Investing in Student Success
It never gets old seeing new Volunteers—nearly 7,000 this year—standing together and pledging to light the way for others. Torch Night is one of my favorite traditions and a rite of passage for every student on Rocky Top. It’s a moving experience that connects students to the university and to one another.
Research shows that finding community and a sense of belonging is critical to success in and out of the classroom, and that’s why we’ve made significant investments in providing the experiences and resources students need.
This fall, more than 91 percent of last year’s first-year students returned for their sophomore year—a record. This retention rate is an important early indicator of how many students will go on to graduate. Graduation is our goal for every student, and the graduation rate is also on the rise at UT.
The Division of Student Success, our faculty, and others across campus continue to reimagine the student experience on Rocky Top and invest in our students’ success. In the past four years, we have launched Vol Success Teams, created specialized programs like the Veterans Impact Program and UT Success Academy, rolled out a strengths-based approach to success in and out of the classroom, and developed resources like dynamic academic planners. Our team is always looking for new and creative ways to build connections and meet the needs of our students.
Our focus on student success initiatives sets us apart. It’s one of the many reasons students want to be Volunteers—because they know they have the support and tools to thrive here on Rocky Top.