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The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is a system of public universities in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is one of two public university systems, the other being the University of Tennessee system. It was authorized by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly passed in 1972. The TBR supervises all public community colleges and technical colleges in the state, dealing with over 100,000 students annually.
It was founded as the State University and Community College System of Tennessee. The TBR comprises 40 institutions: 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, which are listed below. The Colleges of Applied Technology were added to TBR control in 1982. Unlike the situation in most states, TBR component institutions do not have their own board of directors, board of trustees, or similar bodies at the campus level; the TBR hires institution presidents and directors and approves the promotions of senior faculty and staff. In 2015 Tennessee governor Bill Haslam announced a plan for the six universities of the TBR system to gain their own governing boards, while noting that "TBR would continue to provide key administrative support to the six state universities."
The professional head of the TBR system is referred to as its Chancellor. The chancellor is responsible for guiding the TBR system in accordance with the board's direction and for managing the TBR central office in a manner consistent with the central office's mission and vision. Operational responsibilities and processes include day-to-day management of the system and the central office; board coordination, communication and logistics; presidential searches; and dealing with the media and the general public, including handling complaints and general information requests.
The leaders of TBR universities, community colleges, and TCATs are referred to as Presidents.
The Board of Regents is supported by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, which serves to coordinate the activities and goals of both the TBR and the University of Tennessee system (UT System). THEC provides the funding formula for institutions.
Six universities were managed by TBR until 2017, when the state overhauled its public higher education system by creating an independent governing board for each university. The Tennessee legislature in 2016 passed the Focus on College and University Success Act, which separated the universities from the TBR, and Gov. Haslam followed with ceremonial signings of the law at the separated universities.
The six universities formerly managed by TBR are:
The Tennessee Board of Regents system is governed by 18 board members. The board meets four times each year at regularly scheduled meetings, and the chairman may call additional meetings during the year as needed. The 18 members of the board consist of: 12 lay citizens appointed for six-year terms by the governor, with one each from the state's nine congressional districts and three grand divisions; one faculty member from among the system institutions appointed by the governor for a one-year term; one student from among the system institutions appointed by the governor for a one-year term ; and four ex officio members--the Governor of Tennessee, the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Agriculture, and the Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, who is a non-voting member.