Last updated on April 8, 2021
By Victoria Long
Volunteer State Community College began the search for the next president March 25 after the Tennessee Board of Regents approved of Chancellor Tydings’ search proposal.
According to The College System of Tennessee YouTube channel, the board met via Zoom to discuss various responsibilities, and the search for Vol State’s new president was one of them. During the meeting, Tydings presented the search plan while referring to the position “criteria” found in the board materials.
“Upon approval of the criteria, the position will be advertised with various higher education publications. We have asked executive search firm, Greenwood Asher and Associates, to assist the search advisory committee with providing qualified applicants through their database, references and advertisements,” said Tydings.
“Upon approval, Regent MaryLou Apple has agreed to chair this search along with Vice-Chair Emily Reynolds and Regent Joey Hatch serving as board representatives. Representatives from the student body, faculty, administration, staff, alumni, community, and business leaders will also be part of the search advisory committee,” said Tydings.
According to the TBR news article, Aysha Patel and Deb Bennett will be members of the search committee as representatives of the student body. Jennifer James and Erin Bloom will be the faculty representatives. Beth Carpenter and Nicholas Bishop as the administrative staff representatives. Meredith Young will be the professional staff representative, and Andrea Nunley the support staff representative. The alumni, Evelyn Hill, will also serve on the committee. Those to represent the Vol State community will be Susan Peach and Kee Bryant-McCormick. And business leaders Matt Ricker, David Gregory and Jimmy Johnston will also serve on the committee.
According to the guidelines, criteria approval and search committee establishment are only the first steps to filling a presidential position as people will now apply for the advertised position and the interview processed will begin for those selected.
“The search committee’s job will be to review the candidates who either apply for or are nominated by others for the position and then to select up to three finalists. Those finalists would be publicly announced, and they would have met with the campus community, including a public forum, to present themselves and answer questions,” said The Communications Director for the Chancellor’s Office, Richard Locker.
“The campus community and the public would also have the opportunity to provide their views on the candidates to the chancellor, who will have final interviews with the finalists and consider all the feedback from the public and campus community before making a single recommendation to the Board of Regents. The board ultimately makes the appointment,” said Locker.
“While approved, the first meeting of the search advisory committee is set to begin their work April 28. Referencing and campus interviews are scheduled for throughout May and June with a special call meeting of the board sometime in July. Anticipating that we would have a new president to be in place on September the first,” said Tydings.
According to the board materials, “Initial screenings of applicants will begin April 20, 2021 and it is anticipated that the president will be selected prior to Aug. 1, 2021.”
“It’s not late at all and five months is adequate for a quality search,” said Locker.
“The only challenge that might occur is if the finalist public forum and campus interviews have to be conducted virtually due to continuing pandemic conditions…” said Locker.
Locker mentions Vol State’s retiring President, Jerry Faulkner, who has remained with Vol State after the announcement.
“President Faulkner generously gave Chancellor Tydings and the Board of Regents adequate notice of his plans to retire to allow the search process plenty of time to occur, so there is no need for an interim presidency,” said Locker.
“I begged him for six months to give me time to look for a new person because we could not put an interim into Volunteer State. We needed him to stay until we could conduct a search because of the great job that he has done there,” Tydings said.
The community and the public can get involved with the campus interviews and public forum once the necessary information is released.