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News & Press: News Release

TICUA Graduates New Class from its Executive Leadership Institute

Wednesday, May 29, 2019  
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TICUA Graduates New Class from its Executive Leadership Institute

Future Higher-Ed Leaders Prepared to Build Healthy Campuses and Foster Student Success

Nashville, TN— This month, twenty senior officials from private and independent colleges across the state graduated from the third cohort of TICUA’s Executive Leadership Institute, an innovative leadership development program to prepare university leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to build healthy campuses and serve students.

“Tennessee’s colleges and universities are some of our most important resources for the continuing success of our economy and citizenry, and those stepping into executive roles must be prepared to lead,” said Claude Pressnell, President of TICUA. “With several colleges and universities experiencing leadership transitions in the last few years, it is more important than ever to invest in these leaders and help ensure they continue to thrive and serve our students and state well.”

The nine-month program is designed to strengthen campus leadership teams and prepare the next generation of leaders for college or university executive roles. ELI participants, known as Presnnell Fellows, are selected by their institution’s president to participate.

The 2019 Class of Pressnell Fellows marks the third class graduating from ELI, and in just three years of cohorts, ELI graduates have gone on to serve in leadership positions at Tennessee higher education institutions including the presidency of Johnson University, and interim presidencies at Martin Methodist University and Carson-Newman University.

“ELI was a great opportunity to meet and collaborate with my colleagues from across the state,” said Robby Shelton, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Martin Methodist University. “While the Fellows came from diverse campuses and backgrounds, the Institute enabled all of us to step outside our normal silos and think through broader challenges and opportunities that affect higher education. Because of this experience, we have an entire network of friends to call on, no matter where we go from here.”

"I am a better administrator, leader, and person because of TICUA’s Executive Leadership Institute," said Phil Cook, Vice President for Enrollment at Lee University. "Each topic we covered is critical to the success of our institutions, careers, and the academy. What I will remember most, however, is the stories, examples, and personal insights offered to us by each residential dean. The narratives shared by each chancellor or president were informative, encouraging, and motivating. I left each session impressed by the various strengths, personalities, and vision of these exemplary leaders."

During the course of the year-long program, the ELI Pressnell Fellows gain training and insight on key issues related to leading a higher education institution today including, institutional governance, educational policy and politics, strategic planning, friend- and fund-raising, public relations, internal and external communications, enrollment management, academics and faculty relations, and financial management.

In each of these areas, Fellows have the opportunity to learn from content experts and sitting TICUA member presidents and to explore solutions to campus-specific questions, problems, issues, or challenges utilizing data-driven decision-making.

2019 Pressnell Fellow with (from L to R, front row) Christian Brothers University President & TICUA Chair Dr. John Smarrelli, Trevecca Nazarene University President Dr. Dan Boone, TICUA President Claude Pressnell, and King University President Whit Whitaker.

2019 Pressnell Fellows:

Dr. William C. Smart Associate Provost, Aquinas College

Dr. Phillip E. Johnston Associate Provost, Belmont University

Mr. Seth Martin Executive Assistant, Finance & Special Projects, Bethel University

Dr. Douglas Mann Provost, Bryan College

Dr. LeAnn S. Davis Dean, College of Arts & Letters, Freed-Hardeman University

Ms. Cindy Barnard Vice President, Finance, Johnson University

Dr. Deborah J. Rogers Director, Student Success Initiatives, Lane College

Mr. Phil Cook Vice President, Enrollment, Lee University

Mr. Donnie Lipscomb Director, Advancement Lincoln Memorial University

Dr. Kristine LaLonde Associate Dean, College of Leadership & Public Service, Lipscomb University

Mr. Robby Shelton Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Martin Methodist University

Mr. Jeffery S. Ingle Vice President, Finance & Administration Maryville College

Dr. Rusty Gentry Program Manager, Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia

Ms. Jacqui Steadman Vice President, Finance Milligan College

Mr. Eric E. Hartman Vice President, Risk Management & Institutional Effectiveness Sewanee: The University of the South

Ms. Melinda Wolf Miller Executive Director, Admissions Trevecca Nazarene University

Ms. Jill Salyers Vice President, Institutional Advancement Tusculum University

Mr. Dan Griffin Vice President, Enrollment Union University

Ms. Laura Nairon Associate Vice President, Business Services Vanderbilt University

Dr. Kevin L. Hester Associate Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness Dean, School of Theology Welch College