Board of Regents approves Search Advisory Committee, criteria for next president of Chattanooga State Community College

The Tennessee Board of Regents today approved criteria for the next president of Chattanooga State Community College and announced a 19-member Search Advisory Committee to review candidates and recommend finalists for the office.

Approval of the criteria is the first step in the search process for a new president to succeed Dr. Flora Tydings, who will assume her new role as chancellor of the Board of Regents system on Feb. 1. Debbie Adams, Chattanooga State’s vice president of student affairs and workforce development, will serve as interim president until the campus’s new leader is appointed and in place -- by July 1, under the board’s timeline.

The board also approved a transition plan in which outgoing Chancellor David Gregory will remain as a TBR employee for one month – through Feb. 28 – to serve as a transition advisor to Tydings and to coordinate introductions to key stakeholders.

The search for the next president will launch Feb. 10 with a public forum and an organizational meeting of the Search Advisory Committee, both on the Chattanooga State campus.

The public forum will allow campus and community members to voice their views about the qualities the committee should look for when reviewing candidates. The forum will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. EST, Feb. 10, in Room 124 of the Albright Omniplex Building on campus.

The Search Advisory Committee will then convene at 10:15 a.m. EST in the same room for an organizational and orientation session. The committee will work with Greenwood/Asher & Associates to help identify a broad range of highly qualified candidates from around the country.

The committee’s charge is to review applicants and prospects and identify three to five finalists, who will be invited to the campus for interviews with the committee, students, faculty, administration, staff and the public. After further review, including feedback from those campus meetings, one candidate will be recommended to the full Board of Regents for its consideration and approval.

Regent Tom Griscom of Chattanooga will chair the Search Advisory Committee. Regents Howard Roddy of Chattanooga and Danni Varlan of Knoxville are also members of the committee, along with 16 representatives of the faculty, students and staff of Chattanooga State and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology—Chattanooga, and of the Greater Chattanooga area. TCAT-Chattanooga shares the campus and some administrative functions with the community college.

The criteria for the next chancellor approved by the Board of Regents in a special conference call meeting this afternoon, is posted in full on the TBR website at Preferred criteria include, but are not limited to:

• An earned doctorate from an accredited institution;

• A distinguished record of teaching and experience in public higher education;

• A minimum of five years of successful campus administrative experience at a level with significant decision-making responsibilities affecting an entire campus or as head of a major academic or administrative unit in an academic environment;

• A distinguished record of extensive senior level administrative experience in a complex business, industry, or government enterprise. 

They also include a comprehensive knowledge of and deep commitment to the Governor’s Drive to 55 initiative, Tennessee Promise and Achieving the Dream’s vision, mission and value, and dedication to the principle of building a student focused culture. Drive to 55 is Gov. Bill Haslam's goal that 55 percent of working age Tennesseans have some level of post-high school degree or credential by 2025. Achieving the Dream is a national program focused on helping more community college students succeed.

The Search Advisory Committee members are:


Regent Tom Griscom, Chair TBR BOARD MEMBER

Regent Howard Roddy, TBR BOARD MEMBER

Regent Danni Varlan, TBR BOARD MEMBER

Dr. Evelyn Mobley, FACULTY REPRESENTATIVE - Professor of Math & Sciences

Dr. Mike Ricketts, FACULTY/TCAT REPRESENTATIVE - Dean of TCAT-Chattanooga

Dr. Roy Sofield, FACULTY REPRESENTATIVE - Dean of Math & Sciences

Dr. Martina Harris, FACULTY REPRESENTATIVE – Director & Associate Professor of Nursing

Mr. Austin Adderholt, STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE - SGA President

Ms. Laura Smartt. STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE – TCAT, SkillsUSA Secretary

Mr. Ray Bertani, PROFESSIONAL STAFF REPRESENTATIVE – Director, Center for Distributed Education

Ms. Tammy Swenson, EXECUTIVE STAFF REPRESENTATIVE – Executive VP of Business & Finance

Ms. Denise Sales, SUPPORT STAFF REPRESENTATIVE – Technical Clerk, President’s Office



Mr. Keith Sanford, COMMUNITY LEADER – Tennessee Aquarium

Dr. Jerald Ainsworth, COMMUNITY LEADER – UTC


Mr. Bill Kilbride, COMMUNITY LEADER - Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce

Mr. David Jackson, COMMUNITY LEADER – Mayor of Marion County

Chattanooga State Community College is a comprehensive, two-year postsecondary institution whose primary service area includes six counties in East Tennessee. It has over 8,500 credit students and over 700 non-credit students. The college employs approximately 640 full-time employees, including 238 full-time faculty members, and operates on a budget of $95 million.


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.