The Tennessee Board of Regents today appointed Dr. Carol Puryear as president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Murfreesboro, where she has served as interim president since May 2019.
She previously led the college as its director from 2007 to 2012, when she left to join the Tennessee Board of Regents system staff, first as associate vice chancellor of instruction and special projects for all 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and, since 2017, as vice chancellor of economic and community development.
The Board of Regents approved the appointment, effective July 1, on the recommendation of Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, who said Puryear “is known and respected throughout TCAT Murfreesboro’s service area and has demonstrated, not only in her 13 months as interim president but through her entire 40-year career, that she is ideally suited to lead the college in its service to students, business and industry, and the broader community.”
In conjunction with the appointment, Tydings and Puryear announced that TBR’s Office of Economic and Community Development is transitioning into the Center for Workforce Development, based at TCAT Murfreesboro under Puryear’s direction but serving the entire College System of Tennessee.
The Center for Workforce Development will continue the Office of Economic and Community Development’s work in establishing new apprenticeship programs, coordinating education programs in correctional facilities, and coordinating workforce activities with state and local agencies.
As vice chancellor, Puryear served as the College System of Tennessee’s point of contact for state and local economic and workforce development agencies, and businesses and industries seeking information and assistance with workforce training. She will continue that work on behalf of the College System.
“Our goal remains to assist in making the greatest workforce possible,” Puryear said. “The need for quality workforce training is greater than it’s ever been and our campuses play a vital role as we meet Tennessee’s needs.”
The Board’s vote to appoint Puryear was unanimous. Regent Yolanda Greene, a Murfreesboro business executive and chair of the Board’s Personnel and Compensation Committee, said Puryear is “our Murfreesboro superwoman. She has been remarkable in creating so many relationships with the community and still keeping our students first.”
Regent Joey Hatch said, “She has an infectious energy and she is connected to business and the workforce development side in that hotbed of advanced manufacturing in Rutherford County. She’s always done a great job and I know she will continue to do a great job.”
Puryear said she is ready to assume the presidency without the “interim” in her title. “TCAT Murfreesboro is near and dear to my heart but more than that, it is a dream to work in this community and with the faculty and staff here on behalf of our students,” she said.
TCAT Murfreesboro has a branch campus in Smyrna, the Bill Haslam Center, that it shares with the Nissan Training Center.
Puryear is a commissioner with the Council of Occupational Education, the accrediting organization for technical colleges, serving on its Committee on Accreditation Standards and Conditions. She is a graduate of the Complete Tennessee Leadership Class and is a Complete College America Fellow. She also serves on several state-level workforce committees and councils.
She earned her Doctorate of Education in Administration and Supervision, with a concentration in higher education, from Tennessee State University. She holds a Master’s in Technical Education from Middle Tennessee State University.
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.