From Grand Challenges to Thriving Communities

A hub for locating UT resources, people, stories, and understanding the connected web of some of Tennessee’s most important issues.

“We cannot look at Grand Challenges and not see how there’s so much interconnectedness that goes on from one to the other.”

—   Alicia Maya Donaldson, Program Director & Professor, UT Martin Social Work Program 

What are Grand Challenges?

Grand Challenges are complex, interconnected, large-scale problems that create uncertain futures.

By harnessing the collective power of human relationships, research, science, technology and imagination, UT and its partners are aiming to create a future where every Tennessean can thrive. To do so, we are focusing initial efforts in three key areas of the state: advancing K-12 education, strengthening rural communities and overcoming addiction.

To view a Grand Challenges map from the barriers/problems perspective and see the connected parts and related issues, click here.

Find UT Programs and Projects

A tool for finding UT programs, projects and people engaged in Grand Challenge work.

Stories from Across the State

Elementary school teacher greeting his students with a hi-five!

TDOE Announces Teaching as a Profession (TAP) Pre-Apprenticeship Pilot Program

The TN GYO program, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, seeks to provide aspiring educators with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in their teaching pursuits.

Read More

The Rock at the University of Tennessee with wording Rock Bottom To Rocky Top painted on.

Rocky Top Recovery Ambassador Program

The number of distressed counties in the state has reduced to eight, the fewest in Tennessee history, marking a significant milestone in the Lee administration’s mission to accelerate the transformation of rural Tennessee.

Read More

Grand Challenge Podcasts

Interview with UT System President Randy Boyd on Rural Challenges