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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Diversity and Equity :

Policy/Guideline Area

Governance, Organization, and General Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, System Office, Board Members


The purpose of this policy is to define and promote diversity and equity throughout the Tennessee Board of Regents System.


  1. Introduction
    1. TBR believes that access to a high-quality post-secondary education is vital to the continued advancement of Tennessee's strong workforce and state democracy. Community and technical colleges are an indispensable asset in the state's efforts to ensure and preserve access to higher education and success for all, particularly marginalized and underserved students.
    2. It is therefore the intent of the Tennessee Board of Regents that the Board and all of the institutions within the Tennessee Board of Regents System will model and promote diversity at all levels and in all sectors will foster environments of equity and inclusive excellence.
    3. Diversity can be broadly defined as differences. When applied within the context of education and the educational community, diversity represents the inclusion and support of groups of people with a variety of human characteristics that go beyond the legally protected classes of race, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability status, veteran status - to include, but not be limited to, other categories such as socio-economic status, sexual orientation, first generation college status, non-traditional age, adult, urban or rural upbringing - and other person characteristics that shape an individual's identity and life experience in a substantive way.
    4. In higher education, equity refers to ensuring that each student has access to that high quality education and that each student receives what they need to be successful through the intentional design of the college experience.
  2. Statement of Policy
    1. The Board of Regents specifically finds that diversity of students, faculty, administrators and staff is a crucial element of the educational process and reaffirms its commitment to enhancing education through affirmative actions to increase diversity at all levels.
    2. The creation and cultivation of programs, policies, and practices designed to increase and sustain diversity is essential in order to be responsive to:
      1. Shifting demographics;
      2. The need to prepare students to succeed in a global and interconnected world;
      3. The need to utilize the talents, experiences, and ideas of a broad group of people in order to achieve inclusive excellence and student success;
      4. The needs of the corporate, civic, and educational environs for culturally competent individuals, and;
      5. The unique mission and vision of the Tennessee Board of Regents and its institutions.
    3. The Board of Regents specifically asserts that as we highly value and appreciate diversity, we are committed to equity, as grounded in the principle of fairness.
    4. To demonstrate that commitment we will:
      1. Ensure that we intentionally create environments where all students, faculty and staff can thrive;
      2. Routinely scrutinize and dismantle structural barriers facing historically underrepresented and underserved students; and
      3. Invest in equity-minded policies, practices, and behaviors that eliminate equity gaps and lead to success for all students.
  3. Administrative Responsibility
    1. Duties of the Chancellor/Executive Vice Chancellor and/or Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives
      1. The Chancellor shall ensure that the following actions occur:
        1. The Chancellor will annually evaluate each president on their progress toward achieving their institutions’ diversity plan goals and objectives and their participation in system-wide access and diversity initiatives.
      2. The Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives will do the following:
        1. Monitor and review the impact/outcomes of the diversity and equity interventions, initiative and plans within the System Office;
        2. Work with presidents to develop, implement, and assess campus-based diversity and equity interventions, initiatives, and/or plans, and made recommendations to the Chancellor/Executive Vice Chancellor;
        3. Monitor and report on progress towards elimination of equity gaps to the presidents, Chancellor/Executive Vice Chancellor;
        4. Administer and review the utilization of access and diversity funds by the System Office and the campuses and make recommendations to the Chancellor/Executive Vice Chancellor concerning the use of those funds.
    2. Duties of the President
      1. Each institution President shall be responsible for the development, review, and assessment of efforts or plans to achieve diversity and equity.
      2. In carrying out this responsibility, the President shall comply with the following:
        1. Provide positive and assertive leadership in the development and implementation of diversity and equity plans and initiatives, and ensure that appropriate attention is devoted to the plans and initiatives by all appropriate campus constituencies..
        2. Ensure that campus diversity and equity profiles and other relevant data broadly disseminated/available and that progress towards meeting diversity and equity goals and objectives is regularly assessed.
        3. Ensure broad campus representation and involvement on committees and with development and implementation of initiatives regarding diversity and equity.  



T.C.A. § 49-8-203


TBR Meeting June 19, 2009; Ministerial changes August, 2018; Revision approved at Board Meeting June 20, 2019.