Debbie Adams, a 30-year career staffer and administrator at Chattanooga State Community College, will serve as interim president of the college when President Flora Tydings leaves Feb. 1 to assume her new role as chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents.
Adams, currently the college’s vice president of student affairs and workforce development, is being appointed today by TBR Chancellor David Gregory to lead Chattanooga State from Feb. 1 until the next president is appointed by the Board of Regents and arrives on campus later this year.
The Board is expected to convene a special conference call meeting soon to approve the criteria for the next president. No date has been set for the meeting.
In addition, a search advisory committee will be appointed, composed of at least three members of the Board of Regents and several representatives of Chattanooga State’s faculty, staff, students and alumni and of the larger Chattanooga community, to assist the chancellor and Board in the search. Its charge will be to recruit and receive applications from a broad range of highly qualified candidates and then identify three to five finalists who will be invited to the campus for interviews and forums with faculty, staff, students and the public.
The chancellor will then review input from the various groups and consult with members of the search advisory committee to make a final recommendation to the full Board of Regents for the next president. The entire process is expected to take three to four months.
The Board of Regents selected Tydings as the next chancellor of the TBR system on Dec. 27, following a four-month search and review process. She will assume her new role on Feb. 1, succeeding Gregory, who is retiring after 19 years as a TBR administrator and a total of 34 years in state service.
Adams began her 30-year career at Chattanooga State in the Student Affairs Division as an admissions and financial aid counselor and placement director.
Her experience working with business and industry in employing graduates led to a new role in the Continuing Education and Economic Development Division. Serving as assistant vice-president, she developed corporate training partnerships with area business and industry. As the workforce development liaison for the college, she met with site selectors and hosted various events to attract new industry to the area, including Volkswagen and Wacker Chemie.
In 2008, Adams returned to the Student Affairs Division as assistant vice president with responsibility for enrollment management and process improvement. She was later promoted to her current office of vice president of student affairs and workforce development.
She is a member of the inaugural 19-member 2016-17 class of the Complete Tennessee Leadership Academy, a year-long training program sponsored by Complete Tennessee and Leadership Tennessee to inspire more local higher education champions, foster innovation and promote statewide collaboration.
Adams is also a volunteer mentor for Tennessee Promise students, the state’s program for two years of tuition-free attendance at community colleges and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. She serves on the tnAchieves local advisory boards for Hamilton, Sequatchie and Bledsoe counties. She is active in the University of Tennessee Alumni Association and serves it in various leadership roles.
Adams is a graduate of Sequatchie County High School and earned her bachelor of science degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her master of science degree at Central Michigan University. She and her husband David Adams live in Signal Mountain.
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.