The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has approved UTC's master plan and the creation of a search committee to find Chancellor Roger Brown's replacement.
Brown is scheduled to retire either as soon as a replacement is found or on March 31, 2013.
UTC's proposed bachelor's degree in integrated studies and a doctoral program in occupational therapy also were approved by THEC.
Elizabeth Davis, spokeswoman for the University of Tennessee system, said the members of the search committee for Brown's successor have not been picked.
"Potential members are being contacted and, once we have all of the membership of the committee confirmed, we will announce that," she said.
Chuck Cantrell, associate vice chancellor for communication and marketing at UTC, said THEC's approval Thursday of the master plan moves it one step closer to receiving final authorization from the Tennessee State Building Commission. The commission is scheduled to vote on the plan in August.
The master plan outlines how the school will accommodate future growth, Cantrell said.
"The major element of the plan is to offer us a framework for the physical development of our campus as we grow in enrollment," he said. "What will we need in terms of parking? What will we need in terms of housing, classroom space, recreation space?"
The plan projects that enrollment growth will range between 4,000 and 7,000 new students over the next 15 years. The planned improvements include new athletic facilities, parking structures, residential buildings and 11 new academic buildings.
The improvements are estimated to cost $650 million, according to a THEC meeting report.
But the plan is not set in stone, Cantrell said.
"A lot of it is aspirational," he said. "It includes properties that aren't available now and may never become available. A lot of it is based on what could happen if this property became available."