THEC Weekly Updates

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clockMonday, September 18, 2017
Weekly Update 15 September, 2017 (Mike Krause)   

VETS Designation Ceremony at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

On September 9, THEC staff (Scott Sloan, Brett Gipson, and Mitch Currey) presented the Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) designation to Chancellor Beverly Davenport of UT Knoxville during a ceremony at the Tennessee Vols football game. The VETS designation recognizes institutions that provide exemplary support to our veteran students who have entered or re-entered higher education after service to our nation. UT Knoxville joins twenty-one campuses across Tennessee who have earned the VETS designation.

Drive to 55 Update to Tennessee Association of Colleges of Teacher Education

On Monday, Victoria Harpool provided a Drive to 55 update at the Tennessee Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (TACTE) meeting. TACTE brings together faculty and administrators from public and private schools of education across the state. Victoria provided information on previous and current Tennessee Promise cohorts, the Tennessee Reconnect program, and progress of Tennessee’s work with veterans.

SAILS Presentation at the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation

On Wednesday, Victoria Harpool presented “SAILS: Rethinking Remediation as a Pathway to Student Success” at the Ayers Institute. The SAILS program allows high school students to complete learning support requirements in their senior year of high school, thus allowing them to earn college credit as soon as they enter postsecondary education. The Ayers Institute brings together K-12 and higher education faculty and administrators to foster collaboration for student success. Victoria provided SAILS program details and the outstanding success rates of students who participate.

Adult Student Fact Book Release

On Friday, THEC released the 2017 Adult Student Fact Book. The report provides important information about adult learners in Tennessee, including enrollment patterns, demographic characteristics, completion, and graduation statistics. Several enrollment and completion data points for the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) are available in the report as well. Finally, the report details several of the programmatic interventions serving adult students including Community College Reconnect, Veteran Reconnect, and LEAP. The full report is available here.

Reconnect Academy

On Thursday, Jessica Gibson, Mary Laphen, and Maryann Rainey participated in a Reconnect Academy hosted by TBR. Regional TCAT teams and community college teams included representatives for academic initiatives, enrollment management, support services, and advising and career services. Teams shared promising practices and began drafting Reconnect Institutional Plans that will outline next steps for new or enhanced programs to roll out for the Fall 2018 Reconnect launch.

ETSU and Nashville State Early Design Phase Presentations

On Wednesday, Steven Gentile and Taylor Odle of the fiscal policy team attended two Early Design Phase (EDP) presentations at TBR. The first provided schematics for the renovation and expansion of the D. P. Culp University Center at East Tennessee State University. The modernized design incorporates student study and activity needs and preferences, including the use of glass to bring natural light into the facility. The second EDP outlined the development of Nashville State’s new facility in Madison. The project includes the demolition of buildings formerly used for a car dealership and construction of a building intended to serve approximately 400 students. The Madison location will provide greater access to the students in the northern part of Davidson County. Both EDPs were subsequently approved at the State Building Commission.

Meharry Medical College Visit

On Thursday, members of the THEC staff visited Meharry Medical College. Mike Krause, Betty Dandridge Johnson, Emily House, and Carole Anne Orsborn met with senior administrators, faculty, and students to learn about the institution and its mission. The team then toured medical and dental facilities including medical simulation labs, the Gross Anatomy laboratory, and the campus’s pediatric dental clinic.

Labor Education Alignment Program 2.0 Work-Based Learning Seminar

Last week, THEC’s Education and Workforce Alignment Director Curt Johnston and the Tennessee Department of Education’s Chelsea Parker hosted a Work-Based Learning Seminar for Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP) 2.0 project directors and their collaborative partners. The seminar afforded grantees the opportunity to learn more about the structures and best practices of secondary and postsecondary work-based learning programs. Furthermore, participants shared questions, challenges, and insights in establishing new initiatives. Currently, eleven of the twelve LEAP 2.0 projects have committed to providing work-based learning experiences which would provide opportunities for more than 300 students over the next 20 months.

Tennessee News Reports and Releases

·         UT Professor Appointed to President’s Council of Economic Advisers |WATE/ABC affiliate for Knoxville

·         UTM's Carver to Sit on College Affordability Panel on Tuesday | The Jackson Sun

·         5 Reasons Nashville Will Land the Amazon HQ (and 2 Reasons Why it Won't) | The Tennessean (references Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect)

·         OnlineCollegePlan.Com Names Best Online Schools in Tennessee |

·         Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology Receive $81,000 Contribution from AT&T for Equipment for Student Information-technology Training Programs | Herald Chronicle

 National News and Reports

·         Tennessee is Investing in a Program that Helps Adults Finish their College Degree. Will it Boost the Economy? | PBS NewsHour (includes quotes from Mike Krause and Pellissippi State President Anthony Wise)

·         State Innovations for Near-Completers | Education Commission of the States (profiles Tennessee Reconnect)

·         When it Comes to Affordable College Education, Conservative Tennessee Has So-called Progressive California Beat  | LA Times

·         When Employment Is the Goal, Should ‘Student Success’ Include Dropouts? | EdSurge

·         New Guidance for Trustees on Free Speech Issues | Inside Higher Ed

·         Opioid Education, Now a College Requirement |Inside Higher Ed

·         "Transfer Maze" Awaits California Community College Students, Advocacy Group Says | EdSource

clockFriday, September 08, 2017
Weekly Update 8 September, 2017 (Mike Krause)   

Fiscal Policy Welcomes Graduate Intern

On Tuesday, the fiscal policy division welcomed Blake Roller as a graduate intern for the fall semester. Blake comes to THEC from Auburn University where he is a second-year Master’s student studying Higher Education Administration. Blake previously interned at the Tennessee General Assembly with Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) and the Senate Education Committee. He will be assisting staff with preparation of the FY 2018-19 appropriation request, capital and tuition recommendations, and working across the agency’s bureaus on projects aimed at increasing student success. Welcome, Blake!

Early and Middle College High Schools Policy Briefing

On Wednesday, Tim Phelps served on a panel of experts, and Lou Hanemann participated in a policy briefing with the Tennessee Legislative Staff Education Institute (TLSEI) hosted by Complete Tennessee. TLSEI provides independent, nonpartisan information and relationship-building programs to key staff from various parties, branches, and departments on topics related to higher education. The group discussed early and middle colleges as models for increasing postsecondary attainment, highlighting their relevance to the Drive to 55 and national outcomes. 

THEC Announces Third Year of Tennessee Promise Forward Grant Awards

On Thursday, THEC announced the recipients of the third year of Tennessee Promise Forward grants: Chattanooga State Community College, Dyersburg State Community College, Roane State Community College, Southwest Tennessee Community College, and Volunteer State Community College. Projects at the campuses range from an office of parent engagement to expanded advising services, all aimed at enabling more Tennessee Promise students to attain a postsecondary credential. For the full release and a summary of each project, please click here.

East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees Meeting

Lauren Collier attended the fall meeting of the East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees on Friday. The board committees for audit, academic and student affairs, and finance and administration met prior to the convening of the full board. Following the close of the board meeting, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Arts Center, which received $28 million in state appropriations in the 2015-16 budget.

GEAR UP TN Kickoff Event at Lincoln Memorial University

On Friday, nearly 2,000 GEAR UP TN students from Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, and Union counties convened at Lincoln Memorial University for a back to school kickoff event. The students were welcomed to campus by THEC /TSAC Executive Director Mike Krause and enjoyed a keynote address from U.S. Paralympic Athlete and University of Tennessee, Knoxville alumnus Blake Leeper. GEAR UP TN has worked with these students since their seventh grade year, providing academic support, college access events, and leadership development activities. This year, GEAR UP TN will support the students in applying to college, maximizing their scholarship and financial aid opportunities, and preparing them academically for the rigors of college courses.

Tennessee News Reports and Releases

·         Southwest: Bringing College, Middle-Class Jobs to Wider Community | The Commercial Appeal

·         Pellissippi State Has Record Enrollment as More Adult Students Return to College| WATE/ABC affiliate for Knoxville

·         Tennessee is Spending Less Per Student Than It Was 10 Years Ago, Report Says | Knoxville News Sentinel

·         Resolutions Thank Sexton, Haslam for Legislation | Crossville Chronicle

National News and Reports

·         International Enrollments: From Flat to Way Down| Inside Higher Ed

·         A University's Big Move on Socioeconomic Diversity | Inside Higher Ed

·         How Online Graduate Programs Offer Degrees at Significant Savings| PBS NewsHour

·         Trump Ends DACA | Inside Higher Ed

·         America Needs DREAMers to Fuel the 21st Century Economy | Lumina Foundation

·         Preparing the Workers of Today for the Labor Needs of Tomorrow | WNYC)

·         ACT Scores Are Up| Inside Higher Ed

·         DeVos to Replace Obama-Era Sexual Assault Guidelines | Inside Higher Ed

·         How Higher Ed Can Restore Public Trust | Inside Higher Ed

·         Clashes Between UNC Board Members, Campuses | Inside Higher Ed

clockSaturday, September 02, 2017
Weekly Update 1 September, 2017 (Mike Krause)   

2017 High School Senior Opinion Survey Report

On Monday, THEC released the 2017 High School Senior Opinion Survey Report. This report provides results from a survey administered to a sample of high school seniors across the state in Spring 2017. The survey contained questions about students’ post-high school plans, factors influencing their plans, their knowledge of financial aid for postsecondary education, and their academic preparation. The survey results clarify the factors that affect students’ decisions about whether and where to attend a postsecondary institution. The full report is available on THEC’s website.

Funding Formula Presentation to Middle Tennessee State University

Today, Mike Krause, Lou Hanemann, Lauren Collier and members of the fiscal policy team visited Middle Tennessee State University to present information on the outcomes-based funding formula to President Sidney McPhee and his cabinet. Crystal Collins presented on the mechanics of the formula and an overview of MTSU’s performance, Steven Gentile presented additional analysis on MTSU’s success with previous cohorts, and Taylor Odle reviewed a list of intervention strategies to increase retention and completion.  President McPhee and his team sought a direct examination of their performance and ways to continue to improve outcomes. 

Planning and Research Visits UT Martin

On Thursday, members of THEC's Planning and Research team spent the day at UT Martin. Emily House, Jason Lee, and Amanda Klafehn met with the Enrollment Services team and discussed opportunities for collaboration and research partnerships that will best serve students. The group also met with Chancellor Keith Carver, toured the campus, and met with staff as they launched the new semester.

University of Tennessee Chattanooga Teacher Preparation Meeting

On Tuesday, THEC hosted a meeting to discuss how K-12 and higher education can work together to ensure that all Tennesseans are prepared for success in postsecondary programs.  Executive Director Mike Krause, Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen, and State Board Executive Director Sara Morrison met with UTC Chancellor Steven Angle, Dean of the College of Education Dr. Valerie Rutledge, and members of their respective staffs to review data resources available to preparation programs to assist in decision making and promote continuous improvement of educator preparation programs.

Financial Literacy Summit

TSAC's Jason Seay and Jonathan Donald attended a financial literacy summit for area librarians and non-profit organizations hosted by United Way in Nashville.  The agenda encompassed panels focusing on resources for K-12, young adults, older Americans, and the unbanked.  Jason served on the young adult panel and outlined resources including the HOPE Scholarship, TN Promise, and TN Reconnect. 

Staffer Participating in Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills Program

This week, chief of staff and general counsel Scott Sloan was chosen for the 2017 Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills (CALS) program, coordinated by the Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments and the Winthrop Rockefeller Center of the University of Arkansas system.  CALS is a comprehensive development program for mid-career state government leaders.  Officials from executive, legislative and judicial branch offices across the 15 SLC member states will convene for the program in October.

2017 Condition of College and Career Readiness Report Release Meeting with ACT

On Thursday, THEC hosted a meeting to preview ACT’s 2017 Condition of College and Career Readiness Report in advance of its public release. The annual report provides national and state-level data indicating the college and career readiness of the 2017 ACT-tested graduating class. A representative from ACT provided the highlights of this year’s report to staff from THEC/TSAC, TBR, TICUA, and SCORE. The full report and state profiles will be available on ACT’s website on Thursday, September 7.

Tennessee News Reports and Releases

·         Nashville State Hits Stride with Expansion, Academic Improvements | The Tennessean

·         Now is Best Time for College for Students of All Ages | Elk Valley Times

·         UTM's Carver Evaluates State of Campus Before Fall Semester | The Jackson Sun

National News and Reports

·         Colorado Apprenticeship Program Turns the Factory Floor into a Classroom | PBS Newshour

·         How a Regional Public University Reversed Enrollment Decline (and It's Not Free Tuition) | Inside Higher Ed

·         As a Challenge to DACA Looms, Participants Brace for a Battle | The Chronicle of Higher Education

·         Paying Former Gang Members to Go to College?  This Program Does-and it Seems to be Working. | The Washington Post

·         Where 'U.S. News' Rankings Have Influence on Potential Applicants | Inside Higher Ed

·         The Twelve Most Innovative Colleges for Adult Learners | The Washington Monthly

·         Some Students Need Extra Help. Here's How We Can Provide It. | The Chronicle of Higher Education

·         The Biggest Misconception About Today's College Students | The New York Times

·         Texas Colleges Brave Harvey | Inside Higher Ed

clockMonday, August 28, 2017
Weekly Update 25 August, 2017 (Mike Krause)   

National Association of State Approving Agencies for Veterans Education

Mitch Currey and Lee Cunningham attended the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) conference in Providence, RI from August 12-16. Tennessee was recognized for receiving the Southern Legislative Conference’s State Transformation in Action Recognition (STAR) Award for its efforts to increase education attainment among veterans. Additionally, Mitch Currey, who currently serves as Vice-Chair of the NASAA Legislative Committee, received an NASAA Certificate of Appreciation for his efforts toward the passage of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (the “Forever GI Bill”), which was signed by President Trump on August 16, 2017.

The NASAA conference provides legislative and programmatic updates from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to State Approving Agencies. NASAA works in cooperation with its partners to promote and safeguard quality education and training programs for all veterans and other eligible persons; to ensure greater education and training opportunities that meet the changing needs of veterans; and to protect the GI Bill resources available for those programs.

UT Martin Elam Transfer Promise Scholarship Signing

On Wednesday, UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver, TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings, and THEC/TSAC Executive Director Mike Krause signed a memorandum for the UT Martin Elam Transfer Promise Scholarship. The memorandum states that any student attending Jackson State under the Tennessee Promise scholarship program can transfer to the University of Tennessee at Martin successfully once they have completed an associate degree. Mike Krause commended both Jackson State and UT Martin for building an important bridge for higher education in West Tennessee.

College Access and Success Hosts Year 6 GEAR UP TN Kickoff

On Thursday, the College Access and Success division held their annual kickoff event for GEAR UP TN site coordinators and project directors at Columbia State Community College’s Williamson Campus. GEAR UP TN professionals reflected on the successes of the first five years of the grant, which include increasing the college-going rate at GEAR UP TN high schools by 9 percentage points and serving 50,000 students since 2012. Participants also used the time to set goals for the 2017-2018 school year. GEAR UP TN is a federally-funded college access program that aims to expand the college-going culture in Tennessee and empower students to succeed. Funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and administered by THEC, GEAR UP TN collaborates with 15 counties across the state to promote college readiness and success.

Tennessee Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Plans to Revitalize TSAC Advisory Committee

On Thursday, staff from THEC/TSAC met with the Tennessee Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (TASFAA) President, Charles Harper, and Financial Aid Awareness/TSAC Advisory Chair, Dick Smelser. Building on a longstanding relationship with TSAC, TASFAA is looking to revitalize the TSAC Advisory Committee with representatives from all sectors of their membership. The revitalized committee will help disseminate information from TSAC and review TSAC policies, procedures, and new program rules. TASFAA members also expressed an interest in assisting with FAFSA Frenzy in local communities. THEC/TSAC staff look forward to the continued partnership with TASFAA and the TSAC Advisory Committee.

Veteran Reconnect Grant Project Directors Meeting

On August 16th, the Adult Learner Initiatives team hosted representatives from the 13 institutions that will receive funds as part of the 2017-18 Veteran Reconnect Grant program. Over the next 18 months, THEC will collaborate with the institutions to ensure that prospective student veterans have clear, easily accessible information about how their military experience equates to academic credit. To reach this goal, grant recipients will develop and implement new evaluation processes for translating military training into academic credit. More information, including a listing of grant recipients, is available here.

Pathways Tennessee State Planning Team Meeting

The Pathways Tennessee program is designed to drive improvement and expand education to career learning pathways for students across Tennessee. Pathways Tennessee brings together THEC, TBR, TICUA, TDOE, Department of Labor, and Department of Economic and Community Development to develop statewide strategies to address skills gaps and ensure a seamless pipeline from education to relevant careers. On Tuesday, Victoria Harpool participated in the Pathways Tennessee State Planning Team meeting to update the mission of the program and set strategic priorities for the next funding cycle. A three-year New Skills for Youth grant was awarded to TDOE earlier this year.

Data Quality Campaign: Using Data to Ensure that Teachers are Learner Ready on Day One

Victoria Harpool served on the working group of the Data Quality Campaign, which provides data and a policy guide to help teachers and educators design interventions to ensure student success. Tennessee was highlighted as a leader for producing the annual Report Card on Teacher Preparation and working with institutions to make data-driven improvements to educator preparation programs. Find out more about the Data Quality Campaign here. 

State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) Steering Committee Meeting

On Tuesday, Mike Krause and Victoria Harpool attended the quarterly SCORE Steering Committee Meeting. SCORE brings together legislators, government agency representatives, K-12 teachers and principals, higher education partners, and education advocacy groups to envision a cohesive education plan for Tennessee. Mike led a discussion outlining underutilization of early postsecondary opportunities as a challenge to postsecondary readiness. SCORE hopes to build on the educational advances under Governors Bredesen and Haslam by briefing all gubernatorial candidates on progress and issues.

Tennessee News Reports and Releases

·         Outcomes-based Funding is Helping Tennessee Students Succeed, but More Work Remains | The Tennessean (includes opinion piece by Mike Krause and Jamie Merisotis)

·         Baby Boomers Leaving Tennessee's Factories with a Huge Skills Gap | WMOT Roots Radio

·         Motlow Enrollment Mushrooms at Smyrna Campus| The Murfreesboro Post

·         APSU Earns Record Amount of External Grants | Clarksville Online

·         Welch College, Belmont, Union, Cumberland Universities Team Up to Fill Nursing Shortage | Fox 17 Nashville 

National News and Reports

·         Work-Force Training in an Anti-College Climate | Inside Higher Ed (includes quotes from Mike Krause)

·         The Value of Simplicity in Estimating Student Aid | Inside Higher Ed

·         How 3 Colleges Improved Graduation Rates | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

·         "You can do this": Program Gives Students Advice and Funding to Get Through College | The Washington Post

·         Serving the Students of Community Colleges: How to Build Strong Workforce Development Programs | Brookings Institution

·         15-Credit Course Loads Increase Odds of Graduation | Inside Higher Ed

·         Pathway to a Bachelor's Degree | Community College Daily

·         Percentage of Borrowers Owing $20,000 or More Doubled since 2002 | Inside Higher Ed

·         Savings and Student Success | Inside Higher Ed

·         Military Victory for Alternative Providers | Inside Higher Ed