The search for a new president at Tennessee State University is expected to begin in May with the engagement of a search firm to attract a strong pool of applicants from across the country.
A tentative timeline has the search firm working through the summer to advertise the position and generate leads for applicants. The search advisory committee will be named in August when faculty, staff and students return to campus for the fall semester. The goal will be to have a new president selected by the end of October with the possibility of taking office in January 2013.The new president will replace Portia Shields, who has led the university in an interim capacity since December 2010 when then-TSU President Melvin Johnson retired from the presidency. The contractual arrangements under which Shields serves as interim president will not allow her to be considered as a candidate for the permanent presidency. “We have been fortunate to have strong, effective and positive leadership with Dr. Shields at the helm during this interim period,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan. “Her engagement with students, faculty, staff and the broader community has resulted in many positive changes on the campus.” One of Shields’ main priorities was to ensure TSU’s accreditation was affirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The campus received unconditional reaffirmation of its accreditation last December. She was also tasked with making operational improvements to help TSU move forward in its efforts to help improve student retention and completion.“TSU has a rich history and a bright future. We plan to do everything we can to find the best permanent leader to continue the university’s progress. Our ultimate goal is to help TSU students succeed, and Dr. Shields and the entire TSU community have already laid excellent groundwork for the next president,” Morgan said.The TBR has a contract in place with Greenwood/Asher, an executive search firm specializing in executive searches for education markets. The firm has led successful searches at numerous colleges and universities nationwide, including East Tennessee State University last year. It is currently assisting in the search for a president at Tennessee Technological University, expected to be completed by May.Morgan emphasized the TSU search, like all TBR presidential searches, will be an open, public and fair process that follows the policies and procedures of the Board. Information about the search will be posted on the tbr.edu website under “presidential searches.”TSU’s next president is expected to take the reins in the midst of the main campus’ Centennial Celebration. TSU, Tennessee’s only public HBCU (historically black colleges and universities), is a doctoral/research intensive institution located in Nashville. It recently earned a Top 20 ranking for HBCUs by U.S.News & World Report and has been listed as one of the Top HBCUs in the United States by Black Enterprise magazine. Washington Monthly named TSU as one of the nation’s top universities in its 2011 College Rankings because of its success in educating and graduating academically talented, low-income students who become service-oriented leaders in their professions and communities.The Tennessee Board of Regents is the nation’s sixth largest higher education system, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities (including TSU), 13 two-year colleges and 27 technology centers, providing programs in 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties to more than 200,000 students.
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.