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In the Winter 2023 Issue

In Tennessee, we find ourselves faced with seemingly intractable problems—ones that are large scale, complex and can lead to difficult futures for Tennesseans and their children. The University of Tennessee System selected three of these to address: K-12 education needs, substance misuse and rural community decline. We call these Grand Challenges.

In this issue, you’ll discover more about the challenges and what UT is already doing to address them.

To untangle these issues plaguing the state of Tennessee will require collaborations between researchers, educators, organizations, leaders and in-the-trenchers. The snarl cannot be quickly undone through legislation or sheer willpower. The issues are too broad, too deep and too intertwined, as you’ll read through the pages of this magazine.

Substance misuse devastates rural communities and K-12 education systems. Obstructed education impacts economic development and rural growth. Languishing development in rural areas impacts education and limits job possibilities, which drives people from small towns.

Boundary-less, these problems impact criminal justice and health care almost beyond calculation. We are tied together by more than the highways and byways that crisscross this state. What affects one, affects us all.

UT is willing and ready to work. Will you join us? It will take experts from a myriad of areas working in concert to straighten what has been snarled.

For only by doing this can Tennessee break from cycles of poverty plaguing areas of the state.

Only by joining together can we create a better, stronger Tennessee.

Only by doing this can future Tennesseans thrive.