maryanna McClure, talked about how she was invited to talk to President Obama about a research project she did on sheep breeding while she was in high school. You can read more about that in this article. She was an impressive speaker.
It’s probably interesting for alumni to hear about the emphasis today on retention of students. All three undergraduate campuses gave updates on their programs and efforts to keep students on campus.
Martin may seem out of the way for many of us who live in other parts of the state, but it is great to travel the state and see all the places the University of Tennessee is making an impact.