Presidents of TN Colleges of Applied Technology Jackson and Murfreesboro re-elected to Council on Occupational Education governing board

Dr. Carol Puryear and Dr. Jeff Sisk

The presidents of two Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology have been re-elected to the governing board of the Council on Occupational Education, and two others are members of key COE committees.

Dr. Carol Puryear, president of TCAT Murfreesboro, and Dr. Jeff Sisk, president of TCAT Jackson, were re-elected to new three-year terms on the 19-member Commission of the Council on Occupational Education (COE) during COE’s recent Annual Business Session.

COE is the national accrediting agency for occupational higher education institutions. The Commission is COE’s governing board and the decision-making body for all of the agency’s accreditation actions.

Two other TCAT presidents also serve on key COE committees: Dr. Arrita Summers, president of TCAT Dickson, is a member of the COE Appeal Panel, and Dr. Myra West, president of TCAT Livingston, is a member of the COE Committee on Policies and Rules – both in terms that end in 2022.

In addition to Puryear and Sisk, James D. King, retired president of Northeast State Community College and former executive vice chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, remains a member of the COE Commission, in a term that runs through this year. With three commission members, Tennessee has more members of the COE governing board than any other state.  

Seven other higher education leaders from other states also were either elected or re-elected to new terms on the Commission.

The Council on Occupational Education came into existence in 1971 as the Commission on Occupational Educational Institutions (COEI) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the regional accrediting association for schools, colleges and universities in 11 states. As a unit of SACS, COEI provided accreditation services to postsecondary occupational education institutions primarily in the SACS region.

The Council on Occupational Education was incorporated in 1994 as a non-profit education organization and became a fully operational agency with a new national scope the following year, when its staff, assets and resources were transferred from SACS to the Council. Its mission is assuring quality and integrity in career and technical education.

The 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology are COE-accredited public institutions spanning the state and serving more than 29,000 students annually as the state’s premier providers of career and technical training powering Tennessee’s economy. The technical colleges, along with the state’s 13 community colleges, comprise the College System of Tennessee, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

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.