Haslam Praises Swift Confirmation of Local University Governing Boards

Monday, February 13, 2017 | 06:03pm

General Assembly Approves All 48 of the Governor’s Appointments

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today thanked the General Assembly for its swift confirmation of six local university governing boards, giving the higher education institutions increased autonomy to support student success as the state continues its Drive to 55 initiative.

The General Assembly approved all 48 of Haslam’s appointments to the governing boards of Austin Peay State University, East Tennessee State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University and the University of Memphis. The boards are the result of the governor’s FOCUS Act, enacted last year.

“I want to thank the General Assembly for confirming these 48 appointments and supporting higher education in Tennessee and the Drive to 55,” Haslam said. “As we increase access to higher education through Tennessee Promise and the proposed Tennessee Reconnect, it is critical that our colleges and universities are supported in their efforts to create student success. I asked people to serve who will be champions for their respective universities and provide the schools more focused support, and I appreciate these men and women giving their time and talents to help our universities thrive.”

The boards will assume responsibility upon the first called meetings by the governor and will have the authority to appoint the campus president, manage the university budget and set tuition, and oversee other operational tasks.

About the Drive to 55

In 2013, Governor Haslam launched the Drive to 55 to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. As a result, the Drive to 55 has established the Tennessee Promise program, the nation’s first scholarship and mentorship program that provides high school graduates last-dollar scholarships to attend two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees; reduced the number of college freshmen requiring remediation through the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program; provided free technical college for adults through TCAT Reconnect Grants; created Tennessee Reconnect + Complete to help more adults return to college to complete unfinished degrees; developed a more comprehensive state approach to serving student veterans; and leveraged technology to enhance classroom instruction and college advising.