During a press conference today, East Tennessee State University President Dr. Brian Noland provided updates on ETSU’s enrollment, construction plans, faculty appointments, and strategic initiatives. The university continues to grow, marking record-setting achievements in several areas.
“East Tennessee State University is a place where anyone, regardless of where they came from, can grow, succeed, and compete with the best. Over the next year, you will see us expand our efforts to improve healthcare in rural and underserved communities, increase our support for military-affiliated students and veterans, and intensify our initiatives focused on career readiness and workforce development. Above all, you will see us focusing intently and relentlessly on addressing the needs of this region.”
– ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland
- Record-Setting First-Year Class - ETSU welcomed the largest first-year class in the university’s history, with over 2,150 students. This number represents a 5.5 percent increase over fall 2022 and outpaces the previous record set in 2011. Of this year’s students, 97.6 percent are registered full-time.
- Consecutive Years of High Enrollment - The university celebrated its second consecutive year of first-year student enrollments surpassing 2,000. This is the first time in over a decade that back-to-back classes have been this large.
- Three-Year Growth - Over a three-year period, the university has seen a 31.37 percent increase in incoming first-year students.
- Graduate Student Enrollment - Graduate student enrollment is at 2,502 students this fall, another all-time high for the university.
- Overall Enrollment - Total first-day enrollment for the university has risen to 13,899, a 1.3 percent increase over last year’s 13,720.
- The university currently has 2,986 residents assigned to on-campus housing, and on-campus housing is full. Dr. Noland reported that the university is in the early planning stages of renovating on-campus residential facilities and developing enhanced housing options in anticipation of sustained demand.
- The university welcomed 120 new faculty members this year, 57 of whom are joining the Quillen College of Medicine. Quillen faculty support and enhance both specialty and primary care throughout the region.
Academic and Curriculum Innovations
- New Academic Programs - In the coming months, ETSU will introduce cutting-edge new academic programs in areas including synthetic biology and mechatronics.
- Workforce Alignment - Faculty are in the process of updating the general education curriculum to better meet the needs of tomorrow’s workforce and today’s changing world.
- Community-Engaged Learning - ETSU is placing a significant focus on community-engaged learning, providing students with more opportunities to apply and test their skills and ideas in real-world settings. To learn more about this initiative, visit etsu.edu/community-engagement.
Construction and Renovation Projects
- Gilbreath Hall, ETSU’s oldest building, was completely renovated over the summer to include updated classroom technology and modernized spaces. While the building is already open for student and faculty use, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for Gilbreath Hall will be held on October 12.
- $26.1 million in renovations to Lamb Hall, which houses many of ETSU’s health sciences programs, were completed this summer. Like Gilbreath, Lamb Hall is already open for faculty and student use. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony celebration will be held on September 14.
- ETSU also completed several facility updates and infrastructure projects this summer, including updating underground utilities across campus and replacing several building roofs.
- Updates to Burleson Hall, which is being remodeled to house faculty offices from numerous departments, are scheduled to begin in January.
- One half of Brown Hall, which houses many of ETSU’s science programs, is scheduled to undergo a $93.6 million renovation to begin in December of 2024, with plans for completion by spring 2026. The university will seek additional funding to renovate the other half of the building in the coming years.
- Demolition of the current Campus Center Building is scheduled to begin in November. In its place, ETSU will build a new state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary Academic Building. Construction of the new building is slated to begin in January, with the goal of opening the facility in fall 2025. Renderings of the planned Academic Building are available for download here. The project is projected to cost $62.5 million, which includes not only the demolition of the Campus Center Building and construction of the new Academic Building but also upgrades to Gilbreath and Burleson halls as outlined above.
"We are profoundly grateful to Governor Bill Lee, the Tennessee General Assembly and particularly our local delegation for their unwavering support and the investments they have secured for our region and our students,” President Noland said. “These investments are instrumental in enhancing the quality of education we can offer and helping us fulfill our mission to improve the quality of life for people in this region and beyond."
- Salaries - The university will provide salary increases for faculty and staff for the third consecutive year, thanks to state funding support provided by Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly. Details will be presented to the ETSU Board of Trustees for their review and approval during the November quarterly board meeting.
- Back-Office Systems and Processes - ETSU staff are working to overhaul business processes and launch a new integrated enterprise resource management platform with the goal of increasing efficiency, improving communication, and providing better operational service and support to students and employees. The university’s existing enterprise management system has been in operation since the early 2000s, and the transition to the new Oracle-based platform will completely modernize the university’s back-office operations. Funding for the $19 million project was provided by the General Assembly during the 2022 regular session.
“Modernizing our business processes and systems is a monumental undertaking that, when completed, will transform this institution,” President Noland said. “Our business management platform was initially developed in the early 2000s. Many of our processes are still completely manual and scattered across multiple software systems. This overhaul is the metaphorical equivalent of moving from a flip phone to an iPhone. We will operate on a streamlined and centralized system that will allow us to work smarter, faster and to provide a higher level of support to both our students and our employees.”