Board approves warranty for new technical program graduates, with tuition-free retraining
The Tennessee Board of Regents reaffirmed its confidence in the quality of its colleges' technial training programs Thursday, approving a warranty guaranteeing that future graduates of technical programs demonstrate skills identified in their curriculums and providing tuition-free retraining for those who don’t.
The new warranty provides one-time retraining free of charge to graduates of technical training programs who are unable to perform one or more of the skills and competencies identified for their programs. The warranty is valid for one year from the date of graduation.
The Board of Regents unanimously approved the warranty as a new policy at its quarterly meeting Thursday, held at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin. The warranty goes into effect with students who enter the applicable programs starting in Fall 2018.
The warranty is applicable to graduates of the college system’s technical programs which offer an Associate of Applied Science degree, diploma or technical certificate of credit. Full details of the warranty are in the new policy.
The Board of Regents governs the College System of Tennessee – the 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology across the state.
The retraining will occur at the college where the graduate earned the credential, at the college’s expense. The policy gives the chancellor discretion to approve retraining at another campus.
“We have great confidence in the quality of our programs,” Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said, “and we have an obligation to our students and their employers to make sure that our graduates have the skills that our technical programs say they should have. If within one year of graduation, an employer determines that a graduate of one of our technical graduate does not have the skills that we say we have trained, the college will provide retraining in the specific skill set, free of tuition.”
Eligible graduates will be awarded a warranty card when they receive their degree, diploma or technical certificate. A warranty redemption form, or claim, will be posted on the TBR website and made available to employers. The employer and graduate will jointly file the form.
Tydings also said the program will allow the college system to identify training programs in need of improvement. The system’s central office will maintain a database of all warranty claims and act to improve programs with graduates in need of retraining.
“This is exciting and we look forward to hearing more about the warranty when it goes into effect,” Board Vice Chair Emily J. Reynolds said.
“The warranty is simple: it basically says to our graduates that we stand behind you. And it lets business and industry know that we stand behind our graduates and that they can trust our graduates’ work,” said Dr. Carol Puryear, TBR’s vice chancellor for economic and community development.
In other action, the board:
- Approved search criteria for the next presidents of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology at Murfreesboro and Newbern. TCAT-Newbern President Donna Hastings plans to retire Dec. 31 and TCAT-Murfreesboro President Lynn Kreider plans to retire March 1. The board also approved resolutions of appreciation for both presidents, as well as for Nashville State President George Van Allen, who is retiring Dec. 31. A search for the next Nashville State president is already underway. Tydings announced during the board meeting that Dr. Kimberly McCormick, TBR vice chancellor for external affairs and a former provost at Chattanooga State Community College, will serve as interim president at Nashville State.
- Reviewed the system’s five major legislative priorities for the 2018 session of the Tennessee General Assembly, which convenes in January. Those priorities are: support for the public higher education operating, construction and equipment funding proposal of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; extension of the TBR system’s existence under the Tennessee Governmental Entity Review Law; expansion of dual enrollment opportunities for high school students taking college courses; safety and security of the system’s students, and expansion of college access for Tennessee high school graduates.
- Reviewed the system’s financial statements and approval of revised budgets for the 2017-18 school year.
- Received an update on implementation of the FOCUS (Focus on College and University Success) Act, and approved revisions to TBR bylaws necessitated by the FOCUS Act.
- Approved minor revisions and updates to the college system’s 10-year strategic plan for 2015-25.
- Approved a request by Chattanooga State Community College to name its health science center the Erlanger Health Science Center, in recognition of the school’s longstanding partnership with Erlanger Health System and its hospitals in the Chattanooga area.
A full agenda with detailed meeting materials, including the new Warranty of Competency of Graduates of Technical Programs, are available on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/board/december-quarterly-board-meeting. The meeting is archived and can be viewed on the meeting website.
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.