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ETSU looks toward the future

By Megan Brantley, mbrantley@wcyb.com
Published On: Dec 05 2012 05:00:30 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 05 2012 04:52:30 PM CST

East Tennessee State University is working on a 25-year plan that will be complete by their 125th birthday. They met Wednesday to listen to recommendations made by six task force groups.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

East Tennessee State University is working on a 25-year plan that will be complete by their 125th birthday. They met Wednesday to listen to recommendations made by six task force groups.

Football was definitely at the top of the list, along with several other academic suggestions; but university president Brian Noland tells us it's all about the students. "The conversation today began and ended with putting students first," he said.

Noland says it's about getting students across the stage and making their experience better, and he thinks some of the recommendations will do that. "There is a really rich recommendation around lining general education courses so students are taking courses in a linked manner, so while you and I are sitting in political science, we're also sitting in a math class."

We learned these recommendations were presented by six task force groups to the 125 Committee to help with a 25-year long plan that will help improve the campus.

Noland says he's happy with what he heard. "I purposely stayed one step removed because I wanted to see what our faculty, staff, and community brought to the table," he said.

Noland spoke about several academic recommendations for the school. "[They talked about a] school of dentistry with a hope that in five years it would be up and running."

He also said they would also be examining a few doctoral programs.

But Noland says there is one project that he is most excited about -- an arts initiative. "[It's an] initiative that will look at establishing support for scholarships for faculty lines for equipment, but also for a fine arts performing center," he explained.

He says they hope to get funding. "[We have] the expectation that by July of 2014 that project is shovel ready," he said.

With many recommendations on the table to choose from, Noland says he was happy with the outcome. "Today was the academic version of Christmas because you had the chance to see the dreams, desires, and aspirations of faculty and staff for what they want," he said.

There is still a long process before anything is decided. All of these recommendations will be looked over by the 125 Committee, who will decide which ones will be in the next draft, which will be complete by January. The final version is due in late spring 2013.