The Tennessee Board of Regents system includes six universities:
Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Carnegie class master's university, medium programs
East Tennessee State University,including the ETSU School of Medicine, Johnson City, Carnegie class doctoral/research university
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Carnegie class master's university, larger programs
Tennessee State University, Nashville, a historically-black university, Carnegie class doctoral/research university
Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Carnegie class master's university, larger programs
University of Memphis, Memphis, Carnegie class research university, high research activity
Located throughout Tennessee, these institutions provide access to high quality degree programs and are focused on excellence in academic programming, excellence in research endeavors, and excellence in public service initiatives.
In providing access to high quality academic programs, TBR universities offer 316 bachelors, 15 graduate certificate, 171 masters, 10 specialist in education, and 42 doctoral degree programs. In addition East Tennessee State University offers the medical degree (MD) and the University of Memphis offers the law (JD) degree. In 2002, TBR universities graduated 8,944 students with bachelors degrees, 2,721 students with masters degrees, 196 students with specialist in education degrees, 200 doctoral degree students, and 159 students with either medical or law degrees. In addition, TBR universities graduated 458 students with the BS in Nursing degree, three with advanced graduate certificates, and 36 students with the Master of Science in Nursing. These nursing graduates will help alleviate the severe nursing shortage in the State of Tennessee along with helping meet the need for additional nursing faculty (masters degree graduates). As with the TBR community colleges, the universities are opening the way for first generation students to attend college. In addition, TBR universities produced 47% of the state’s graduates in teacher education in 2002. At the University of Memphis, of the 1,510 first-time freshmen attending orientation in 2001, 38% stated that neither their mothers nor fathers had attended college. In spring 2002, East Tennessee State University conducted a random sample survey of undergraduate students. Of the 1,052 who completed the survey, at least 53% indicated that they were first generation students.
One of the major functions of universities is to create and disseminate new knowledge—new knowledge that may result in a cure for a serious disease, a discovery that might lead the way to cleaner air and water, or the creation of new technology that might help NASA in space exploration. In 2001, TBR universities obtained $53,571,212 in external research funding to support the research enterprise at the six campuses. Additional external funding focusing on instruction and training, public service, and other initiatives resulted in a total of $106,126,932 in external funds received by TBR universities for 2001. This is an increase of over 50% from 1997 (total funding $69,328,054).
TBR universities are involved in multiple research initiatives. Some of these include biotechnology, paleontology, child passenger safety, early childhood learning, gerontology, cardiovascular health, life sciences, mass communications, technology that supports high-knowledge industries and economies, computer modeling and simulations, fuzzy logic, robotics and machine vision, hazardous waste management, neural networks, biomedical applications of signal processing, fisheries, manufacturing research, distribution and use of electric power, astrophysics, software engineering, drug binding to DNA, forestry, neurochemistry, and transportation planning and modeling.