Governor Haslam Announces Restructuring of TN Higher Education

Governor Bill Haslam speaks with members of the press

UT System Acknowledged for Results

Yesterday, Governor Haslam announced proposed next steps for the State’s Drive to 55 initiative—addressing the structure of public higher education in Tennessee. Under the proposed plan, the six four-year universities housed within the Tennessee Board of Regents System (TBR) will receive their own local governing boards that will appoint their campus president, manage the university budget, set tuition, and oversee other operational duties. While the impact of the proposed plan appears to be minimal to the University of Tennessee System, UT President Joe DiPietro stated, “We will remain watchful as the plan unfolds.”

The changes will be presented to the legislature in the upcoming session through the “Drive to 55 Focus on College and University Success (FOCUS) Act.”

In an interview with the Knox News Sentinel following the announcement, Governor Haslam stated, “the UT System is producing good results…blowing that up did not seem to make sense.”

President DiPietro further emphasized the strength of the UT System, stating:

“We stand on our performance. You look at our metrics and what we’ve done over the last five years; I could argue this place — I’ve been here 10 years — is on the best track it’s been in 10 years. We think we have a great system. We really value having Chattanooga and Martin in that system as well as Knoxville and of course Memphis. We want the system to stay together and we’re very interested in making sure that we continue to be the University of Tennessee, a statewide enterprise.”

Governance will be the primary topic of an upcoming Senate Higher Education Oversight Subcommittee meeting on December 8. Please check back here and refer to our Twitter feed for updates.

Read more about the Governor’s announcement here. 

Tags: , , , ,