Board of Regents to meet March 13 to consider recommendations for new presidents of Motlow State, Nashville State community colleges

Michael Torrence and Shanna Jackson

The Tennessee Board of Regents will meet in a special session Tuesday, March 13, to consider and act on recommendations for the next presidents of Motlow State and Nashville State community colleges.

Following national searches by two separate search committees and visits to the campuses by finalists for each presidency, TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings is recommending:

  • Dr. Michael L. Torrence for the presidency of Motlow State Community College. Torrence is currently assistant vice president of academic affairs at Volunteer State Community College. He has 11 years of experience in higher education administration and nearly 23 years of full- and part-time faculty and teaching experience.  He earned a doctor of philosophy degree, with a major in exceptional learning, at Tennessee Tech University, and master of arts and bachelor of arts degrees at South Dakota State University, both with a major in English. Torrence is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving as a senior airman from 1992 to 1996.


  • Dr. Shanna L. Jackson for the presidency of Nashville State Community College. Jackson is currently an associate vice president and chief operating officer of Columbia State Community College’s Williamson Campus in Franklin. She has more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration and nearly 12 years of full- and part-time faculty and teaching experience. She earned a doctor of education degree in administration and supervision at Tennessee State University, and a master in business administration and a bachelor of science in business administration, both from Florida A&M University.

Tydings said she’s pleased to recommend Jackson and Torrence to the Board. “We searched nationally, and it was very stiff competition. Both candidates have excelled in their current positions at colleges in our system, and they’re very familiar with the needs of the colleges they hope to serve and lead.

“I’m also delighted that both are alumni of the Board of Regents’ Maxine Smith Fellows program, which is designed to enlarge the pool of underrepresented groups within the faculty and administrations of the colleges in our system. This is more evidence of the program’s quality and value,” the chancellor said.

The fellowship program was established in 2003 in honor of the late Maxine Smith of Memphis, a former Board of Regents member and civil rights and education activist. Each class of about 10 fellows meets monthly for a year for leadership training and development experiences. The program has more than 100 alumni, many of whom have advanced to positions ranging from department chairs to deans and college presidents.

The candidates were selected from the four finalists named in late January for the presidencies at each school by two search committees appointed by the Board last fall. Each committee included four to five members of the Board of Regents and representatives of the respective college communities, including faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community. The finalists all spent time on their prospective campuses in meetings with the various constituent groups and public forums.

Tydings reviewed input collected during and after the forums and meetings and interviewed each of the finalists to select one candidate for each presidency for her recommendation to the Board, which appoints all presidents of the system’s colleges.

Full resumes of the presidential candidates are available on the Tennessee Board of Regents website at

The Board of Regents will meet at 10 a.m., March 13, to consider the chancellor’s recommendations. Other meetings scheduled for that day include the Board’s Audit Committee from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the Finance and Business Operations Committee at 12:45 p.m., and a meeting of the chairs of all six of the Board’s committees, immediately following the Finance Committee meeting. All meetings will occur at the TBR system office at 1 Bridgestone Park in Nashville.

The meetings, except for an executive session of the Audit Committee following the committee’s public session, are open to the public. Anyone planning to attend may contact TBR Communications Director Rick Locker by 4:30 p.m. March 12 to facilitate security clearance in the building or request access to a call-in number to listen to the special board meeting only.

The Finance and Business Operations Committee will consider increases, decreases and other adjustments in non-mandatory student fees requested by colleges in the system. Non-mandatory fees are charges not assessed generally to all students but rather are fees for specific classes, programs and services. Whatever fee changes the committee recommends next week will be considered by the full Board at its regular meeting March 29. Tuition and maintenance fees (tuition for in-state residents) for the 2018-19 academic will be considered at later meetings of the committee and by the full Board at its June meeting.

The committee chairs will review the agenda for the Board’s quarterly meeting on March 29 at Nashville State.


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.