Governor Haslam to Discuss College Completion Strategies with Higher Ed, Business Leaders at Summit

Governor Bill Haslam will provide the keynote speech and participate in a town hall conversation about strategies to improve college completion with higher education leaders from the states public universities and community colleges this Thursday.

Haslam will join business leaders, higher education system officials and campus teams from the states 22 public community colleges and universities for the Tennessee College Completion Summit. Organized by the Tennessee Business Roundtable, the Summit is designed to examine successes and lessons learned about strategies to accelerate degree production, improve college completion and stimulate more innovative workforce development initiatives.

Haslam will join the Summit from 11 a.m. to noon Central Time on Thursday, March 27, at the AT&T-Tennessee headquarters in downtown Nashville.

Currently in Tennessee, only 32 percent of Tennesseans have a certificate or degree beyond high school, and studies show that by the year 2025 that number needs to be at least 55 percent for us to keep up with job demand, Haslam said. We must have qualified Tennesseans to fill those positions, and I look forward to Thursdays discussion about best practices and shared strategies for college completion as we pursue our Drive to 55 initiative.

The Summit will highlight progress in the Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee systems and identify challenges and opportunities ahead as the campuses and systems work toward meeting the goals of Haslams Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans who earn college credentials.

Other speakers at the summit include: William Fox, director of the UT Center for Business & Economic Research; John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents; Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee; Tristan Denley, TBR vice chancellor for Academic Affairs; and Katie High, UT vice president for Academic Affairs and Student Success.

The Summit builds on the work of the Tennessee College Completion Academies in 2011 and 2012. The two-day intensive meetings allowed campus leaders to learn from national content experts and helped them develop strategic plans and goals in areas such as improving time-to-degree, designing new structures to help students balance education with careers and families, aligning resources for success, engaging campus leaders, and building community support.

Our institutions have been keenly focused on identifying strategies and sharing best practices to enhance student success without sacrificing quality, said Morgan. The results are impressive already, and this Summit provides an opportunity to highlight the most effective efforts and examine how to scale them across our systems.

The University of Tennessee remains committed to enhancing educational excellence across all of our campuses and providing students with resources to help them succeed and graduate with a valuable degree, said UT President Joe DiPietro. I am proud of the work our campuses have done to increase retention and graduation rates, and I look forward to exploring and identifying more ways we can make an impact in college completion that will improve the future for all Tennesseans.

The Tennessee Business Roundtable is the statewide organization of CEOs and business leaders who are committed to sound public policy, especially in education and workforce development.

The Roundtable is pleased to host the Tennessee College Completion Summit for institutions to share and learn from each other as we strive to meet Governor Haslams goal to improve degree production in the Volunteer State, said Charlie Howorth, the Roundtables executive director.