“New Leadership – New Opportunities” was the theme of the TICUA 63rd Annual Meeting held this past Tuesday and Wednesday, February 19 and 20, 2019. Over 80 participants attended the meeting including nearly 30 member presidents, select members of institutional boards of trust, the 2019 class of the TICUA Executive Leadership Institute and many members of the TICUA Government Affairs Council.
Participants were able to hear from the State’s leadership about the future of higher education in Tennessee. The day started with a deep-dive into current higher education legal issues followed by a brief state and federal policy update. Most of the day was spent engaging the following significant leaders: Senate Education Chair Dolores Gresham, Senate Finance Chair Bo Watson, House Finance Chair Susan Lynn, Speaker of the House Glen Casada, Lt. Governor Randy McNally, THEC Executive Director Mike Krause, Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, and Governor Bill Lee.
There were several key topics covered, such as, Title IX, dual enrollment, need based aid, the Hope Scholarship program, service to military veterans, teacher preparation, the importance of a four-year degree, and others. The 64th TICUA Annual meeting has been set for Tuesday and Wednesday, February 18 and 19, 2020.
Governor Lee Announces STEM Initiative
Governor Bill Lee announced the Future Workforce Initiative to increase science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training in K-12 schools as part of his first-year legislative agenda for education.
“Our agenda advocates for increased access to career and technical education for K-12 students and a key part of this includes prioritizing STEM training,” said Lee in a prepared statement. “The Future Workforce Initiative is a direct response to the emerging technology industry and making sure our students are first in line to be qualified for technology jobs.”
The Future Workforce Initiative aims to put Tennessee in the top 25 states for job creation in the technology sector by 2022 through three areas of emphasis including:
1. Launching new CTE programs focused in STEM fields with 100 new middle school programs and tripling the number of STEM-designated public schools by 2022.
2. Growing the number of teachers qualified to teach work-based learning and advanced computer science courses through STEM teacher training and implementation of K-8 computer science standards.
3. Expanding postsecondary STEM opportunities in high school through increased access to dual credit, AP courses and dual-enrollment.
“58 percent of all STEM jobs created in the country are in computing but only 8 percent of graduates study computer science in college,” said Lee. “By exposing Tennessee students to computer science in their K-12 careers we are ensuring our kids have every chance to land a high-quality job.”
In his presentation to the legislature, the Governor will recommend a $4 million investment to implement the Future Workforce Initiative.
State Authorization Bill Passes Senate Floor and House Subcommittee
SB335/HB688 sponsored by Senator Dolores Gresham and Rep. Mark White ensures that Tennessee’s state authorization statutes align with federal requirements while maintaining the independence of TICUA member campuses. Current law and rules provide for TICUA’s main campuses to be authorized yet exempt from regulatory oversight but failed to address satellite campus locations.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission staff drafted legislative language to link TICUA’s primary campuses with their satellite locations. Once passed, all primary and satellite TICUA campuses will be authorized and exempt from regulatory oversight.
The bill unanimously passed the full Senate this past Thursday and the House Higher Education Subcommittee on Tuesday. The House version now goes to the full Education Committee next Wednesday.
The Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) engages Tennessee’s private colleges and universities to work collaboratively in areas of public policy, cost containment, and professional development to better serve the state and its citizens.
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