Pictured above – Tennessee Tech President Phil Oldham presenting to trustees.

Trustees acted to bolster Tech’s role as a top producer of educators in the state by approving a new Ph.D. in higher education

Cookeville – The Board of Trustees at Tennessee Tech University approved new academic programs, appointed a new student trustee and passed a minimal tuition adjustment in line with other public universities across the state at its quarterly meeting June 22. 

Trustees acted to bolster Tech’s role as a top producer of educators in the state by approving a new Ph.D. in higher education, which Provost Lori Mann Bruce explained “is designed for candidates pursuing careers using cutting-edge data analytics to serve as academic faculty, university administrators, policy analysts and educational researchers in higher education institutions across the state and nation.”

The proposal has already received preliminary support from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and will now be sent back to THEC for final approval at its July commission meeting. The university plans to begin enrollment in the program as soon as this fall.

“The proposed program carries on the tradition of Tennessee Tech University leading in innovation and STEM-driven academic programs in the state,” added Provost Bruce.

Also at the meeting, trustees approved a new master’s degree in learning design and technology. Individuals in the new master’s program will gain knowledge and skills necessary to design and implement instructional programs that incorporate the use of advanced technologies, such as virtual reality, for both face-to-face and online educational programs. These skills are highly sought after in industry, education and government institutions.

Both the new Ph.D. and master’s programs will be offered fully online so they can serve full-time students and working professionals who wish to enroll part-time in the programs.

The board meeting additionally saw the appointment of a new student trustee following current student trustee Savannah Griffin’s graduation from the university last May. Trustees approved the nomination of Addison Dorris, a rising senior marketing and business management major from Portland, Tennessee, to serve as student trustee for the 2023-2024 year. 

Dorris has served in numerous roles across campus, including as student body president for the 2022-2023 year. She has also served as a student orientation assistant, peer mentor, director of philanthropy for Alpha Delta Pi and as president of the College of Business Ambassadors.

Consistent with other public universities across the state, trustees also approved a minimal increase of 2.93% to tuition and mandatory fees, below the tuition increase cap established by THEC and the current rate of inflation. The changes amount to an average cost increase of $154 per student per semester.

Mandatory fees at Tech remain among the lowest of public universities in Tennessee. 

“As trustees heard today, Tennessee Tech is approaching the fall semester from a position of strength,” said Tennessee Tech President Phil Oldham. “Together, the Tech community set a record on sponsored research, we secured more than $80 million in annual state appropriations for our students in the state’s most recent budget, we are adding to our more than 200 academic programs, and we are embarking on exciting capital projects that provide our students with state-of-the-art spaces to innovate, create and learn.”

The tuition and mandatory fee adjustment comes as Tech continues to be recognized as providing the highest return on investment for any public university in Tennessee while also equipping graduates with the highest early career salary and the lowest debt of all public university graduates in the state. 

“Moreover, while we are still in the final leg of our recruitment cycle, current enrollment trends suggest an opportunity to grow our overall student population once again, buoyed by a particularly strong retention rate among rising sophomores and an academically strong, more diverse incoming freshman class. These hard-won achievements reflect the dedication of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the strategic leadership of our trustees,” continued Oldham 

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