Our Journey

Our journey is one with an ambitious goal—to join the ranks of the nation’s Top 25 public research universities. In conjunction with Vol Vision, the university’s strategic plan, we embarked on our journey in 2010. In the years since, we have made great strides in improving our students’ experiences while making new discoveries and engaging with our local and global communities.

The focus of our journey is on five priority areas: undergraduate education; graduate educationfacultyresearch and engagement; and infrastructure and resources. Though we track our progress by consulting U.S. News and World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” and other consumer rankings, our measurements are much broader.

This site serves as a record of our journey—where we have been, where we are now, and where we intend to go. It shows that our progress has made a tremendous difference on campus. Through our leadership in innovation and economic development, our progress has also made a significant difference for the citizens of the state of Tennessee.

Every day we become a better institution, which helps us become an even better investment for our students and the state.

Our Progress


Undergraduate Education

Our first-year retention rate is 85%, the same as last year.


Graduate Education

We awarded 319 doctoral degrees, almost fifty more degrees than the previous year.


Research & Engagement

Our federal research expenditures increased by $22 million since last year.



Our faculty awards remain at the same level as last year.


Infrastructure & Resources

Our teacher and support expenditures per student are up by $275 since last year.