Finalists selected for next president of Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville

Finalists for TCAT Knoxville

A Search Advisory Committee has selected two finalists for the next president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Knoxville. The candidates will visit the campus Nov. 7-8 to meet with faculty, staff and students – the next step in the selection process.

The finalists are:

  • Kelli A. Chaney, dean of career education and workforce development at Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Prestonsburg, Ky.
  • Michael E. Ricketts, dean of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Chattanooga.

The finalists’ resumes and other information about the presidency and search process are available on the Presidential/Executive Searches section of the Tennessee Board of Regents website at

The president is the college's chief executive officer. President Dwight E. Murphy is resigning as president of TCAT Knoxville Dec. 31. He has served a dual role as president of TCAT Knoxville and TCAT Oneida/Huntsville for six years and is resigning as president of TCAT Knoxville only, remaining head of the Scott County campuses.

Ricketts is scheduled to visit the Knoxville campus Nov. 7, and Chaney on Nov. 8.

After the campus visits, TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings will gather input from the campus community and further interview the candidates to select one for nomination to the full Board of Regents, which appoints presidents of all the colleges in the System. The goal is to have the next president in office Jan. 1.

TCAT Knoxville enrolls more than 1,700 students per year, in about 20 technical training programs. Its main campus is on Liberty Street, west of downtown Knoxville, and it also offers programs at other teaching locations, including two new facilities under development in Anderson County and Blount County.

The Board approved the criteria for the next president July 25 and appointed the Presidential Search Advisory Committee to review applicants, conduct interviews and recommend finalists to the chancellor.

The committee was chaired by Regent Danni Varlan of Knoxville and included Regents Tom Griscom and Joey Hatch as members, along with representatives of the faculty, staff, students and alumni and the community. It met for the first time and held a public forum Sept. 5 at the college.

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.