Haslam takes charge in Regents chief search

Gov. Bill Haslam says he is personally leading the search for a new head of the state Board of Regents because an era of dramatic change is at hand, reports the Times-Free Press.

“As the Tennessee Board of Regents transitions to having a different look, this new chancellor position is critical,” Haslam emphasized last week as a 16-member search committee got underway.

Haslam was alluding to his major overhaul of the TBR system that now includes six universities, 13 community colleges, including those in Chattanooga and Cleveland, and 27 colleges of applied technology.

As a result of Haslam’s FOCUS Act, approved by lawmakers earlier this year, the Tennessee Board of Regents in 2017 will shed its six universities, which will operate independently with self-governing boards.

The regents will focus on a new core mission for community colleges and technical schools, one that’s central to Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative that calls for 55 percent of Tennesseans to have college degrees or technical certificates by 2025.

All this comes as Tennessee basks in national attention over its Tennessee Promise program that offers free, last-dollar lottery-funded scholarships at TBR schools to state high school graduates.

…”Whoever the next chancellor is is going to be key in that whole effort,” Haslam said. “So for the first time ever I am actually chairing a search committee because I think the position is so important.”

The other members include five regents, faculty, student, alumni, business and community leaders Nashville…He hopes the nominee can be approved by the full Board of Regents in December and start work in January.