Patrick Davis, Director of Distance Education at Jackson State, will be participating in this years class of Maxine Smith Fellows. A number of participants are selected from various Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) institutions each year to participate in this program.
Patrick has been with Jackson State for 8 years and has served in the role of Director of Distance Education for the duration. He holds an Associate of Science in Communication from JSCC and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a major in Communication (A/V Production) and a minor in Political Science. Patrick has continued with graduate studies and earned an MBA in Technology Management and an MAEd with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. He is currently enrolled at East Tennessee State University School of Graduate Studies in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis doctoral program (Postsecondary and Private Sector Leadership Concentration).
I am excited, yet humbled to receive such a prestigious honor, said Davis. When asked how he felt the Maxine Smith Fellows Program would benefit him professionally, Patrick replied, Maxine Smith was such a pioneer, innovator and activist, tirelessly opening doors and creating opportunities for everyone to have access to higher education. My goal is to continue to support her vision and legacy. Davis feels this fellowship is not only an opportunity to get a first-hand look at the inner workings of TBR, but rather exposure to academic leaders and policymakers. It is his professional goal to one day earn the opportunity to lead a community college as its president in Tennessee.
As a part of the program, Patrick will be assigned to a senior level administrative mentor at the TBR System Office. He will be required to meet with his mentor at least once a month, February through September. They will determine a project that relates to a major activity in higher education administration. During the course of the program, Patrick will engage in a variety of observational and participatory activities which might include: an overview of the TBR System presented by the major division in the TBR central office; attendance at various system-wide meetings; or workshops and presentations on topics of special interest.
The Maxine Smith Fellows Program was originally created as a TBR central office Geier initiative designed to provide opportunities for African-American TBR employees to participate in a working and learning environment that would enhance work experience and career development. The TBR central office remains committed to the program as a tool for enhancing opportunities and as a means to increase the diversity of ideas, thoughts and experiences that ultimately enhance the educational environment at our institutions.
Objectives of the program include increasing the academic and professional credentials of the participants, allowing them to observe and participate in decision-making situations, and providing them the opportunity to experience policy-making process at various levels in the organization. It is also a goal of the program to increase the number of qualified applicants from underrepresented groups for senior level administrative positions at TBR institutions.
The Tennessee Board of Regents system consists of 46 institutions with a combined annual enrollment of over 200,000 students, making it the nation’s sixth largest system of public higher education. TBR’s six state universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 technology centers offer classes in 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The TBR system is a $2.2 billion per year enterprise.
The mission of the Tennessee Board of Regents system is to educate more Tennesseans in order to provide Tennessee with the workforce it needs for sound economic development. Our technology centers are exclusively focused on workforce development, which is also a major emphasis in our community colleges. The latter also provide degrees designed for transfer to a university. At our universities, the priorities are student preparation and research, with five of our six universities granting doctoral degrees.