TSU Presidential Search Committee Outlines Process, Schedule

The presidential search advisory committee for Tennessee State University met today to outline the search process and agree on a schedule for future meetings.

The committee’s next meeting and any other meetings where individual applicants or candidates are identified will be closed to the public in order to comply with a new state law. The law provides that identities of candidates for chief executive officer of a Tennessee public higher education institution remain confidential unless the candidate is selected as a finalist for the position.

The committee and Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan expect to have a finalist selected to recommend to the board by late October and a new president in place by January 2013.

“This is an outstanding advisory committee, and I appreciate the time each member has dedicated to serve in this important role,” said Morgan. “The engagement each has demonstrated already is a strong indication that the committee will do an excellent job narrowing the field of qualified candidates.” The search committee’s charge is to identify three to five finalists who will visit the college for campus forums and community receptions. After collecting feedback from committee members, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan will then make a final selection for submission to the TBR for approval. The finalists are expected to be selected at the search advisory committee’s closed meeting scheduled for Oct. 19. The finalists will be announced to the public after the meeting.

The TSU committee is the second to begin a presidential search process since the state law requiring applicant confidentiality was enacted. The first meeting of the committee was open to the public. The finalists will be invited to the college to meet with campus and community constituent groups in open forums. All of the campus forums will be streamed live through a link available on the Web. A detailed schedule of the visits will be announced later. More information on the presidential search process, including the criteria for selection, can be found at www.tbr.edu under the “Quick Links” section.

Current TSU Interim President Portia Shields has led the campus since late December 2010. Her contract is scheduled to expire at the end of January. The contract under which she was hired stipulates Shields cannot be considered a candidate for the permanent position.

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 TBR 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.