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Tennessee Technological University, popularly known as Tennessee Tech, is an accredited public university located in Cookeville, Tennessee, US, a city approximately seventy miles (110 km) east of Nashville. It was formerly known as Tennessee Polytechnic Institute (1915), and before that as Dixie College, the name under which it was founded as a private institution in 1909. It places special emphasis on undergraduate education in fields related to engineering and technology, although degrees in education, liberal arts, agriculture, nursing, and other fields of study can be pursued as well. Additionally, there are graduate offerings in engineering, education, business, and the liberal arts. It is operated by the Tennessee Board of Regents, and its athletic teams compete in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Tennessee Tech is ranked among the Top 8 Public Schools in the South in U.S. News & World Report's 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012 editions of "America's Best Colleges." It was also ranked among the Top Public Schools in the South in the 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 college guides. The Princeton Review also listed TTU as a "Best College Value" in 2006 and 2007. TTU is one of "America's 100 Best College Buys" as reported by Institutional Research & Evaluation, Inc. in 2006.
As of the 2011 fall semester, Tennessee Tech enrolls over 11,768 students (9,920 undergraduate and 1,848 graduate students), and its campus has 87 buildings on 235 acres (0.95 km²) centered along Dixie Avenue in north Cookeville. The average class size is twenty six students and the student to faculty ratio is 18:1. Less than one percent of all classes are taught by teaching assistants with the rest of the classes being taught by professors. The ethnic breakdown of the undergraduate student population is: 88.2% White/Caucasian, 4.1% African American, 1.5% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1.3% Hispanic, 0.3% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 4.6% Other.