TENNESSEE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION AND
TENNESSEE STUDENT ASSISTANCE CORPORATION
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) invites applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director. As a statesman and leading voice for THEC, the Executive Director will be an inspiring motivator, innovator, collaborator, and model of selfless public service to the state of Tennessee. The THEC Executive Director also serves as the chief executive for the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC). The Corporation administers over 20 different state student financial aid programs, including the HOPE scholarship, Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Reconnect, Tennessee Student Assistance Award, and the Dual Enrollment grant. The Executive Director reports to the Commission.
Established in 1967, the Commission is responsible for the coordination of institutions governed by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, six locally-governed state universities, the community colleges, and the colleges of applied technology governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. These nine public universities, two special purpose institutes, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology serve approximately 250,000 students.
The Commission seeks a forward-thinking leader to advance its mission to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential and to do so focused on student access and success, an environment conducive to increased degree attainment, and protecting students and consumers. The Executive Director should be knowledgeable of higher education issues, sound management principles, and exhibit strong unifying skills. As Tennessee’s spokesperson for postsecondary education, the Executive Director is expected to articulate and champion educational advancement statewide. It will be critical to identify a team thinker, team builder, and team player who will inspire trust, credibility, and confidence with stakeholders.
Among the Executive Director's key responsibilities will be the ability to develop and implement a strategic vision and long-term goals for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The new Executive Director must develop and lead the state in innovative postsecondary policies and practices that position Tennessee as an exemplar and leader in higher education access, success, completion, and workforce alignment. Further, it will be critical for the new Executive Director to guide a team to improve student outcomes, including stronger connections between all postsecondary systems, K-12, and economic and workforce development partners, establishing and enhancing collaborations and partnerships with stakeholder groups.
- Act as the primary spokesperson for THEC, including all communications with the Tennessee Legislature, the Office of the Governor, institutional representatives and governing boards, business, media, civic, and other public entities on matters affecting higher education.
- Supervise the administration of the various student financial assistance programs.
- Supervise the review of budget requests from all postsecondary governing boards and the development of a consolidated appropriations recommendation for all public postsecondary education.
- Collaborate with K-12 partners to improve alignment between higher education and K-12, including increasing access to early postsecondary opportunities and other research-based, innovative learning strategies.
- Collect and evaluate labor and workforce data to inform postsecondary practices and ensure cross-sector alignment; collaborate closely with workforce partners to better understand and meet statewide labor needs.
- Supervise the establishment and maintenance of the state college and university student data information system.
- Maintain and continuously assess P-20 data to establish statewide higher education and economic goals, including the closure of historic and persistent gaps in student success by demographics.
- Review long- and short-range financial analyses, e.g., develop budget recommendations and appropriations bills to determine progress and status in obtaining objectives, revise objectives and plans in accordance with postsecondary economic conditions.
- Maintain a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with the Presidents, Chancellors, and boards of institutions of higher education in Tennessee.
- Present briefings, reports, and recommendations to the THEC/TSAC boards.
- Coordinate the participation of the State of Tennessee in national or regional reciprocity agreements.
- Serve as an ex officio member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, State Board of Education, Board of Trustees of the Baccalaureate Education System Trust, Chairs of Excellence, and the Tennessee Apprenticeship Council.
- Serve as the liaison to the Southern Regional Education Board.
- Prior experience on a postsecondary campus preferred;
- A master’s degree is required and a terminal degree preferred;
- Demonstrated understanding of Tennessee public, private and proprietary postsecondary education; and
- Ability to understand and function within a highly charged political environment.
NOMINATIONS AND APPLICATIONS
For best consideration, nominations and applications should be received by October 6, 2023. The application must include a letter of interest addressing the characteristics described (not more than three pages); a current résumé (or curriculum vitae); and the names of five professional references with each person's position, office or home address, e-mail address, and telephone numbers. References will not be contacted without prior authorization. Nominations and applications should be sent electronically (MS Word or PDF format) to THECexecutivedirector@agbsearch.com. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission anticipates welcoming the new Executive Director by or before January 2024.
The search is being assisted by James McCormick and Janice Fitzgerald, Senior Executive Search Consultants, AGB Search, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-238-5188, email@example.com, 717-580-0663. Additional information may be found at https://www.tn.gov/thec/exec-dir-search and Active Searches | AGB Search.
Pursuant to the State of Tennessee's policy on non-discrimination, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) is committed to equal opportunity through affirmative action and is compliant with state and federal law pertaining to equal employment opportunities. THEC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, sex, or creed in its policies, or in the admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its programs, services or activities.