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Selection and Retention of Presidents :

Policy/Guideline Area

Governance, Organization, and General Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, System Office, Board Members


The Tennessee Board of Regents is responsible for the selection and employment of the chief executive officers of the system’s community and technical colleges. In an effort to recruit and retain the most qualified college administrators as presidents, the following policy of the Board is established.


  1. Selection of Presidents
    1. Criteria for Position. The Board shall establish qualification criteria for the selection of a president at each of the various institutions upon the vacancy or notice of vacancy of the office. The criteria may vary from institution to institution based upon the Board's appraisal of the unique characteristics and complexity of the president's responsibility at each institution.
    2. Search Committee. A Search Committee will be appointed to assist the Chancellor in seeking out persons that meet the criteria established by the Board. Searches will be conducted as expeditiously as possible with an appropriate schedule developed for each search. The Search Committee will assist the Chancellor in reviewing the applicant pool, interviewing the candidates and participating in campus meetings with the candidates. The committee will consult with the Chancellor regarding the candidate to be recommended to the Board for appointment. 
    3. Composition of the Search Committee. The Chancellor, after consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board, will appoint three to six members of the Board of Regents; two members of the faculty, one being the chairman of the faculty governing body or their designee; two representatives of the student body, one being the president of the student government or their designee; one representative from the Alumni; one support employee; one administrator; one representative from the institution’s local business community; and, at least one member from the community at large. Other members may be added as deemed appropriate. In appointing members to the committee, the Chancellor shall strive for racial and gender diversity.
    4. Identification of Candidates.  The position will be advertised through multiple sites and means designed to obtain a qualified, diverse applicant pool. Committee members and others may recommend and nominate candidates. Effort shall be made to obtain gender and racial diversity in the pool of candidates.  A search firm may be utilized to assist in this process.  The application process shall remain open until the position is filled.
    5. Confidentiality of Applications. Confidentiality of the applications and related materials submitted shall be maintained in accordance with T.C.A. § 49-7-154.
    6. Screening Process. The Chancellor, in consultation with the search firm if a search firm is used, shall conduct a preliminary review of all applications, eliminating those that do not meet the minimum criteria.  Resumes of all qualified applicants will be shared with the Search Committee. The Chancellor and the Search Committee will determine which of those applicants should move forward for reference checking and interviews.
    7. Selection of Finalists. The Chancellor, in consultation with the Search Committee, will recommend up to three (3) applicants as finalists for the position. The applications and related materials submitted by, or on behalf of, the finalists shall then be open for public inspection in accordance with T.C.A. §49-7-154.
    8. Finalist Interviews and Public Forums. As deemed appropriate by the Chancellor and the Search Committee, each finalist will participate in interviews and forums with stakeholders on the campus. Each finalist will participate in at least one public forum scheduled in accordance with T.C.A. § 49-7-154.
    9. Recommendation and Appointment. After completion of the interviews and public forums, the Chancellor, in consultation with the Search Committee, will recommend a candidate to the Board of Regents. In accordance with T.C.A.§ 49-8-203(a)(1)(A), the Board of Regents will vote on the recommendation.
    10. Interim Presidents. The Board delegates to the Chancellor the authority to appoint interim presidents in cases of illness, death, untimely resignation, or termination of incumbents. The Chancellor shall consult with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board prior to making an interim appointment.
    11. Background Investigations. It is the policy of the Board of Regents to conduct background investigations on all candidates recommended for interview for the position of president. The investigations are conducted based on guidelines developed by the system office.
    12. Search Committee Members’ Eligibility for Employment or Promotion. No person acting on a search committee for the selection of a president shall be eligible for initial employment or for promotion by that institution for a period of twelve (12) months after the effective date of the president’s appointment. This prohibition shall not apply to any person who is a full-time student at the time of service on the committee.
    13. Exceptional Circumstances. The Board is permitted to establish a search process at variance with subsections B, C, D, and F upon finding that exceptional circumstances exist. Exceptional circumstances may be found only in rare instances where the best interests of the institution justify a different search process. Any finding of exceptional circumstances must be based on detailed facts and include a rationale for not following the regular search process. The Board is not permitted to make exceptions to subsections A, E, G, H, or I, or any other requirements of state law.
  2. Appointment and Retention of Presidents 
    1. A president serves at the pleasure of the Board. However, the Board anticipates upon appointment that, assuming satisfactory performance, a president will serve an institution for a number of years.
    2. After initial employment, a president’s annual salary shall be established by the Board at the beginning of each fiscal year.
    3. A president may resign at any time upon written notification to the Board, given through the Chancellor.
    4. The Board may terminate the employment of a president at any time, with or without cause.
    5. In the event of termination of a president, up to three (3) months' severance compensation may be authorized by the Board.
  3. Evaluation of Presidents
    1. Each president shall be evaluated based upon an evaluation process developed and conducted by the Chancellor.
    2. Generally, the evaluation shall be conducted annually and as a minimum, the Chancellor shall consider:
      1. The president's accomplishment of annual objectives at the institution.
      2. The demonstrated ability of the president to serve as the leader of a campus community, including such factors as the ability to organize, to make decisions, to motivate others, to communicate, to maintain strong external relationships, and to develop other leaders.
      3. The commitment of the president to the institution and the System, and to the implementation of the Board policies.
    3. The evaluations made by the Chancellor should be utilized to improve the administration of a president, to determine compensation adjustment, and to determine future employment status.



T.C.A. §§ 49-8-203, 49-7-154


TBR Meeting, September 30, 1977; December 4, 2008; Revised at TBR Board Meeting September 19 & 20, 2019; Revised at TBR Board Meeting December 10, 2020; Revised at Special Meeting April 27, 2023.