Dr. Claude Pressnell, Jr.
Dr. Claude Pressnell, Jr., a native of Kansas, has spent over 30 years in higher education administration. He began his career at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri as an admission recruiter; within a year advanced to the position of Senior Director of Admissions and Student Development.
He holds a doctorate in higher education administration/educational leadership from Vanderbilt University. While attending Vanderbilt he served as the Director of Financial Assistance and Assistant Professor of Religion at Belmont University. In 1995 he served as the Founding Executive Director of the Institute for Family Studies in Colorado. Pressnell soon returned to Tennessee to become the Executive Director of the Tennessee Foundation for Independent Colleges and since 2000 has served as President of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.
In 2003 the United States Senate appointed Pressnell to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance where he served as Vice Chair from 2007 until his second and final term expired in 2008. In 2007, he testified before Congress on higher education policy issues. The Committee serves as an independent source of advice and counsel to the United States Congress and the Secretary of Education on student aid issues and higher education policy.
In June of 2011, Pressnell was selected for a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to develop the student financing policy for the Government of the Maldives. The policy and funding mechanisms were adopted by the Maldivian Parliament in 2012.
In August of 2013, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appointed Pressnell as a Commissioner representing the state’s interests on the Education Commission of the States.
In 2014 Pressnell was appointed by four US Senators to serve on a committee to recommend a pathway to reduce the federal regulatory burden on higher education in the United States.
In 2016 Pressnell was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for a six year term to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. NACIQI provides recommendations regarding accrediting agencies that monitor the academic quality of postsecondary institutions and educational programs for federal purposes.
In 2017 Pressnell was approached by US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to consider being appointed by President Donald Trump as the US Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education. This post serves as the United States chief higher education policy officer. After careful consideration, Pressnell respectfully declined the offer in order to remain in Tennessee and continue his work with TICUA.
Pressnell serves on numerous international, national, and state level boards. He also has served as an international advisor on higher education reform to foreign governments in the Middle East, South Asia, the Balkan region of Europe and South America.