FOCUS implementation timeline



July 2016 – The FOCUS Act takes effect on July 1. However, little will change in the operations/policy functions of the system and governance structure until the separate university boards of trustees convene to establish their own bylaws and policies. Until then, all TBR institutions, including TBR universities, will continue to follow TBR policy. That step is not expected until May/June 2017. If the Tennessee Higher Education Commission changes its policies or rules to impact governance or management in the meantime, TBR will consider changes to its policies.

Sept. 2016 – University boards of trustees members are expected to be selected by Governor Bill Haslam. Members must be confirmed by the legislature before the first meetings can be convened. 
 – Universities must also submit proposals to SACSCOC for substantive change of governance by this date.

Dec. 2016 – SACSCOC board meets and is expected to consider TBR universities’ proposals related to substantive change of governance.

Feb./March 2017 – The General Assembly is expected to take up boards of trustees member confirmations.

April 2017 – THEC will schedule new board member orientation and training programs in preparation for the first meetings of the universities’ boards of trustees.

May/June 2017 – The six new boards of trustees will convene, adopt bylaws and approve policies for their respective universities. If appropriate, the new boards can begin assuming the following functions (among others) for the universities:

  • Setting policies
  • Approving academic program changes/additions
  • Approving mission statements
  • Setting tuition and fees (within THEC range)
  • Selecting new presidents (when needed)
  • Managing capital and real estate transactions

If universities choose to opt out of the TBR system-wide data systems, procurement and capital projects management functions provided by the TBR System Office, they must notify THEC and request permission for their intent to withdraw with an effective date of November 2017.

November 2017 – Any of the six universities who notified THEC of their intent to withdraw from the data systems, procurement and capital projects management functions provided by the TBR System Office may do so.