Middle Tennessee State University is the No. 1 choice of Tennessee Promise students who have transferred from one of the state’s community colleges to a four-year institution.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee made the announcement at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting held inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street.
McPhee shared with trustees recent data from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission that showed MTSU in the top spot for Tennessee Promise students seeking to earn a four-year degree.
“More Tennessee Promise students have transferred to MTSU than any other state university,” McPhee said. “This is consistent with our standing as the No. 1 choice for transfer students overall.”
The data shows MTSU received 21.5 percent, or 542, of the 2,528 students who took advantage of the free community college tuition through the Tennessee Promise program to seek an associate degree.
MTSU’s partnership with Motlow State Community College was also the most productive relationship between a two-year college and a four-year institution, McPhee said.
Motlow sent MTSU 255 of its students, THEC’s 2019 report on the Tennessee Promise shows.
In other business, trustees approved a slight increase in tuition and fees this fall.
Undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees will rise 2.37 percent, still below the 2.5 percent cap set by the THEC. For a student taking 15 hours, combined tuition for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semester will go from $9,206 to $9,424.
Joey Jacobs, chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee, said trustees “have given careful consideration to the impact that any increase will have on student affordability.”
He also said the committee “reviewed the tuition rates of other Tennessee public institutions, as well as peer institutions and found that even with the proposed fee increase, MTSU ranked as very affordable in comparison.”
MTSU has the lowest undergraduate tuition of the state’s three largest universities, behind the rates at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the University of Memphis.
The measure passed Tuesday also raised graduate college tuition by 3 percent and set a special tuition rate for certain corporate relationships.
In other business, trustees approved a new academic program, Bachelor of Science in Public Writing and Rhetoric, a four-year interdisciplinary degree housed in the College of Liberal Arts.
Pam Wright, chair of the Academic Affairs, Student Life and Athletics committee, said the degree will be the first of its kind in the region.
“Similar to degrees offered at many institutions, the degree will provide students with in-depth training in writing and rhetorical studies,” she said.
Wright said the degree will prepare students “for a range of writing-focused careers that involve analysis, creation, and editing of texts as well as for graduate study.
Trustees also learned about the creation of the Free Speech Center, a First Amendment advocacy hub that will be led by Ken Paulson, who is stepping down as dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment this summer.
“The center’s primary mission is one of public service, educating students and the public about the value of the First Amendment to a free society,” Wright said.
The center will be integrated into campus life and academics, fulfilling the university’s stated mission to educate students so that they “understand the proper role of free expression and civic engagement in our society,” she said.
Unanimously approved the recommendation of McPhee and University Provost Mark Byrnes that 39 faculty be granted tenure and 75 faculty be promoted, effective Aug. 1.
Endorsed asking for state support in the next budget cycle for a new Applied Engineering Building for its Mechatronics Engineering and Engineering Technology programs;
Welcomed Mary Martin, a professor of mathematics, to a two-year term as faculty trustee; she replaces outgoing faculty trustee Tony Johnston, agriculture professor and fermentation science program director.