Tag Archives: higher education

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.

Mike Krause named new executive director of THEC

News release from the governor’s office
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointment of Mike Krause as executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

Krause has served as executive director of the Drive to 55 since 2014 and successfully managed the launch and implementation of Tennessee Promise and the other initiatives under the Drive to 55 umbrella.

“Mike’s enthusiasm for higher education and his passion for making college accessible to all Tennesseans have led to the success of Tennessee Promise. He has been an instrumental part of my administration, leading our efforts to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025, and I know he will use that same drive and focus to help lead THEC during this exciting time for higher education in Tennessee,” Haslam said.

Dr. Russ Deaton, who has served as THEC’s interim executive director since the retirement of Dr. Richard Rhoda in 2014, will serve as deputy executive director of THEC. Deaton began at THEC in 2000 as a policy analyst and later served nine years as the director of fiscal policy analysis.

“I am grateful to Russ for his steady leadership at THEC over the past two years and excited that we’ll continue to have his depth of experience on our higher education team,” Haslam said.

Krause takes the helm at THEC as it assumes an enhanced role under the Focus On College and Student Success (FOCUS) Act, which charged THEC with providing greater coordination of Tennessee’s higher education systems across the state, including capital project management, institutional mission approval and higher education finance strategy.

Established in 1967, THEC oversees development of the state’s master plan for higher education, makes recommendations for capital appropriations in the governor’s budget, establishes tuition levels and approves new academic programs.

In addition, Krause will jointly lead the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), which administers state and federal student financial assistance programs, including the state lottery scholarship program, which serves 100,000 students with $300 million in awards.

“Three years into our Drive to 55, we have more Tennesseans going to college and fewer students needing remediation once they get there. We’ve made remarkable progress in higher education under Governor Haslam’s leadership, and I am excited to work with our legislators, employers and higher education leaders to further leverage this momentum to benefit Tennesseans,” Krause said. ”In Tennessee, we’re working to make sure that every student – from the high school graduate to the returning adult – has the tools he or she needs to access and succeed in higher education and find a quality job in the workforce.”

Prior to directing the Drive to 55, Krause, 34, served as assistant executive director for academic affairs at THEC, where he led the successful statewide expansion of the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program, pioneered state efforts in massive open online education and coordinated multiple grant programs.

Before joining state government, Krause served for eight years in the United States Army and Tennessee Army National Guard. He completed three combat tours as a member of the 101st Airborne Division and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

An eighth generation Tennessean, Krause earned his bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University and master’s in public policy from Vanderbilt University. He and his wife, Chrissi, live in Williamson County and have a young son, Max.

Krause joins THEC on August 1.

State parks to benefit from TN Promise scholars labor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Promise scholars can perform community service hours with events planned across the state later this month.

State parks and natural areas are offering the events on July 23 at all 56 parks. The student volunteers can clear brush, limbs and invasive plants; plant flowers; build trails; assist with community events; or maintain historic features.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said in a news release the projects are designed to beautify the parks and natural areas and provide meaningful outdoors experiences for the volunteers.

Tennessee Promise provides tuition-free community and technical college to recent high school graduates. This fall, all Tennessee Promise students using the program are required to complete eight hours of community service by Aug. 1.

For a list of events and to register, visit http://www.tnstateparks.com/about/special-event-cards/tn-promise-saturday or contact Nancy Schelin at (615) 532-5249 or nancy.schelin@tn.gov.

State paying for college counselors at 30 TN high schools

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has announced the launch of a $2.4 million program that will provide college counselors to 30 public high schools across the state.

The aim of Advise TN is to realize the state’s goal to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree to 55 percent by 2025, the governor’s office said in a statement last Thursday.

“Research tells us that having a school-wide culture … of students knowing that college isn’t only an option for them but it’s an expectation — is one of the best indicators of whether students will pursue higher education,” Haslam said in the statement. “This program will provide schools across the state with one more adult in students’ lives, focused on helping them navigate the transition from high school to college.”

Counselors will be hired and trained in the summer and will work with about 10,000 juniors and seniors statewide. They will help students prepare for the ACT, work on college applications and take advantage of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid program offered by the U.S. Department of Education.

To be eligible, high schools must have average college-going rates that fall below the state average. Public high schools must apply to participate and will be selected by the Tennessee Higher Education Committee based on their commitment to creating a college-going culture.

Advise TN was included in Haslam’s 2016-17 budget with funding of $2.5 million. High schools selected to participate in Advise TN are expected to develop plans to continue the program after state funding has ended.

Regents universities offer some big discounts on out-of-state tuition

For the first time, all six four-year universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents system will offer big discounts in out-of-state tuition to some students this fall, according to WPLN. To get the discounts, students must live within 250 miles of the university and have high ACT scores.

This new rule covers a wide area. Take Tennessee State University: If you put the school in the center of a circle, and draw radius of 250 miles in all directions, you cover as far north as Indianapolis, northwest to St. Louis, east to Asheville, and down to Atlanta.

TSU senior Jordan Gaither is from Atlanta. He and his parents currently pay all his tuition out of pocket. “With me being an out of student, it is definitely a lot,” he says.

But under the new rule, his tuition for the upcoming year will be cut by about $9,000. It’s still not quite as cheap as the in-state rate, but it’s enough to take off a big burden, he says. “I don’t take that for granted at all.”

This kind of 250-mile program first started in 2014 at the University of Memphis. The campus is right on the border, and it already gave in-state tuition to students from neighboring counties, but the school wanted to attract more students from the whole region. Vice-provost Steve McKellips says some students might even stay in Memphis after college.

“This is a major initiative that helps the university, helps the community, helps the workforce development, helps the students — it kind of has a win on all four sides,” he says.

Governor goes along with guns-on-campus bill

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A bill allowing staff and faculty at Tennessee’s public colleges and universities to be armed on campus became law Monday without the Republican governor’s signature.

Gov. Bill Haslam said in a statement that he disagreed with the bill for not allowing institutions “to make their own decisions regarding security issues on campus.”

But the governor acknowledged that the final version of the measure had addressed concerns raised by college administrators during the legislative process by including provisions protecting schools from liability and a requirement to notify law enforcement about who is armed on campus.

“Ultimately, this legislation was tailored to apply to certain employees in specific situations,” Haslam said.

The law, which allows faculty and staff with state-issued handgun carry permits to carry, is more limited than a bill awaiting a decision by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. That measure would allow anyone age 21 and up to carry a concealed handgun on campus with the proper permit.
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Tuition cut for immigrant students dies in House

During an emotional speech Wednesday, Rep. Mark White announced he would not revive his bill to secure in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants at public colleges, ending a years-long effort that won support from colleges and Gov. Bill Haslam.

Further from The Tennessean:

White, R-Memphis, said earlier this month that he was optimistic the bill would return to the House floor before the end of the session. But while discussing the House effort to override a veto on the Bible bill, White remarked that he would not try to get the bill passed because it did not have enough support.

White said undocumented students cried in his office Tuesday when he informed them of his intentions.

More than 100 undocumented students had traveled to the Capitol last week to encourage legislators to reconsider the bill, which passed the Senate last year but failed in the House by one vote.

Note: Press release from Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition is below. Continue reading

House sends guns-on-campus bill to governor

The House sent to Gov. Bill Haslam Wednesday a bill that will allow full-time employees and faculty members at Tennessee’s public colleges and universities who have handgun-carry permits to carry their guns on campus.

Further from Richard Locker:

The bill, which passed the Senate 28-5 on Tuesday, won House approval on a 69-24 vote. The bill does not allow students with permits to go armed.

Senate Bill 2376 also contains provisions banning employees from going armed in sports stadiums and arenas while public events are underway there and during conferences with administrators regarding their job performance and tenure.

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said a survey of University of Tennessee faculty members that he received Tuesday found 86 percent of the faculty at the University of Tennessee were against the guns on campus bill. Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, read aloud emails from UT professors who said they would leave the state if the bill passes.

But Rep. Rick Womick, R-Murfreesboro, countered by saying, “For every one of these professors who want to leave, fine; there are more than enough who do want to carry and stay.”

The bill requires employees who decide to go armed on campus to notify the local law enforcement agency with primary jurisdiction over the campus of their intent to go armed, but it keeps such information confidential from students, other employees and campus administrators.

Senate goes for guns on campus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state Senate on Tuesday voted to allow faculty and workers with handgun carry permits to be armed on the campuses of Tennessee public colleges and universities.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Bell (SB2376) passed on a 28-5 vote, and the House was expected to take up the measure on Wednesday. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam raised concerns about the measure for not giving institutions the power to opt out of allowing more guns on campus.

Bell, R-Riceville, was dismissive of the results of a survey of faculty at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville that largely opposed to measure.

“I think some of these people need to take their medication,” Bell said, adding that he hopes some professors will follow through on vows to quit if the bill becomes law.

“Maybe this will give UT a chance to hire some conservative teachers if we have a mass exodus of some of these liberals who responded to this,” he said.
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