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News & Press: eNews

October eNews: Happy Fall, Updates, and More!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019  
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Happy Fall, Students and Faculty!

With the academic year in full swing, we know it is a busy season for many of our campuses. At TICUA, we are proud to kick off the fourth cohort of the Executive Leadership Institute. Additionally, TICUA President, Claude Pressnell, also took his higher education knowledge across international to help growing countries learn from all the amazing things our higher education institutions are doing here in the states.


TICUA Proudly Presents 2019-20 Executive Leadership Institute Class

Diane Berty, Vice President

TICUA welcomed fourteen senior officials from private and independent colleges across the state to the fourth cohort of the Executive Leadership Institute, which prepares university leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to serve students and build healthy campuses.


“The Executive Leadership Institute is unlike any other leadership development program in the state and nation, and we are excited to begin the fourth cohort,” said Claude Pressnell, President of TICUA. “Over the next nine months, these senior campus officials will have the opportunity to learn from each other and leaders in higher education about what it takes to build and sustain a healthy campus that helps students succeed.”


During their first session at Rhodes College on September 17 and 18, the fellows learned about politics governance and board development. Dr. Marjorie Hass, president of Rhodes, shared her insights regarding institutional governance and board relations. Emma Jones, partner and chief brand officer of Credo addressed the current landscape of private higher education and the overarching opportunities and challenges facing its leadership. Senator Delores Gresham, Senate Education, Tennessee State Legislature and Representative Mark White, House Education Administration & Planning, Tennessee State Legislature, discussed the legislature’s higher education agenda. Fellows also hear from a panel of experts from across the state discuss higher education and the political framework within which institutions operate.A special thank you to Dr. Hass and the Rhodes College team for their gracious hospitality!


Click here to read more about the individual participants and what they will focusing on during the cohort.




Over 100,000 Degrees Awarded in the Last Five Years from TICUA Member Institutions

Monday, September 23, 2019

Tennessee’s private non-profit colleges and universities awarded more than 20,000 degrees in the 2018-2019 academic period to students completing a wide range of academic and professional programs. Continuing a trend of strong academic completion, TICUA institutions awarded more than 100,000 degrees in the last five years.

“Tennessee college graduates must be prepared to enter a dynamic economy with high-value, in-demand degrees,” saidTICUA President, Claude Pressnell. “Our 34 member institutions ensure students receive the academic and financial support they need to not only begin their degree— but complete it.”

The most popular degrees were in business, health care, and education. More than 2,600 degrees were awarded in the STEM or technical fields.

“As our state pushes toward the Drive to 55, TICUA member institutions are helping more students access a great education and earn a degree— no matter where or when they started college,” said Pressnell. “All students should have the opportunity to attend a school that best meets their needs, and our institutions show year after year that student choice is critical to student success.”

Of the 20,000 degrees awarded, 31% went to students who transferred into one of the TICUA member colleges and universities. Additionally, 26% of the degrees were awarded to students age 25 and over. The most popular degrees awarded to adult learners included business, health related fields, and criminal justice.




Institutional Accreditation Discussion with Myanmar

Claude Pressnell, President

Dr. Claude Pressnell was invited by the government and higher education community of Myanmar (Burma) to advise them on institutional accreditation. Many countries throughout South Asia have begun the process of establishing governmental accreditation bodies.

Pressnell was invited to specifically address the U.S. model of accreditation from the perspective of the accrediting body. His experience on the Board of Directors of SACSCOC and U.S. Senate appointment to NACIQI informed his presentations and time with the Myanmar’s accreditation board.

Pressnell has spent the past two decades advising foreign governments on accreditation and institutional quality in the Middle East, Southeast Europe, South America and Asia. Visit us on Facebook to see pictures from the trip.





A Message from NAICU Concerning Fair Labor Standards Act

Barbara K. Mistick, D.M., President, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final rule for overtime pay requirements under the FairLabor Standards Act. The rule increases the annual salary threshold for white collar exempt employees to $35,568 (from $23,660). This is only slightly higher than DOL proposed earlier this year, and significantly less than the $47,476 amount proposed during the Obama Administration when many of you expressed concerns about the impact such a significant raise would have on your campus.

Employers, including c
olleges and universities, will have to be in compliance by January 1, 2020.

In addition to increasing the salary threshold, the final rule raises the total annual compensation level for highly compensated employees to $107,432 (from $100,000). In recognition of changing pay practices, this annual raise will allow employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level. The rule indicates that measures will be taken by DOL to update and adjust the salary threshold going forward, but does not include details on how that will be administered.

In May, NAICU signed on to comments drafted by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) responding to the proposed rule.

Responding to today’s announcement, CUPA-HR will be offering a free webinar on the details of the final rule onOctober 3, 2019, at 1:00 pm EST. Leading the webinar will be Alex Passantino, a former acting administrator for DOL’s Wage and Hour Division.




The New FLSA Salary Threshold: Tools Institutions Have in Their Toolboxes as They Manage Payroll Budgets

Jeb Gerth, Waller Law

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its anticipated final rule raising the salary threshold for the white collar exemptions from $455 per week to $684 per week (or from $23,660 per year to $35,568 per year). As NAICU’s succinct summary (above) indicates, all employers, including colleges and universities, must comply by January 1, 2020.

While $35,568 per year is significantly less than the $47,476 previously set to take effect in 2016, it still represents an increase of nearly $12,000 from the current salary threshold, and for institutions in many areas, that presents challenges to budgets that are already strained. Recognizing this reality, it is worth noting some of those aspects of federal wage and hour law that continue to provide institutions some budgeting flexibility even after the January 1, 2020 effective date of the new rule.

Athletic coaches as teachers

Coaches and assistant coaches may qualify for the exemption for teachers, for which the salary threshold does not apply. On January 5, 2018, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued an opinion letter relaying WHD’s view of those coaching duties that qualify for the exemption for teachers. Jan. 5, 2018 Opinion Letter available here. The Opinion Letter goes on to confirm that neither a teaching certificate nor a particular academic degree is required to satisfy the teaching exemption. Thus, coaches and assistant coaches whose primary duties are coaching may qualify for the teachers exemption and thus fall outside of the salary threshold for the white collar exemptions.

Exempt employees who don’t work during the Summer term

While teachers are not subject to the salary threshold requirement of the FLSA, exempt employees who fall within the customary white collar exemptions are. For those exempt staff who only work during the Fall and Spring terms, the FLSA only requires that they are paid at the statutory salary threshold during the period of time they are working, even if their salaries are paid over 12 months. As the WHD’s Field Operations Handbook confirms:

The exemption is not lost in the situation where an annual salary covering a duty period of less than a year, when prorated over the full 12 months, computes to an amount less than the required minimum, provided that the amount of salary when prorated over the actual duty period meets the required minimum amount (e.g., employment provided by schools for 10 months of the year, under which the annual salary is paid in 12 equal monthly installments throughout the year).

For (non-teacher) exempt staff who work 10 months per year, this rule could bring the effective annual salary threshold below $30,000 per year.

Student Employees

In March 2018, WHD provided additional guidance for Higher Ed institutions on FLSA compliance that includes guidance regarding certain student worker positions that are generally exempt from the FLSA and the salary threshold. Those positions include (1) graduate teaching assistants, who generally qualify for the teacher exemption; (2) research assistants, who arguably are not deemed “employees” even if they receive a stipend; and (3) student residential assistants, who also generally are not deemed employees, even though they are receiving reduced room and board charges or tuition credits.




CHASCo Registration for November Meeting

Kayce Matthews, Director, CHASCo

Registration for the November Meeting is now open! Please join us for ourMembership Meeting scheduled for Friday, November 22, 2019. This meeting will take place at Watkins College of Art and is scheduled from 11:00-2:00pm Central Time. Lunch will be provided. CHASCo members are encouraged to invite colleagues who may be interested, including student affairs professionals, counselors, compliance officers, administrators, etc. All are welcome to join us. Visit the website for more information and/or to register.

CHASCo will be hosting a Compliance Webinar on Friday, October 25, 2019. This is a requirement for all campuses that receive funding from CHASCo. Please click here to register.




October 3rd

MEP Governing Committee Bi-Weekly Meetings


October 15th and 16th

TICUA Executive Leadership Institute

Bethel University


October 17th

MEP Governing Committee Bi-Weekly Meetings


October 31st

MEP Governing Committee Bi-Weekly Meetings


November 5th

Government Affairs Council Fall Meeting

Waller Law Firm


November 6th

TICUA MEP Face-to-Face Meeting

Waller Law Firm


November 12th

TICUA Executive Leadership Institute

Bryan College