UT has chosen Lenoir City to be its 2016–17 Smart Communities Initiative (SCI) “Mini” program partner.
Through SCI, UT pairs faculty and students with Tennessee cities, counties, special districts, and other governmental organizations to engage in real-world problem solving aimed at improving the region’s economy, environment, and social fabric. SCI is a key component of Experience Learning, the university’s initiative that emphasizes experiential learning through real-world problem solving.
The 2016–17 academic year will be the third for SCI. UT’s inaugural partner was the City of Cleveland in 2014–15. This year, UT has partnered with the Southeast Tennessee Development District. Faculty and students in twenty courses have been working on twenty-two projects ranging from researching of Cherokee Indians who walked the Trail of Tears to developing proposals for water quality improvements across the region.
In coming years, SCI will continue to work with the Southeast Development District as a sustaining partner of the program while also engaging in scaled-down partnerships with small or rural communities. During the 2016-17 academic year, SCI will work on five to ten projects for Lenoir City.