UT System Interim President Randy Boyd hosted the President’s Town Hall Tour at the University of Tennessee at Martin on March 10 in Watkins Auditorium to discuss his vision for creating the greatest decade in UT history if he were to be named president of the UT System.
“When we talk about this being the greatest decade, that’s a big challenge, but I think we’re up to it,” said Boyd. “I also want to say this is not meant as any disrespect to those who came before us; I think they expect us to build on the foundation they have given us and to make this the greatest decade… We owe that to them…”
During the town hall meeting, Boyd discussed five key goals he believes will create a successful “One UT System” culture:
- Student success: Creating the opportunity for higher education for all Tennesseans and the resources needed for each student to graduate and be successful through programs, like the UT Promise. The UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship for students in low-income households that promotes socioeconomic equality, accountability and support in the classroom, according to Boyd.
- Research: Capitalizing on research opportunities for students and faculty in order to contribute to the UT research mission through partnerships with organizations like the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 2019, the UT System had $424 million worth of research expenditures, the most the system has ever produced before in one year.
- Service: Making a difference in communities across Tennessee by identifying common issues that can be solved through the sustainable resources the UT System can provide, such as the current fight against the opioid crisis. By utilizing the geographic reach of the UT System, the institution is capable of solving long-term problems that continue to afflict Tennessee.
- Collaboration: Introducing cost-effective initiatives for day-to-day operations to save resources that will then in turn be used to support students and faculty.
- Building the UT brand: Creating a recognizable and respected UT brand that promotes transparency and community in the UT System.
“The most important thing I could do would be creating a ‘One UT’ culture,” said Boyd. “The most important thing we want to leave our system with is the idea of how we can work together to be more effective… Yes, every one of our universities is different… but if we’re all the same, there would be no reason to work together. We wouldn’t learn from each other. The strength of working together outweighs our differences.”
“When we work together, there is not a single problem in the state of Tennessee that we can’t solve.”
After his speech, Boyd opened the floor up to the audience members to ask questions and give feedback about his abilities to take on the official role as UT president.
Boyd began the tour to all UT campuses after the Feb. 19 UT Board of Trustees meeting in which the removal of the interim designation from his title as UT President was proposed. Boyd was urged to visit each campus to share his goals for being UT President and to receive feedback from faculty, students, alumni and community members on his performance to date as interim president before final decisions are made.
Boyd has served as the interim president since November of 2018 and spent his first day in office at UT Martin. Once the President’s Town Hall Tour is complete, the board of trustees will evaluate the system’s response and vote whether or not to allow Boyd to serve for an additional five years.
For more information, visit https://tennessee.edu/transparency.