THEC Weekly Updates

Latest Blog Entries

clockMonday, October 30, 2017
Weekly Update 27 October, 2017 (Mike Krause)   

Improving Research-Based Knowledge of College Promise Programs

Last week, Emily House and Madison Dell of Planning & Research attended a conference at the University of Pennsylvania, entitled Improving Research-Based Knowledge of College Promise Programs. This conference was designed to generate a set of papers that explore the structure of college promise programs, characteristics of their participants, and program outcomes. Emily and Madison's paper describing the early outcomes of Tennessee Promise was accepted to the conference, and Emily presented the paper in a panel session on Thursday afternoon. The paper is expected to be published in a special edition of a higher education journal next year.

Diversity in Teaching Site Visit: Cumberland University

On Monday, Herbert Brown conducted a Diversity in Teaching site visit at Cumberland University for their English as Second Language Tuition Assistance program. Cumberland University has partnered with the Lebanon Special School District and DeKalb and Warren County School Districts for the project. The grant allows the districts to identify and place teacher candidates in high-need schools. 

Southern Regional Education Board Academic Officers Meeting

This week, Pam Knox attended the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Academic Officers meeting in Atlanta. For the first time in 20 years, representatives from 11 of the 16 SREB states convened to address college affordability. Strategies discussed included transferability, performance funding, the use of open licensed resources to reduce the cost of textbooks, and z-degrees. Z-degrees provide students the opportunity to complete an entire academic program without spending money on textbooks.

Nursing PhD Site Visit: University of Memphis

This week, Betty Dandridge Johnson participated in a two-day site visit at University of Memphis for the proposed Nursing PhD program. The proposed program will increase the number of doctorally-prepared nurse educators with an emphasis on teaching effectiveness and diversity. The proposed program was evaluated by Dr. Cynthia Jacelon, Professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Dr. Diedre Wipke-Tevis, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri. The external reviewers will provide a joint report based on the proposal and site visit and make a determination of program approval. Contingent upon their recommendations, the program may be considered for approval by the University of Memphis Board of Trustees and the Commission.

Building Bridges to Success for English Language Learners

On Thursday, Madison Dell of Planning & Research attended Building Bridges to Success for English Language Learners at Chattanooga State Community College. The event brought together community stakeholders to discuss the opportunities and challenges for English Language Learners in K-12 and postsecondary education. Chattanooga State and TCAT Chattanooga staff highlighted their collaboration with The Howard School to provide dual enrollment Career and Technical Education courses designed specifically for English Language Learners. Madison participated in a panel discussion with Dr. Bryan Johnson (Hamilton County Department of Education), Gini Pupo-Walker (Conexion Americas), and Dr. Jared Bigham (Chattanooga 2.0).

Austin Peay 2017 Outstanding Alumnus

Mike Krause was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Alumnus Award from Austin Peay State University. The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in one’s profession, business, community, state, or nation that have brought a high level of honor and pride to the University.

Lone Oaks Farm Master Plan

On Wednesday, Steven Gentile, Crystal Collins, Taylor Odle, Lauren Collier, Carl Manka, and Blake Roller traveled to West Tennessee for a presentation of the Lone Oaks Farm master plan. The UT Institute of Agriculture acquired the 1200-acre property in 2015 and developed a master plan aligned with the UT Extension mission of youth development, STEM education, and leadership programs. The planning process engaged community and system stakeholders as well as students in the UT School of Architecture providing an experiential, interdisciplinary learning opportunity. The plan also details hospitality venues and recreational amenities which will support the educational mission. The master plan will be presented to the Commission at the November meeting.

Tennessee News Reports and Releases

·         Tennessee Unemployment Rate Dips Below 5 Percent in Every County Across the State | The Tennessean

·         Hamblen Schools Celebrating EPSO Week | The Citizen Tribune

·         TCAT-Hohenwald Grand Opening: Perry County Site  | The Buffalo River Review

National News and Reports

·         State-Funded Student Aid Holds Steady | Inside Higher Ed

·         Public Higher Ed Skews Wealthy| Inside Higher Ed

·         College-Advising Model Yields Results for Low-Income Students | Education Week

·         Writing on the Wall for Future of M.B.A. Programs? | Inside Higher Ed

·         Colleges Urged to Ramp Up to Fill Cybersecurity Workforce Void | Diverse Issues in Higher Education

·         Tough Options After Perkins | Inside Higher Ed

·         U.S. Considers Partial Relief for Defrauded Student Borrowers | Inside Higher Ed

clockFriday, October 20, 2017
Weekly Update 20 October, 2017 (Mike Krause)   

State Board of Education Meeting at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Mike Krause and Victoria Harpool attended the State Board of Education quarterly meeting in Knoxville. State Board members were hosted by the University of Tennessee and were welcomed by Chancellor Davenport. State Board members were able to engage with UT education faculty as well as representatives from surrounding K-12 districts as they work to collaborate to ensure student success. 

Tennessee's Talent, Innovation, & Equity Meetings

On Tuesday, Emily House of Planning & Research hosted meetings for Tennessee's Talent, Innovation, & Equity (TIE) grant from the Lumina Foundation.  African American community leaders convened to discuss opportunities and challenges in higher education. Toya Barnes-Teamer of HCM Strategists facilitated discussions on barriers that African American students face as well as strategies to increase their success in higher education. The discussion informs the project proposals the TIE grant will fund.  Subsequently, the TIE steering committee, comprised of staff from THEC, UT, TBR, Complete Tennessee, and the Governor's Office, addressed institutional requirements to apply for TIE funding and the rubric that will be used to score proposed projects.

LearnX Annual Conference

Jessica Gibson, Mary Laphen, and Kevin Bradley attended LearnX, the Graduate! Network's annual conference, held in Memphis. Representatives of 22 communities, eight from Tennessee, attended, all of which have implemented the Graduate! Network's collective impact model to support adult learners. The conference focused on increasing degree attainment among adult learners and using data to inform strategic interventions. During the conference, Jessica participated in a panel that discussed college completion strategies at a national level and presented marketing and outreach approaches for adult learners. Kevin presented initiatives focused on veteran students. 

Tennessee News Reports and Releases

·         Nov. 16 Forum Will Examine Hurdles Students, Adults Face in Education | The Daily Herald

·         Columbia State President Shares News of School’s Growth, Future Plans | Brentwood Home Page

·         Chattanooga State to Host Three TN Reconnect Information Sessions | Times Free Press

National News and Reports

·         Free College Finds Success in Tennessee | Campus Technology

·         The Decline of the Midwest's Public Universities Threatens to Wreck Its Most Vibrant Economies | The Atlantic

·         How Smaller Colleges and Universities Team Up for Survival | PBS NewsHour

·         Aiming for Billions| Inside Higher Ed

·         Default Crisis for Black Student Borrowers | Inside Higher Ed

·         More Scrutiny for Community Colleges | Inside Higher Ed

·         More Older Americans Than Ever Are Struggling with Student Debt | PBS NewsHour

clockMonday, October 16, 2017
Weekly Update 13 October, 2017 (Mike Krause)   

Education Commission of the States

On Monday and Tuesday, Mike Krause and Jessica Gibson participated in the Education Commission of the States convening on “Supporting Adult Learners for Postsecondary Success.” Mike shared with the group efforts around reengaging and supporting student veterans, and Jessica participated on a panel discussing Tennessee Reconnect and innovations in reaching adult learners. Participants represented several states, organizations, and institutions across the country.

California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Outcomes-Based Funding Panel

Today, Steven Gentile served remotely on a panel at the Chief Fiscal Officer Forum for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO). The CCCCO is considering revisions to their funding formula to more directly align with student success. Steven’s participation offered Tennessee’s seven-year perspective on the development, implementation, and continued assessment of the Tennessee Outcomes-Based Funding Formula. THEC offered to be a source of consultation as CCCCO continues to explore outcomes-based funding.

THEC Hosts TN Livability Collaborative

On Tuesday, Mary Laphen and Amanda Klafehn hosted the TN Livability Collaborative. Mary presented on the Tennessee Reconnect Communities (TRCs), focusing on their work, model, and partnerships throughout the state. The Livability Collaborative is a cross-functional group of state agencies which meets to build connections and share resources to improve livability for Tennesseans.

Bryan College VETS Presentation

On Thursday, Tom Morrison, Mitch Currey, and Lee Cunningham participated in the presentation of the Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) designation to Bryan College.  The designation recognizes the institution's initiatives in support of student veterans.  Bryan College is one of four private institutions who have received the designation.

Tennessee News Reports and Releases

·         Tennessee ACT Scores Improve, Closing in on 2020 Goal| The Tennessean

·         County Shows Growth on TN Ready | Crossville Chronicle

·         Memphis-area Leaders, Businesses, Schools Come Together for Amazon Pitch | WREG/CBS affiliate for Memphis

National News and Reports

·         Like Their Students, Colleges Are Vastly Increasing the Amount They Borrow  | The Hechinger Report

·         More Colleges Are Offering Microcredentials—And Developing Them The Way Businesses Make New Products | Ed Surge

·         The Hidden Reason Behind College Dropouts | U.S. News

·         Adults and Community College Degrees  | Inside Higher Ed

·         The New, Improved IPEDS | Inside Higher Ed

clockFriday, October 06, 2017
Weekly Update 6 October, 2017 (Mike Krause)   

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Convening

This week, Pam Knox and Victoria Harpool attended the Team TN Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Convening hosted by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was established to strengthen and improve the public workforce system, particularly for youth and those with significant barriers to employment in high-quality careers. The convening brought together representatives from the state, industry, workforce, and K-12 and postsecondary education to build upon the regulations, guidance, virtual training, and resources already available. Furthermore, the team planned how to strategically grow the Tennessee economy and match the skills of workers with industry.

National Skills Coalition Skills in the States Forum

On Wednesday, Jessica Gibson participated in the National Skills Coalition’s Skills in the States Forum. She served as a panelist discussing Tennessee Reconnect and the state’s focus on adult learners within the Drive to 55. Forum participants represented policy and advocacy organizations, community colleges, community-based organizations, business associations, philanthropic partners, and workforce agencies from 29 states.

TN Reconnect and VETS Campus Events

Mike Krause and representatives from External Relations, Veterans Education, and Adult Learner Initiatives participated in events to award Tennessee Reconnect Grants to Jackson State Community College (September 28), Austin Peay State University (October 2), and Cleveland State Community College (October 4). Jackson State and Cleveland State were also designated as Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) campuses. The events highlighted institutional commitments to supporting student veterans, including prior learning assessment initiatives that will allow veterans to receive academic credit for qualifications achieved during their military service.

University of Memphis Board of Trustees Meeting

Lauren Collier attended the fall meeting of the University of Memphis Board of Trustees on Wednesday. The board committees for audit; academic, research, and student success; and governance and finance met prior to the convening of the full board. A recording of the webcast can be viewed here.

State-funded Free College Panel Participation

On Wednesday, Emily House participated in a panel discussion about state-funded free college initiatives at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Other panelists included Teresa Lubbers, Commissioner of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, and Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director of tnAchieves. This event was sponsored by ETS and the College Promise Campaign to discuss different options and program designs for expanding free college programs across the nation.

Site Visit for UTC Master of Public Health in Physical Activity and Public Health

Last week, Betty Dandridge Johnson and Pam Knox participated in a site visit at UT Chattanooga for the proposed Master of Public Health program in Physical Activity and Public Health. Dr. Olivia Affuso, Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is evaluating the program based on the proposal and site visit. Pending her assessment, the program may be considered for approval by the UT Board of Trustees and THEC.

Teaching Tennessee Promise and Reconnect

On Thursday, Emily House presented a guest lecture at Vanderbilt University, in a higher education policy course taught by Professor Adela Soliz. She spoke to graduate students studying higher education administration about the history, policy processes, and early outcomes of Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect.

Tennessee News Reports and Releases

·         Value of College is High Despite Americans' Doubts | The Tennessean

·         Tennessee Receives $24.5 Million to Boost College Access Statewide | Clarksville Online (includes quotes from Mike Krause)

·         Tennessee Board of Regents Requests Funding for Four New Initiatives | Times News

·         Cleveland State Hosts Veterans Designated Campus Event On Wednesday |The Chattanoogan (includes quotes from Mike Krause)

·         JSCC Receives Special Designation for Veterans Resources WBBJ/ABC affiliate for Jackson

National News and Reports

·         Designing Sustainable Funding for College Promise Initiatives | ETS Research Report (highlights Tennessee Promise)

·         Georgia State Backed Up Analytics With Support System | Diverse Issues in Higher Education

·         Getting Faculty Members to Embrace Student Data | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

·         Four-Year Itch | Community College Daily

·         Can Technology-Augmented Academic Advising Improve College Graduation Rates?| Ed Surge

·         Cities and Higher Education: Sustainable Growth through Collaboration at the Intersections | The EvoLLLution