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Board of Regents honors Gov. Bill Haslam, hears update on new Warranty program, approves new technical programs

TBR Vice Chair Emily J. Reynolds presents Resolution to Gov. Bill Haslam

The Tennessee Board of Regents today named the building housing the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Murfreesboro’s Smyrna Campus and Nissan Training Center as “The Bill Haslam Center” in honor of Gov. Bill Haslam.

The Board also approved a resolution summarizing Gov. Haslam’s work and accomplishments for higher education and Tennessee students – including the groundbreaking Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs – and expressing gratitude to him for his service as both Governor and chair of the Board of Regents.

The proposal to name the TCAT Murfreesboro/Smyrna Campus building in the governor’s honor originated with a nine-member naming committee at the college composed of faculty and staff of both the college and Nissan, which shares the facility. Following Board policy, the naming committee cited the governor’s vision for the building – delivered in his 2013 State of the State Address, when he proposed a $35 million appropriation to help fund it – as a public-private partnership of education and industry.

The state-of-the-art, 162,000-square-foot center operates as both a training center for Nissan employees and a public technical college offering students programs in automotive technology, industrial electrical maintenance, machine tool technology, welding technology and others.

TCAT Murfreesboro President Jon Mandrell presented the proposal to the Board, and Dan Caldwell, senior manager of U.S. manufacturing training at Nissan Group of North America, also spoke in favor. The naming committee’s recommendation cited “Governor Haslam’s steadfast commitment to advancing career and technical education” and that he “was instrumental in the creation of the Smyrna Campus and Nissan Training Center.”

Gov. Haslam participated in the groundbreaking for the building in December 2014 and in its official opening in March 2017.

The Board unanimously approved the naming, and the separate resolution honoring Gov. Haslam’s service.

In other action during its quarterly meeting today, the Board of Regents heard a report on the rollout of its new warranty for graduates of technical programs. The warranty program, approved by the Board of Regents at its December 2017 meeting, provides for the re-training – without charge – of graduates of programs awarding technical certificates and Associate of Applied Science degrees who cannot perform a specific skill or competency listed in the program catalogue for up to one year after graduation.

The warranty went into effect with students who entered technical programs this fall. Those in some short-term technical certificate programs are graduating this month and will be the first covered by the warranty. At graduation, they will be given warranty cards and letters detailing the policy and how their employers may file claims. 

In other action, the Board

  • Approved a new program in Chemical Engineering Technology at Roane State Community College, leading to an Associate Degree in Applied Science (A.A.S). The program is the first A.A.S. degree program of its kind at a public community college in Tennessee, although Chattanooga State Community College and Roane State offer a certificate program in the field. The new program, starting in Fall 2019, will be offered primarily at Roane State’s Oak Ridge campus; some courses will be offered at the college’s Clinton site, and some components and laboratory experiences will be delivered in partnership with Chattanooga State at Chattanooga State’s Wacker Institute.
  • Approved five new programs at three colleges of applied technology: a Mental Health Technician program at TCAT Chattanooga; Farming Operations Technician and Health Information Management Technology programs at TCAT Crump, and Administrative Office Technology and Welding programs at TCAT Jacksboro’s extension at Jellico High School.
  • Approved several new and revised policies, including a new policy to facilitate articulation and transfer agreements between the colleges of applied technology and community colleges and universities, and a new policy outlining the parameters by which animals are allowed on campuses as service animals and for special events.
  • Heard several informational reports on TBR System initiatives, including legislative priorities for the Tennessee General Assembly’s upcoming 2019 session, and from the Office of Economic and Community Development and the new Advancement/Development and Foundation Division.
  • Recognized TCAT Pulaski President Tony Creecy and TCAT Whiteville President Carolyn Beverly, who are both retiring Jan. 1 after many years of service.
  • Approved a resolution honoring the late state Rep. Charles Sargent of Franklin for his long support of higher education and Tennessee students, including his advocacy for Columbia State Community College and its Williamson County campus. Rep. Sargent, who served in the state House of Representatives since 1996, died Nov. 13.

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 100,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.