College President on the Focus Act

College President Dr. Anthony Wise talks about new possibilities under Tennessee’s new Focus Act.

On June 8, Bill Haslam signed the Focus Act, which split Tennessee’s six major universities from TBR (Tennessee Board of Regents), enabling them to form independent governing boards of directors. TBR now presides over the state’s 13 community colleges and 26 technical colleges.

Tennessee state legislature has passed the Focus Act in order to better achieve its “Drive to 55” goal, which aims to help 55 percent of adults in Tennessee to achieve a post-secondary degree by 2025. “If we are going to hit the ‘Drive to 55,’ it is going to be to be because community and technical colleges carry a significant portion of the load,” said College President Dr. Anthony Wise.

“For the most part, the way those system was organized those institutions [state universities, community colleges and technical colleges] were all in one pot,” said Wise. “One of the things that the Board of Regents has to decide is how it is going to govern the two types of colleges it will now have,” said Wise.

Wise recounts having attended only one meeting in his 5 years as college president where presidents from all of the state’s community colleges and technical colleges were in attendance.

Wise says it is not certain whether the community colleges and technical colleges will be granted certain autonomy, or whether the institutions will “begin to align” in terms of curricula as well as shared facilities and resources.

Wise says he was approached by the Focus Act’s transition task force for feedback about moving forward, to which he shared ideals he felt were crucial to the success of the college.

Chief among his concerns was that students at Pellissippi would continue to have a clear and smooth transition to state universities. “We need to make sure that universities do not start creating barriers by changing curricula and requiring new courses of community college students, said Wise. Nearly 60 percent of Pellissippi students are in transfer programs to state universities.

Another of his concerns was the compartmentalized budgets and building projects of universities. THEC (Tennessee Higher Education Commission) will now be submitting the TBR budget alongside, new budgets from each of the state’s universities.

Wise also felt that the decision may allow for greater improvement elsewhere. “It gives the chance for the Board itself and the board members to become more engaged in what happens at community and technical colleges,” said Wise.

“I look at what happened in other states like Kentucky that went through a similar process, and it actually elevated the profile of community and technical colleges,” said Wise.

“I think there is an opportunity for the Board to become more engaged with individual institutions about what kind of help and support they need. We are fortunate in terms of our size and our budget, said Wise. “I would like to see a Tennessee Board of Regents that provides state-wide for community and technical colleges,” Wise went on to say.

New state boards consist of:

  • institution alumni
  • local business leaders
  • community leaders
  • local politicians
  • One faculty member
  • One current student of the instituion

Focus Act looking forward to (2016-2017)

  • July 1, 2016, Focus Act took effect
  • Sept., 2016, university board members appointed by Governor Haslam
  • Dec., 2016,  boards will meet to consider TBR universities’ proposals for substantive change of governance
  • March, 2017, TN General Assembly takes up confirmation of board members
  • April,  2017, THEC provides orientation for university board members
  • June, 2017, New university boards convene, adopt policies and assume governance of universities

 

https://www.tn.gov/governor/article/2016-legislation-focus-on-college-and-university-success-focus-act

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Pellissippi will begin new associate programs

Pellissippi President Anthony Wise Jr. met with Governor Bill Haslam on the Blount County campus Oct. 4 to discuss new associate programs.

The meeting was scheduled during Tennessee’s Manufacturing Week. Its purpose was to address the needs of advanced manufacturing in the greater Knoxville area and the educational resources the college could provide in order to better meet those needs.

“The governor really believes that there is a strong connection between education and workforce development. It’s one of the reasons he has invested so much in Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Reconnect, and supporting higher education. We have to make sure citizens have the right kind of educational opportunities,” said Wise.

To that end the college opened two new associate degrees of Applied Sciences and has committed itself to the construction of new science facilities on its Blount County and Strawberry Plains campuses.

At the Strawberry Plains campus, in partnership with TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology) a new 16-unit welding lab has been constructed. The facility offers a year-long diploma based program during the day, and Pellissippi offers its new associate program in welding at night.

The college has also created a new concentration within its computer science program offering an associate degree in cyber defense, which will be available on all campuses.

“Cyber security is critical for hospitals, banks, businesses, and educational institutions,” said Wise. “I would expect given the connectivity that we have going forward that cyber security is going to be a field of growth,” he went on to say.

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Pellissippi president looks forward to master plan

by Nicole Hedger

Pellissippi State’s proposed future plans offer more than just additional educational opportunities.

President Anthony Wise said one of the things he is most looking forward to about Pellissippi’s master plan is that “not only does it focus on trying to create classroom and office space, but also space for students to gather both in the buildings and out in the courtyard.”

Wise said the main focus of the proposed new facilities is “to make sure we continue to provide the support for students in order to be successful academically and to help them achieve their goals.” Along with this goal he accented his desire to serve students by adding a series of quads and places for students to gather outside of the classroom.

The first building on the master plan will teaching labs and faculty offices to “help absorb some of the growth that has taken place over the course of the last decade,” said Wise.  With these improvements he said he desired not only  “to make the campus blend in with the community, but also make it attractive for students.”

 

Sunday, March 24th, 2013