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THEC and TBR need to be overhauled, says new report

March 4, 2003

The organizations that oversee Tennessee's public colleges and universities aren't properly organized and lack the vision to meet the state's educational and economic development needs, says a report by two consulting groups.

Produced by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the National Center for Higher Education Management, the report was compiled in response to the state's C and D grades on "Measuring Up" report cards in 2000 and 2002.

Among the report's recommendations were:
March 4, 2003

The organizations that oversee Tennessee's public colleges and universities aren't properly organized and lack the vision to meet the state's educational and economic development needs, says a report by two consulting groups.

Produced by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the National Center for Higher Education Management, the report was compiled in response to the state's C and D grades on "Measuring Up" report cards in 2000 and 2002.

Among the report's recommendations were:

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission needs to be reconfigured to better carry out the state's agenda.

The work of the Board of Regents should be decentralized and its mission redefined to emphasize increased educational levels and more workforce development.

Less emphasis should be placed on UT in federally funded research.

TBR schools and UT should work together, rather than competing, to advance workforce development.

Some campuses should be governed by their own boards rather than system-wide regents.

The formula for funding higher education should hold schools more accountable for advancing state goals.

Producers of the report say they're not calling for the combination of THEC, UT and the Board of Regents, which would be politically and practically difficult.

"We don't have to blow up the established institutions," said Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber, who pushed for the report. "If you talk about policy, if you talk about outcomes, if you talk about expectations, then governance will take care of itself. ("The Tennessean," Feb. 20, 2003)