African American students, staff, and faculty at the University of Tennessee and members of the Knoxville community tend to see Knoxville as a transitory city. The majority of students and professionals view Knoxville as a city where they will reside for a small amount of time in order to obtain their degree or gain more experience before they head to bigger, regional cities.
The Commission for Blacks held several programs to identify barriers to and solutions for the retention of African Americans in Knoxville. From these efforts, the 2015 Retention Strategy Report was developed to address different barriers to retention.
The primary goal of this report is to impact the retention of African Americans in
Knoxville by guiding the efforts for the Commission for Blacks (primarily) and the Office for the Vice Chancellor for Diversity (secondarily). Retaining Knoxville’s students, faculty, staff, and professionals is a complex endeavor, and will require complex solutions and partners. Opportunities for partnerships with local government and civic entities are identified in the report. The collaborative philosophy and position of the Commission for Blacks within the University of Tennessee will seek to leverage existing relationships to insure a community approach to the retention of African Americans is accomplished.