TBR Discusses Completion Agenda, Approves Academic Programs, Prior Learning Credit, Campus Salary Plans

The Tennessee Board of Regents approved new academic programs, a policy to award credits for prior learning, and salary plans for all TBR institutions, among other actions at its quarterly meeting at Austin Peay State University today.

The Board also heard a report highlighting the system’s progress toward its completion goal, the TBR’s effort to increase the numbers of degrees, certificates and diplomas awarded as part of the state’s Drive to 55 initiative.

The completion agenda report showed TBR institutions exceeded their completion goals for the year. In the 2012-13 academic year, the 46 TBR schools awarded more than 36,800 bachelor’s, associate, certificate and workforce credentials. The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded last year was 13,747, 3.8 percent above the goal for the year; associate degrees totaled 9,720, or 26 percent above goal; community college certificates reached 6,132, almost 249 percent above goal; and TCAT awards reached 7,204, .24 percent above goal.

With today’s Board action, three additional workforce development programs will soon be offered at Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology: a business systems technology program through the TCAT-Crump to be provided at the Henderson-Chester County center, a cosmetology program at TCAT-Dickson’s Clarksville extension campus, and an injection molding/robotics program offered through TCAT-Newbern at the Adult Education Center in Bells, Tenn.

Columbia State Community College and Dyersburg State Community College both received approval to offer an associate of applied science degree in medical informatics to prepare students for entry-level information technology positions in healthcare to address workforce needs in Middle and West Tennessee. A master of professional science with a concentration in applied geospatial sciences was approved for Tennessee State University. Offered online, the graduate program will prepare students with high-level skills in geospatial information systems in demand from industry and public sector organizations, and will incorporate an internship component to provide workplace experience with related industry.

The Board also approved a revision to its policy that will ensure credits awarded through “extra-institutional learning” such as work and life experience is consistently applied, awarded and recorded among TBR institutions. It also provides that prior-learning credit is freely transferable within the system.

Compensation plans were approved for universities, community colleges, colleges of applied technology and the TBR system office for those institutions that have funding available to use for salary adjustments and/or one-time payments. Salary plans vary by campus, but system-wide, 74 percent of the salary adjustments were applied to personnel in instruction, research or academic support areas.

The Tennessee Board of Regents is among the nation’s largest higher education systems, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology, providing programs across the state to about 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.