Faculty and Staff:

We have received our latest performance funding data from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), and we continue to make progress. With respect to outcomes, the most critical data points revolve around completion metrics, including the number of those graduating (both undergraduate and graduate), degrees per full time equivalent (FTE) and graduation rate. From 2012-13 to 2015-2016, total bachelor degrees awarded increased from 2,887 to 3,038 (5% increase). Our master and doctoral degrees have been fairly steady, fluctuating between 900-1000 master degrees per year and 260 doctoral degrees. Our degrees per FTE, which is an overall efficiency measure, increased from 20.0 to 22.8 (a 14% increase in efficiency). Over the last two years our graduation rate has hovered around 49%, but it has slipped slightly to 47.2% for the 2015-2016 six-year cohort, a trend that was consistent with all of our TBR university partners. Despite the increase in overall graduation numbers, this hints at an underlying retention problem that has persisted for decades and one that we are targeting with a clear and well-coordinated strategy. It also suggests that our efforts targeting completion for students previously disengaged (and well beyond the six-year graduation window) have been successful.

Similarly, our quality indicators were very positive for the past academic year. Our score summary is provided below. As you can see from the description of quality assurance funding, the assessment is geared toward incentivizing meritorious performance. Two years ago our score was 87, compared to 90 last year and this year's score of 92. As you know, we all strive for excellence, and this is evidence of significant and steady progress toward that goal. All indicators show that we are making progress across multiple fronts, and most importantly, we are providing a high quality and comprehensive educational experience for our students.

Thank you for your hard work, your commitment to our students and serving our community so well.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor