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Recognition for our academic excellence

We are not a great university because of our high-ranking programs. We have high-ranking programs because we are a great university.

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

I hope you will take a moment to celebrate with me a few of the many accomplishments of our Volunteer community. Last month, U.S. News and World Report released its annual undergraduate rankings. Many of our colleges and programs were again recognized among the best in the country. Headlined by our third-ranked supply chain management program and 11th-ranked business analytics program, the news included recognition for the Haslam College of Business (30th), the Tickle College of Engineering (35th), and the College of Nursing (42nd).

Over the past few years, programs across campus have been nationally recognized by dozens of organizations from the National Science Foundation to the Hollywood Reporter. We are known around the country and beyond for our academic excellence in information sciences, nuclear and aerospace engineering, metallurgy, acting, printmaking, law, business administration, social work, and other fields.

It is encouraging to be recognized by others, and it is important to celebrate our successes. Our faculty and staff dedicate themselves to delivering a world-class education to our students. In turn, our students work hard to absorb that education and go on to succeed in professional careers and graduate programs. But, as I said in my Flagship Address, the accolades and rankings are not what define us.

We are not a great university because of our high-ranking programs. We have high-ranking programs because we are a great university.

Over the summer, I toured the Forensic Anthropology Center for the first time. This world-renowned facility, led by some of the most impressive faculty I’ve ever met, conducts groundbreaking research that is leading to investigative techniques and changing the field of forensic anthropology. Students come from all over the country to study under its expert faculty. Law enforcement officers come from all over the world to learn the latest investigative techniques. This is just one example of the amazing work we are doing that is improving life and lives in Tennessee and beyond.

Our research is transforming entire disciplines, our education is preparing the next generation of leaders, and our commitment to service is helping those who need our resources and expertise. More students than ever are choosing to become Volunteers. I am proud of all our academic programs and their successes. The momentum we are building right now will help propel us to an even brighter future.

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Donde Plowman