Fall break was not a time of relaxation for everyone on UT's campus.
The Board of Trustees for the UT system met Friday in the Hollingsworth Auditorium to discuss the most pressing issues currently facing the schools.
The open-door event was held to update the board members about the Knoxville campus, as well as the schools at Martin, Chattanooga, Tullahoma and the Memphis Health Science Center.
Joe DiPietro, president of the UT system, announced in his President's Report that the Knoxville campus experienced a rise in its retention rate, a marker considered as a sign of a top-tier university.
DiPietro stressed the importance of quality advising for students as a means of increasing retention rates.
"If you meet with your advisor, you are 40 percent more likely to be retained that first year," he said.
The Knoxville campus experienced a 1 percent rise in its retention, pushing its mark to 85.6 percent, while Martin decreased to 69.9 percent and Chattanooga had the greatest rise by 1.7 percent to 69.1 percent.
Updates were also given on the most recent physical additions to the UT campuses, with Martin touting a new fine arts center, Chattanooga celebrating the opening of a new library and Knoxville receiving the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center and the John D. Tickle Engineering Building.
Chancellor Jimmy Cheek gave a progress report on Knoxville's drive to become a Top 25 public university. Among his talking points, Cheek noted that since June of 2010, UT's total money for research has increased by $65 million to $230 million, and that the six-year graduation rate has risen in the same time period from 60 percent to 66 percent.
"We feel very good about what we've been able to accomplish in moving this institution forward," Cheek said.
Despite the good news, the meeting also emphasized that the UT system may still need other forms of revenue. William F. Fox, Ph.D. and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at UT, informed the Board of the modest economic conditions of the state of Tennessee and his projections for the future.
With lower economic growth than other states, Fox said he does not see the state dramatically increasing funding for higher education anytime soon.
"The revenues are simply not growing at a pace that will permit the state government to do in 2015 what it is doing in 2014," Fox said. "I'd be very concerned about the ability of the state to put additional dollars, of any significant amount, in higher education in the next year."
Fox's presentation illustrated that the school now receives more money from tuition and fees than it does from the state government.
"If you take out inflation, we're still 15 percent lower than where we were in 2008, and it's hard to envision a situation in which that picture gets particularly better given the tightness of funding."