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Board of Regents to meet Dec. 14 at Volunteer State Community College; agenda includes warranty for technical program graduates

Volunteer State Community College

The Tennessee Board of Regents will hold its quarterly meeting Dec. 14 at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, with an agenda that includes consideration of a new warranty of competency for graduates of technical programs, the annual technical college employer and alumni survey, and review of the college system’s state legislative priorities for 2018.

The board, which governs Tennessee’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology, will convene at 1 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 14, in Wemyss Auditorium of Caudill Hall on the campus of Volunteer State, 1480 Nashville Pike, in Gallatin.

The board’s Economic and Community Development Committee will meet that morning at 9:15 a.m. in the Rochelle Center in the college’s Thigpen Library. The committee will review details of the system’s new TNTrained certification program for workforce development professionals and the warranty of competency for graduates of technical programs, and hear a brief overview of the system’s new Office of Economic and Community Development.

In its afternoon meeting, the full board will consider adopting a new TBR policy establishing the warranty program. If adopted, the system’s colleges will provide free re-training for their new graduates of technical programs offering an associate of applied science degree, diploma or technical certificate of credit found to lack the knowledge and skill set identified in the curriculum or program guide. The warranty would apply to students of those technical programs who graduate after the program goes into effect in Fall 2018 and extend for one year from their graduation date.

Board members will also hear results of the annual survey of employers and alumni of the colleges of applied technology on the schools’ performance, and review the system’s five major legislative priorities for the 2018 session of the Tennessee General Assembly, which convenes in January. Those priorities are: support for the public higher education operating, construction and equipment funding proposal of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; extension of the TBR system’s existence under the Tennessee Governmental Entity Review Law; expansion of dual enrollment opportunities for high school students taking college courses; safety and security of the system’s students, and expansion of college access for all Tennessee high school graduates.

Other items on the full board’s agenda include:

Consideration of criteria for the next presidents of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology at Murfreesboro and Newbern. TCAT-Newbern President Donna Hastings plans to retire Dec. 31, and TCAT-Murfreesboro President Lynn Kreider plans to retire March 1.

  • An overview of the system’s financial statements and approval of revised budgets for the 2017-18 school year.
  • An update on implementation of the FOCUS (Focus on College and University Success) Act, and consideration of revisions to TBR bylaws necessitated by the FOCUS Act.
  • Consideration of revisions and updates to the college system’s 10-year strategic plan for 2015-25.
  • Consideration of proposed new programs and program terminations and modifications at the colleges of applied technology.
  • Consideration of new policies on workplace violence prevention, freedom of speech and expression, and public records incompliance with state laws enacted from 2015 to 2017. The freedom of speech and expression policy results from the Campus Free Speech Protection Act approved by the state legislature in 2017, requiring every public institution of higher education in the state to adopt policies affirming the principles of free speech set forth in the act. And the legislature in 2016 amended the Public Records Act to require every governmental entity subject to the act to establish a written policy implementing it.
  • Consideration of revisions to system-wide student rules on alcoholic beverages and of revisions to TBR policy on alcoholic beverages and smoking. The smoking and tobacco policy changes would allow an institution to enact a policy making its campus smoke and tobacco free. The alcoholic beverage policy and rule changes would allow students at least 21 years old to consume alcoholic beverages at an event on institution property for which the president has approved the serving of alcoholic beverages if the student is an invited guest at the event.
  • Consider a request by Chattanooga State Community College to name its health science center the Erlanger Health Science Center, in recognition of the school’s longstanding partnership with Erlanger Health System and its hospitals in the Chattanooga area.
  • Consider resolutions of appreciation for Nashville State Community College President George Van Allen and TCAT-Newbern President Donna Hastings, who are retiring Dec. 31.

A full agenda and detailed meeting materials are available on the TBR website at tbr.edu/board/december-quarterly-board-meeting. The meeting is open to the public as observers. Anyone planning to attend should contact TBR Communications Director Rick Locker at rick.locker@tbr.edu or 615-366-4417 by 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 13 to arrange access. The meeting can also be viewed on the meeting website above.

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 100,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.