Dr. Carol G. Puryear assumed new duties today as interim president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Murfreesboro, pending the completion of a search for a new president. Dr. Lynn Kreider retired Wednesday after serving as the college’s president since 2012 and a 25-year career in higher education.
TCAT-Murfreesboro serves students in Rutherford and parts of six surrounding counties. It has a branch campus in Smyrna, a new $46 million facility that opened in early 2017 and which also houses the Nissan Training Center.
Puryear remains vice chancellor for economic and community development at The College System of Tennessee, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, where she leads the system’s workforce development mission and its partnership with state and local economic development agencies.
“I’m looking forward to working with the students, faculty and staff at TCAT-Murfreesboro to deliver quality workforce education to meet business and industry needs from day one,” she said.
TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, who appointed the interim president, said Puryear is the ideal choice to lead TCAT-Murfreesboro until the next president arrives. “Dr. Puryear is a familiar face at the college and to local government and business and industry officials across the region. She served as president of TCAT-Murfreesboro from 2007 to 2012, before moving to the TBR system office in Nashville where she worked with all of our technical colleges.
“During her earlier tenure as president, she helped conceive and worked with Nissan to establish the college’s new Smyrna campus, a unique partnership that serves as both a public branch campus open to any student interested in its several technical training programs and as a training center for Nissan’s employees. I’m grateful to Dr. Puryear for agreeing to serve as interim while she continues her work as vice chancellor of economic and community development.”
Puryear left the college in 2012 to become assistant vice chancellor of the statewide Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology at the TBR system office. She later served as associate vice chancellor for instruction and special projects for the TCATs and as coordinator of TBR’s online education collaborative, the TN eCampus.
She was appointed vice chancellor in April 2017 as part of a reorganization of the TBR system office that created the new Office of Economic and Community Development, which she leads. In that role, she led the creation of the new TNTrained program, an initiative of the College System of Tennessee, the state Department of Economic and Community Development and other state agencies. Its mission is to build a unified, statewide approach for retaining, growing and attracting businesses to Tennessee by training economic and workforce development professionals in higher education and state and local agencies with a uniform knowledge base of practices, strategies and skills. The training will also develop a “tool box” of resources for their work with business and industry to create new jobs for Tennesseans. TNTrained’s first class launched Jan. 30 at the Smyrna campus with nearly 80 educators and economic and workforce development professionals.
She has dedicated her career to the education of students, serving more than 30 years in a variety of public and private academic settings. She serves on the Council of Occupational Education’s Committee on Accreditation Standards and Conditions, the accreditation organization for technical colleges.
Puryear earned her bachelor of science degree in home economics education and her master’s in technical education, both from Middle Tennessee State University, and her doctorate of education in administration and supervision from Tennessee State University.
The Tennessee Board of Regents approved the criteria for TCAT-Murfreesboro’s next president at its December board meeting. A search advisory committee will hold its orientation and start-up meeting at 1 p.m. April 2 at the college’s Smyrna campus, 663 Ken Pilkerton Drive.