higher education

Krause leaving Tennessee Higher Education Commission

Mike Krause is stepping down as executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to join the government affairs team at the Bradley law firm.

Gov. Bill Lee said Krause has been “transformational for THEC.”

Here’s a release from THEC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – December 16, 2020 – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) announced today that Mike Krause, THEC Executive Director, will be leaving government service after 14 years to join the Bradley Arant Boult Cummings law firm’s Nashville office as a senior advisor for government affairs and economic development.

Appointed as executive director of THEC in 2016, Krause served as the chief advocate before the legislature and executive branch for the state’s $2.1 billion higher education budget and successfully launched multiple workforce training programs resulting in Tennessee being recognized nationally as a leader in education opportunity and economic development.

His tenure culminated in THEC being named as the top higher education agency in the nation in 2020 by the State Higher Education Executive Officers association.

Most recently, Krause also served as the coordinator for all statewide higher education efforts relative to COVID-19 and acted as the chief liaison between campuses and the Tennessee Department of Health and the Governor’s Unified Command Group during the pandemic.

“Mike’s leadership has been transformational for THEC and Tennessee students have been the beneficiaries of his vision for linking education and workforce development opportunities,” said Governor Bill Lee. “We wish him the best in his new role.”

“I don’t believe there is another person in our state’s history who has had a bigger or more positive impact on higher education policy than Mike Krause,” said THEC Chairman Evan Cope. “Mike brought his trademark energy, wit, and dedication to every aspect of the job.”

Prior to his THEC appointment, Krause served on the senior staff of Governor Bill Haslam. While in the Governor’s Office, he was the founding Director of the Tennessee Promise, coordinating the launch of the nation’s first tuition-free college scholarship program and working closely with the legislature on an array of education and workforce issues. His public policy work has been covered by the Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesPolitico, and CNN.

“Being in public service and working with such an outstanding and student-centered group of THEC staff, college and university presidents has been the honor of a lifetime,” said Krause. “I am grateful to Governor Lee and Governor Haslam, the legislature, and the higher education commission for the chance to serve.”

“It’s hard to imagine anyone that has had a greater impact on higher education in Tennessee than Mike Krause,” said Randy Boyd, University of Tennessee President. “His passion and effectiveness in working with the legislature will be sorely missed, but we all wish him well in his new role.”

“Mike Krause is a remarkable individual and the results of his efforts have changed higher education in Tennessee forever.  In his roles as THEC’s leader and as a member of the Board of Regents, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to help our community and technical college students,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings.

Dr. Brian Noland, President of East Tennessee State University and the leader of the Locally Governed Institution Council said “Director Krause was a champion for college access and success, and his leadership of THEC represented the high water mark for public policy innovation in our higher education system. He is a trusted colleague and I wish him well as he embarks upon this new journey.”

Krause, a U.S. Army veteran, served for six years in the 101st Airborne Division. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Vanderbilt University.

Alexander lauds coronavirus testing in Tennessee

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) speaks at a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is presiding over health committee hearings while in self-quarantine in Tennessee, is lauding his home state’s COVID-19 testing regimen. But the Maryville Republican is warning that more needs to be done before college campuses can reopen this fall.

“Tennessee has tested 4 percent of its population. The governor hopes to increase that to 7 percent by the end of May,” Alexander said. “That impressive level of testing is sufficient to begin Phase I of going back to work in Tennessee, but as I said last week, it is not nearly enough to provide confidence to 31,000 students and faculty that it is safe to return to the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus in August.”

Here’s the full release from Alexander’s office:

MARYVILLE, Tennessee, May 12, 2020 — Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that COVID-19 testing in the United States is “impressive” and “enough to begin going back to work.”

“But millions more rapid tests created by new technologies are needed to give the rest of America enough confidence to go back to work and back to school,” Alexander added.

Alexander made his remarks today during the Senate health committee hearing — “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School” — which featured testimony from Administration officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about what federal, state and local governments are doing to help Americans go back to work and back to school as rapidly and safely as possible. 

“According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States has tested over 9 million Americans for COVID-19. That is twice as many as any other country — we don’t know what China has done — and more per capita than most countries including South Korea, which several committee members have cited as an example of a country doing testing well.”

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Here’s how much Tennessee colleges stand to receive in emergency coronavirus grants

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) speaks at a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee colleges and professional schools are in line to receive to $237 million in emergency grants to help students affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to U.S. Sen. LAmar Alexander’s office. The grants range from $9.6 million for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to $5,092 for Omega Graduate School in Dayton.

(See the full list after the jump)

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UT plans to create tuition-free program for families making less than $50,000

UT Interim President Randy Boyd gives the State of the University Address at the Nashville Public Library. (Photo credit: University of Tennessee)

Interim University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd is introducing a free tuition program for students from households earning less than $50,000 per year, which is just above federal poverty guidelines for a family of four.

Students must qualify for lottery scholarships to be eligible for the program. The initiative seeks to emulate the popular Tennessee Promise scholarships for community college students, though that program doesn’t set income limits or academic requirements.

Here’s the full release from the University of Tennessee:

NASHVILLE – University of Tennessee Interim President Randy Boyd has announced the creation of “UT Promise,” a financial aid program that will provide free tuition to qualifying Tennessee residents enrolling at University of Tennessee campuses located in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin. 

The announcement was made at the annual State of UT Address held at the Nashville Public Library.

“It is critically important that we take a lead role in ensuring students can achieve their dream of obtaining an undergraduate college degree,” Boyd said. “It is our mission and responsibility to do everything  we can to ease the financial burden for our middle- and working-class families, and UT Promise is an ideal conduit to achieve that.”

UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that will guarantee free tuition and fees for students with a family household income of under $50,000 and after other financial aid is received (such as Pell Grants, HOPE Scholarship, or other institutional scholarships).  Students must qualify for the Hope Scholarship and meet the academic qualifications for the institution to be eligible for this new scholarship. To help ensure success, students will be matched with volunteer mentors and will complete four hours of service learning each semester.  

UT Promise will welcome its first class in the fall of 2020, and the scholarship program will include those students who were previously enrolled in college when the program begins in 2020.  Qualifying Tennessee residents who meet the criteria for UT Promise can transfer from any institution. UT Promise is an expansion of scholarship offerings and does not replace existing scholarships.

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Haslam names former state senator, NES chief to UT board

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam has made two more appointments to the reconstituted Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee: former state Sen. Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville) and Decosta Jenkins, the president and CEO of the Nashville Electric Service.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed two additional members to the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee. Decosta Jenkins and Jamie Woodson join the board in advance of the meeting scheduled for November 2.

The appointments follow passage of the University of Tennessee Focusing On Campus and University Success (FOCUS) Act earlier this year. The legislation restructured the UT Board of Trustees to enhance governance of the UT system.

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Randy Boyd nominated as interim president of University of Tennessee

Randy Boyd speaks to reporters in Nashville on July 25, 2018. The former Republican gubernatorial candidate was nominated to serve as interim president of the Univeristy of Tennessee on Sept. 19, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Randy Boyd, an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination this year, has been nominated as the interim president of the University of Tennessee system.

Boyd was Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief higher education adviser before being named economic and community development commissioner. He played key roles in the development of the Tennessee Promise free community college program and the governor’s Drive to 55 initiative to boost the state’s graduation rates.

The Board of Trustees will consider Boyd’s nomination in a Sept. 25. He would succeed President Joe DiePietro, who announced this week that he plans to retire from active service on Nov. 21. Boyd has agreed to forgo a salary while serving up to two years while an external search for a permanent replacement takes place.

Boyd, the founder of a Knoxville pet products company, poured at least $19.5 million of his own money into his gubernatorial bid. He ended up coming in second to Franklin businessman Bill Lee in the GOP primary.

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UT President DiPietro sets retirement date

A release from the University of Tennessee:

KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro announced today that he will retire Feb. 14, 2019. 

He will step down from active service Nov. 21 to use his remaining vacation time.

DiPietro, UT’s 25th president, has led the University of Tennessee system since January 2011. He serves as the chief executive officer of UT and its campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin, the Health Science Center in Memphis and the statewide Institute of Agriculture and the Institute of Public Service.

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Alexander suggests extending affirmative action to cover political views on college campuses

Sen. Lamar Alexander, who once served as president of the University of Tennessee, is quoted briefly in a lengthy New York Times article on the movement to assure conservatives can voice their views on college and university campuses where some feel they are now intimidated. Excerpt:

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MTSU building will remain named after Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest

Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee said Wednesday there will be no appeal of a Tennessee Historical Commission decision rejecting MTSU’s request to change the name of a campus building named for Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, reports the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.

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Haslam advice to college grads: ‘Remain calm and be faithful to the Lord… do not panic’

In a commencement speech at Baptist-affiliated Carson Newman University, Presbyterian Gov. Bill Haslam offered some Christian-oriented advice, reports the Morristown Citizen Tribune.

“Just like you, I will be leaving my place of residence (Governor’s Mansion) and my area of work for the past 8 years,” said Haslam. “You also will be leaving your dorm rooms and academics. However, do not be afraid, and stay faithful to your Lord.”

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