President Obama Cites Tennessee’s Efforts at Higher Ed Reform

The White House released a fact sheet this morning on President Barak Obama’s plan to make the nation’s colleges more affordable. Included in it and noted in the President’s speech today is recognition of Tennessee’s innovative higher education reform efforts and Austin Peay State University’s Degree Compass program.

Part of President Obama’s plan challenges states to fund public colleges based on performance, a practice already in place in Tennessee with the implementation of the outcomes-based funding formula. The funding formula was a key part of the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010. TBR Chancellor John Morgan was part of the team instrumental in drafting and implementing the act.

“Tennessee is on the forefront of improvements in higher education to focus on student success,” said Morgan. “The leadership provided by Governor Haslam, the General Assembly, and the previous administration have paved the way for this recognition. This is arguably the boldest attempt by any state in the country to focus the energies and resources of its public higher education enterprise on meeting the state’s development needs.”

The White House fact sheet also highlights the Degree Compass program developed by Dr. Tristan Denley, Tennessee Board of Regents vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, who was provost at APSU when he created the software program. Degree Compass uses predictive analytics to increase student retention in college by helping them select courses they need and would most likely complete – in the same way Netflix might recommend a movie.

Among other innovative challenges in the President’s plan for higher education is the use of technology to redesign courses. TBR is in the process of testing new technology platforms for online and blended learning that provide early feedback and analysis of interactions to help improve student learning.

For more information on President Obama’s college affordability plan, see:

(Tennessee is mentioned in these sections:

  • Engage States with a Race to the Top for Higher Education that Has Higher Value and Lower Costs
  • Use Technology for Student Services.)

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.