Haslam’s Upward Trajectory

Over the past decade, the Haslam College of Business has been on an impressive trajectory of growth and expansion. The undergraduate program saw a 31.1 percent increase in enrollment over the past five years, and majors from within the college of business now represent seven of the top 20 degrees awarded campus-wide.

With support from alumni and university leaders, Haslam’s faculty and staff have risen to the task of developing new curriculum, adding degree programs, creating unique co-curricular learning experiences, and incorporating innovative technologies and approaches. The result is a thriving academic community that’s drawing students, faculty, and corporate partnerships from across Tennessee and beyond.

Rapid Growth of Undergraduate Enrollment and Faculty Numbers

Undergraduate enrollment has seen a dramatic upward curve, especially over the last five years. The number of first-time-freshman undergraduates projected this fall is 33 percent higher than last year’s entering class. The number of out-of-state students coming to the college also has increased.

Lane Morris, associate dean of undergraduate studies and student affairs and Ergen Professor in Business, says the education offered by the college is attractive to both in-state and a growing number of out-of- state students. Most importantly, prospective employers and graduate schools appreciate the quality of the academic experience, positively impacting placement percentages. In the fall of 2022, Haslam will welcome nearly 2000 freshmen from across the country.

Part of the attraction for undergraduate students is the college’s suite of co-curricular opportunities united under the Haslam Undergraduate Business (HUB) office. “Over the past several years, we’ve developed a value-added portfolio of opportunities in serving students,” Morris says. “We strategically hired folks to help us develop in several directions including study abroad, professional and career development, student engagement, advising, and technology.” That effort formed a cohesive team that has rolled out new opportunities and support for students.

The college also offers several specialized honors and cooperative programs for undergraduates such as the Smith Global Leadership Scholars program, Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Program (IBEP), and the new Business Fellows Honors Program, which will strengthen the experience within the college for honors students.

The Heath IBEP allows Haslam students to gain a blended experience of engineering and business. Morgan Louis, a junior in the Heath IBEP program, says working with engineering students has shown her that they approach problems differently than she might. “As a business student, I’m learning concepts I never would have been exposed to otherwise,” Louis says. “We’ve been able to combine the best parts of our approaches and create some really cool projects.”

To keep pace with the growing student population and expand the college’s research impact, Haslam also has hired a number of new faculty members. The original goal was to add 25 new tenure track faculty in five years, but the college has far exceeded that milestone. In 2022 alone, Haslam hired 25 new faculty, including 11 tenured and 14 non-tenured.

Expansion of Graduate Programs and Research Productivity

The college also has experienced significant growth in its graduate programs. Currently, Haslam offers 12 master’s programs and expects to add three additional over the next year including a master’s in marketing, an online MBA, and a master’s in business cybersecurity.

Bruce Behn, associate dean for Graduate and Executive Education (GEE) at Haslam, says online programs are the fastest growing of GEE’s offerings. “It is exciting to see Haslam’s graduate student population growing and to launch several new program options to meet market demand,” says Behn. The master’s in supply chain management online was introduced in fall 2019 with 38 students. Two years later, enrollment had grown to 206. Student Breanne Hill, a recruiting company commander in the U.S. Army serving in Kansas, is impressed with the quality of the online program. “The faculty go above and beyond in providing great teaching and resources,” says Hill, who has benefited from interacting with students in other locations and fields. “It’s so interesting to share our experiences and learn from each other.”

Based on data from the fall semester of 2021, one in nine Haslam students are graduate students, and one in four master’s degrees awarded on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus are earned by Haslam students.

The college’s research productivity also is on a steady ascent. Since 2016, the college has seen more than 600 faculty publications of different types—in many cases, research published in the leading journals in fields they represent. Haslam faculty published 71 percent more articles in 2020 than in 2016, representing a 60 percent increase in published articles per faculty member in that same time period. Several Haslam faculty members have become editors of major academic journals, and the college faculty wins a number of “best paper” awards and other research recognitions each year.

Chad Autry, associate dean for research and faculty and FedEx Corporation Endowed Professor of Supply Chain, says the momentum is charging forward. “To all of that, we can add an increasing volume and velocity of research intended for business practitioners that comes from industry outreach activities,” Autry says. “I expect that in the coming few years, we will regularly be seen and cited as among the top three SEC research schools, and among the top 25 public research schools nationwide.”

Reaching Across Campus and Beyond

Haslam’s growth and success reaches beyond the college, benefiting the wider university and business community in numerous ways. The college has led the university in student retention goals, with a current undergraduate retention rate of nearly 91 percent from first to second year. The HUB office provides considerable leadership in the co-curriculum space, and has forged successful partnerships with the university’s Center for Global Engagement and the Center for Career Development. “The academic experience that our HUB team delivers has become a role model for the campus,” says Morris. “For example, we’ve moved to a professional advising model where the HUB office provides academic advising so faculty can focus on career advising. The university has seen the benefit and is beginning to emulate what we’re doing.”

UT students from outside Haslam regularly come to the college to take classes, often participating in the business or entrepreneurship minors. Additionally, the HCB has been a leading partner with UT Athletics in designing and delivering the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) curriculum that has garnered national media attention.

One way the college reaches beyond campus is through the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Since 2009, the center has coordinated across UT campuses and partnered with local and regional governments, nonprofit organizations, and corporations throughout Tennessee to offer mentorship, competitions, and academic courses to students. The college’s minor in entrepreneurship has nearly doubled since 2019, drawing students from other disciplines across campus.

Other institutes and centers in the college, including the Global Supply Chain Institute and its Advanced Supply Chain Collaborative, Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Masters Investment Learning Center, and Neel Corporate Governance Center, also provide strong links to industry and government entities outside academia, and those relationships continue to grow.

Continuing Upward

As Haslam flourishes, the college is outgrowing its current campus footprint. To fill the need for more space, an additional business school building has been authorized by the UT System and the State of Tennessee. While the exact design and timeline for completion are still uncertain, the $200 million building will be around 300,000 square feet and will contain additional classroom space, research labs and center space, expanded room for graduate and executive education programs, and accommodate expanded faculty and staff workspace to serve expanded student enrollments.

Steve Mangum, dean and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair, notes that the new space will continue to support Haslam’s mission and growth.

“The college has been on a strong trajectory over the past decade as we continue to produce high-quality graduates in all of our academic programs and provide impactful thought leadership through our faculty research,” Mangum says. “Our success in these two areas has brought us to this point, and the new building will yield fresh opportunities and help us continue our upward momentum.”

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