The Tennessee Board of Regents will meet in a special called session on Tuesday, to consider a recommendation for the appointment of Dr. Flora Tydings as the next chancellor of the Board of Regents system.
Dr. Tydings has been president of Chattanooga State Community College since July 2015, and was president of Athens Technical College in Athens, Ga., a campus of the public Technical College System of Georgia, from 2003 to 2015.
The Board of Regents will meet via a telephone conference call at 1 p.m.
CST Tuesday to consider the recommendation by Governor Bill Haslam for Dr. Tydings’ appointment. The governor is chairman of the Board of Regents and also chaired a 16-member chancellor search committee appointed by the Board in August, personally leading the search for the TBR system’s next chief executive officer.
“After a very deliberate search, careful thought and much input from the search committee and the TBR system and campus communities, I’m pleased to recommend Dr. Flora Tydings to lead the Board of Regents as it transitions under the FOCUS Act and continues its critical work ahead in the Drive to 55 effort to equip a majority of Tennesseans with post-secondary degrees, diplomas and certificates,” Governor Haslam said on Tuesday.
“We wanted to find the very best leader we could, and I want to personally thank search committee members for joining me in what has been a very thoughtful and inclusive process of reviewing and interviewing applicants, selecting finalists and now in recommending a great candidate for chancellor,” the governor said.
Over the three months since its first meeting on Sept. 2, the search committee reviewed 41 applicants before naming three finalists on Dec. 2: Dr. Shaun L. McKay, president of Suffolk County Community College in New York, Dr. Monty E. Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, and Dr. Tydings.
When the finalists were selected, their resumes were posted for public review on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/hr/executivesearches/chancellor-tennessee-board-regents. All three participated in forums and interviews with TBR staff and presidents, directors, faculty and other representatives of the system’s colleges and universities -- who were encouraged to share their views with the Board through a questionnaire on the TBR website. The candidates also visited with students at Nashville State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Nashville.
Dr. Sullivan has since withdrawn from consideration.
The Board’s telephone meeting is open to the public and media. Anyone wishing to dial in to listen to the meeting should contact Richard Locker, TBR interim communications director, at email@example.com or 615-366-4417 or 615-354-4050 (cellphone) by 4:30 p.m. CST Monday, Dec. 26, for call-in information.
If the board approves, Dr. Tydings will take office in early 2017, succeeding Interim Chancellor David Gregory, who is retiring after nearly 19 years with the Board of Regents and 34 years in state service. He was originally set to retire in early 2016 but delayed his departure at Governor Haslam’s request to serve as interim chancellor after the retirement of former Chancellor John Morgan last January.
Prior to her appointment at Chattanooga State, Dr. Tydings had extensive experience in Georgia’s public higher education system. While president of Athens Technical College, she also served as interim president for several months each at Central Georgia Technical College in Macon and Sandersville Technical College in Sandersville, Ga.
She began her career as a professional educator in the Houston County, Ga., school system in Warner Robins from 1976 to 1984. She owned and operated a gift shop for the next six years, then worked as a psychometrist at the Applied Psychology Center in Warner Robins from 1990 to 1994. She was the apprenticeship director for four Georgia public school systems from 1994 to 1996, and also was an adjunct instructor at Middle Georgia College in 1994-95.
Her career in higher education leadership began in 1996 when as director of curriculum and staff development at Macon Technical Institute. She became vice president for academic affairs at Central Georgia Technical College two years later, and served in that position until her appointment as president at Athens Technical College in 2003.
Dr. Tydings earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education, with an emphasis in behavioral science, at Georgia Southern University; her Master of Education degree at Mercer University, and her Doctor of Education degree in occupational studies at The University of Georgia.
She is active in civic affairs in Chattanooga, including serving as a board member of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Downtown Rotary Club and several other boards and committees. In Athens, she was an active member of the Rotary Club, the Athens-Clarke County Chamber of Commerce, and chair of the Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Board.
Chancellor Gregory commended Dr. Tydings’ accomplishments at Chattanooga State, including expanding the president’s cabinet to include heads of the Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Association and Support Staff Association and preparing for the first two classes of Tennessee Promise Students.
“Dr. Tydings also re-established good relations and an educational partnership between Chattanooga State and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, including a dual-admissions agreement that is providing a seamless pathway for students to transfer between the two institutions. She has been an excellent president and I’m confident will be an outstanding chancellor,” Chancellor Gregory said.
Chancellor Gregory also said he will work with Dr. Tydings and the Board of Regents to name an interim president at Chattanooga State and to appoint a search committee for the next president.
As chief executive officer, the chancellor manages operation of the Board of Regents system and provides strategic leadership in accordance with the Board’s policies and direction and with state law.
The next chancellor will oversee the system's continued transition under the FOCUS Act (Focus on College and University Success), proposed by Gov. Haslam and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year. The FOCUS Act supports the state’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of working age Tennesseans with a higher education degree, diploma or certificate to 55 percent by 2025, from the current 38 percent.