TBR Strategic Plan Steering Committee convenes Dec. 11 to launch plan review


The Tennessee Board of Regents is launching a periodic review of its 2015-25 Strategic Plan, starting Dec. 11 when a new TBR Strategic Plan Steering Committee will convene to begin planning the review.

The committee will eventually make recommendations to the board for possible revisions or updates to the existing 10-year plan. The Board of Regents must approve any revisions or updates to the plan before they can go into effect. The process is expected to be completed in six to nine months. The board governs the College System of Tennessee – the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology.

The Steering Committee will meet at 1 p.m. CT Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Tennessee Board of Regents system office, 1 Bridgestone Park, Nashville, TN 37214. The agenda (below) includes an overview and timeline of the strategic plan process; strategic plan themes; next steps, and discussions on national perspectives on governing board strategic planning led by a presenter from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and perspectives on TBR’s completion and equity agenda led by presenters from the national Achieving the Dream Network.

The 22-member Steering Committee includes two Board members – Vice Chair Emily J. Reynolds and Regent Barbara Prescott – TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, two community college presidents, two presidents of colleges of applied technology, five college senior staff members representing various campus operations and services, three representatives of TBR partner agencies (the Tennessee Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Labor and Workforce Development), and seven TBR system senior staff members.

The current 2015-2025 TBR Strategic Plan includes a provision to revisit the plan periodically throughout the 10-year timeframe. With the appointment of Dr. Tydings as chancellor in early 2017, the Board of Regents reaffirmed the existing plan while adding new elements reflecting changes in TBR’s mission and structure as a result of the FOCUS (Focus on College and University Success) Act of 2016.

The existing Strategic Plan includes five pillars:

  • Access
  • Student Success
  • Quality
  • Resourcefulness and Efficiency
  • Partnerships, Promotion and Advocacy

TBR’s new Strategic Plan review is prompted by several factors, including: the Tennessee Higher Education Commission is scheduled in early 2020 to revise its statewide Strategic Plan, which sets the agenda for higher education statewide; programs such as Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect have significantly altered the policy landscape, and the FOCUS Act provided an opportunity for TBR to sharpen its mission as an open access system emphasizing student success and workforce development.

The Dec. 11 agenda:

TBR 2020-25 Strategic Plan

Steering Committee – December 11, 2019


  1. Welcome and IntroductionsTBR Vice-Chair Emily Reynolds and Chancellor Flora Tydings
  1. Strategic Plan Process Overview & TimelineRuss Deaton and Wendy Thompson
  1. Goals for TodayRuss Deaton and Wendy Thompson
    1. Gain an understanding of national trends and external perspectives.
    2. Discuss current TBR challenges and opportunities.
    3. Based on discussion, identify themes to explore in a revised Strategic Plan.
  1. A National Perspective on Governing Board Strategic PlanningDennis Jones of National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)
    1. What does it mean to have an Open Access mission?
    2. Whom does TBR serve and whom should we serve better and how?
    3. What is happening around the US that TBR can learn from?
    4. How are other governing boards wrestling with similar challenges?
    5. How does TBR properly serve workforce needs?
    6. How does TBR promote collaboration among all 40 colleges in our system?
    7. How do we best utilize our partnerships with sister agencies across TN (DOE, Labor, ECD, THEC, etc.) to best serve our students?


  1. Perspectives on TBR and the Completion and Equity AgendaDavid Hartleb and Rene Garcia of Achieving the Dream
    1. ATD’s Perspective on ….
      1. National Trends for Community and Technical Colleges.
      2. TBR’s Completion and Equity Efforts.
    2. What considerations should guide TBR’s Strategic Plan?
    3. What reforms or programs need renewed interest?
    4. What ideas or reforms have we not emphasized enough?
    5. Are we expending attention and energy on reforms that are not working?
    6. Has TBR effectively prioritized its various reform efforts?
    7. How do we balance institutional autonomy with ‘system-ness’?
  1. Strategic Plan Themes – Group and Presenters
    1. Current Strategic Plan
    2. Emerging themes that need further exploration
  1. Next Steps – Group and Presenters
    1. Focus groups within and outside TBR to get feedback and gather additional perspective.
    2. Structure of a potential revised 2020-25 Strategic Plan.
      1. Mission Statement?
      2. Themes?
      3. Statements or Ideas?
      4. Metrics and Goals?
    3. Next Meeting Date: TBD, but likely late spring.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 24 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.