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Governor Bill Haslam Supports U of M Priorities

For release: September 5, 2013
For press information, contact Linda Bonnin, 901/678-3949

In a visit to the University of Memphis campus today, Gov. Bill Haslam met with several members of the university’s senior leadership team to review recently announced strategic initiatives.

Last month, U of M interim president Brad Martin, announced eight key priorities for his tenure. These include increasing the graduation rate of this year’s entering class to 55 percent and enhancing the role of the U of M’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences in the significant efforts underway to have world-class schools in Memphis and Shelby County.

“The University of Memphis plays a significant role in Tennessee’s educational success,” Haslam said. “This includes our ‘Drive to 55’ initiative aimed at raising the number of Tennesseans with a certificate or degree beyond high school from 32 percent, where we are today, to 55 percent by the year 2025 to keep pace with job demand. It also includes intentional teacher preparation so Tennessee students graduate from high school prepared for college and, ultimately, a good-paying, high-quality job.”

Haslam told Martin that in addition to the U of M’s college completion initiative, he supports its goal of providing 4,000 great teachers over the next 10 years to local schools.

While on campus, the governor also met with Donald I. Wagner, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, and some of his faculty.

“What the governor saw is a talented team of educators and administrators who have embraced not only the vision he has for college completion in the state, but also the university’s aspiration to become the leading producer of great K-12 educators in the nation,” said Wagner. “The governor’s support is critical as we move toward these ambitious goals.”

As the founding program of the University of Memphis, the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences dates back to 1912, when the university first opened its doors as West Tennessee State Normal School. Today, the College enrolls more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students in nationally-accredited programs. It is also home to 14 research centers and institutes that build partnerships with the dynamic communities that they serve.

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