If educating the next generation ranks high on your list of cherished causes, you might wish to join the University of Tennessee Library Friends.
Within higher education there is much discussion of furthering “student success.” Indeed, new funding guidelines for Tennessee colleges and universities are predicated on measures of student success such as on-time graduation. Certainly, all of us wish for a successful outcome to each student’s investment of hard work, long hours, and precious family savings. But what can we actually do to promote college student success?
The UT Libraries is doing quite a lot. Beyond the traditional role of providing the best research resources and teaching students to use them discerningly, libraries these days have a tremendous impact on student success. The library is one of those spaces on campus where students make the personal connections that give them a sense of engagement in college life. In a recent survey of UT students, more than 70 percent of respondents said using the Commons in Hodges Library made them feel more involved in the university. That, certainly, can only have a positive impact on graduation rates.
In fact, the UT Libraries’ Commons will soon be even more appealing and more supportive of our students. Right now, the Commons is undergoing renovations that include making dedicated spaces for the Student Success Center and campus tutoring services, creating more group study areas, and adding exciting new technologies that students love. The library also has introduced new student support activities, such as bringing HABIT (Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee) therapy dogs to the library as a stress reliever during final exams.
The UT Libraries enables deep research, too, recognized as an innovator, even among larger and better-funded university libraries. Playing to its strengths, the Libraries invests a significant portion of its collections budget in electronic resources, acquiring specialized databases and digitizing collections that uniquely represent our region. UT Libraries now ranks 25th among publicly funded research university libraries, and is strategically positioned in UT’s journey to becoming a Top 25 public research university.
Every Tennessee citizen has a vested interest in the success of our college and university students. Today’s students are future business owners, engineers, teachers — they are tomorrow’s leaders. To guarantee student success and competitiveness, we cannot depend solely on state funding. We rely on our Library Friends to provide a margin of excellence.
By supporting the Library Friends, you will make a difference in the lives of Tennessee’s future leaders. Read more here about our new giving levels and new benefits of membership. The Library Friends keeps you informed and involved in UT Libraries programs and services.
If you are not currently a UT Library Friend, I invite you to join us. If you are already a Friend, please consider increasing your annual giving level to make an even greater impact on student success at the University of Tennessee.
Thank you in advance for your support. Your membership is an investment not only in the university’s libraries, but also in our campus, our community, and our state.
Linda L. Phillips
Chair, UT Library Friends