Change has swept across the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for years.
Over a decade, the campus has crept into the city, building by building, becoming more residential. Enrollment has swollen to 11,660, a 36.7 percent increase. Tuition jumped more than 35 percent in five years.
And now another change. A new chancellor.
On Tuesday, University of Tennessee System President Joe DePietro announced that the group of three finalists for the job of UTC chancellor had been winnowed to one: Steve Angle, senior vice president of Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.
The UT board of trustees will vote on his recommendation at a meeting in Chattanooga on Thursday. DePietro said he doesn't expect any opposition.
"He has a proven track record as an administrator. He has been able to gain support for [his] institution from the community," said DiPietro. "He has been through the faculty ranks. He is a proven scholar. He will understand teacher and research very well."
If approved, Angle will succeed Roger Brown, who retired last year after seven years.
Officials with UTC wouldn't comment on the selection, but Angle did visit the campus earlier this year when faculty, staff and students interviewed him.
He will face several challenges coming into the job.
With growth comes growing pains, said UTC spokesman Chuck Cantrell. Classrooms are tight, so are labs. Parking is a constant headache, he said, and the campus is landlocked.
All the while enrollment numbers are up. Last year, UTC was the only public college in the state to grow enrollment. Total numbers were up 2 percent from the year before.
"We are trying to figure out how to manage enrollment growth," said Cantrell.
There also are questions about what direction curriculum should head. More online classes? Fewer online classes? How should those classes be delivered?
And as the share of state funding falls, a trend that has persisted for a decade, the desperation for private fundraising increases. Gov. Bill Haslam has said this year that schools cannot increase tuition more than 6 percent. Twenty-nine percent of the UTC budget is funded by the state, and 66 percent is carried by student tuition and fees.
A new chancellor will play a large role in securing money for the future, Cantrell said.
But DiPietro said he expects Angle to succeed. So do students.
"He has got the experience and the passion for higher education that should make him an effective fundraiser," DiPietro said.
Bradley Bell, student body president at UTC and a member of the search committee, said Angle has a way with students.
"We really felt like we had that strong connection," he said. "I am very happy."
Angle told the committee he had raised a lot of money for his previous institution and could do it again, Bell said.
"He seemed very confident," he said. "He could easily sell me a dime-sized lime that I would pay a quarter for."
Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...
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