Tennessee State Moves Closer to Independent Board Governance

Tennessee State University is one step closer to being managed by its own governing board, thanks to a unanimous vote to advance legislation that realigns higher education governance in the state.

Members of the State’s Senate Education Committee pushed through a draft of the Focus on College and University Success Act to the full legislature yesterday, a bill which grants Tennessee public colleges and universities their own governing boards with autonomy for budget request and policy making.

The plan mirrors governance models in use in most states with public HBCUs, and divides stakeholder review among political and campus alliances. From the bill summary:

This bill establishes the requirements for each state university board. Under this bill, each state university board will consist of 10 members of which nine members will be voting members and one member will be a nonvoting member. The nonvoting member will be a student representative. Of the voting members, at least six members must be residents of this state.
Eight of the voting state university board members will be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor, subject to confirmation by the general assembly. At least three of the members appointed by the governor must be alumni. One board member will be an active faculty member of the institution selected by the board. The nonvoting student member will be appointed by the state university board.

If approved, the new governance structure is expected to begin for all public institutions in November 2017.

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