TBR Chancellor recommends Allana Hamilton as new president at Jackson State; Board to vote Dec. 15

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor David Gregory will recommend Dr. Allana R. Hamilton as the next president of Jackson State Community College in a special called meeting of the Board on Dec. 15.

Hamilton is currently vice president for academic affairs at Northeast State Community College in Blountville, Tenn., a position she has held since 2010. She served in that role on an interim basis from 2008 to 2010.

The chancellor’s recommendation will go before the Board of Regents in a special telephone conference call meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. CST next Thursday, Dec. 15. The Board appoints all community college presidents and College of Applied Technology directors in the TBR system.

Hamilton has worked at Northeast State since 1991, initially as an adjunct faculty instructor in biology. She joined the faculty on a full-time basis in 1992 and worked her way up through the faculty ranks from instructor, assistant professor and associate professor to tenured professor and biology department curriculum coordinator. From 2001 to 2008, she served as academic division chair and dean before her appointment as vice president for academic affairs.

In that role, she led the faculty, staff and administration in support of the college’s instructional program. She helped develop new academic programs based on the community’s needs, including, for examples, an industrial operations technical certificate and a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiative involving K-12 schools, public and private colleges and universities, employers and community members.

She also provided oversight and guidance to academic deans and for evening and distance education, learning support, the library, honors program, and teaching and learning resources at Northeast. She continuously evaluated the effectiveness of existing academic programs; participated in institutional strategic planning, and developed and managed a $19 million instructional budget.

“Allana Hamilton is a true professional in every sense of the word,” Gregory said today in announcing his recommendation. “She has a strong background in working both with our academic programs as well as working directly with students. I believe that she will be a wonderful fit for Jackson State Community College and the community.”

Hamilton earned her bachelor of science degree in biology at Tusculum College in 1987, a master of science in biological sciences at East Tennessee State University in 1991, and a doctorate in education at ETSU in 2011.

Her experience both in the classroom and in the college’s top leadership will enable her to continue an emphasis on student success, retention and improved graduation rates at Jackson State as it moves forward in the statewide Drive to 55 initiative, Gregory said. Drive to 55 is the state’s effort to equip at least 55 percent of its working age population by 2025 with the post-high-school degrees, diplomas and certificates that will be required for most jobs by that time.

In addition to her career at Northeast, Hamilton has been a volunteer instructor for the American Red Cross and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, an adjunct professor and teaching assistant at ETSU, an MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) biology instructor for Kaplan Test Prep Inc., a summer season naturalist at Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park and Warrior’s Path State Park and a staff chemist at BASF Inc. She was a student worker in the registrar’s office while attending Tusculum College.

In addition to her 25 years at Northeast, her commitment to the mission and philosophy of community colleges is underscored by her enrollment and participation in at least nine leadership institutes and academies focused on student, faculty and institutional success, including the Tennessee Board of Regents Advanced Leadership Academy, Regents Community College Leadership Academy and a 150-hour internship focused on performance funding and research. Her doctoral dissertation focused on student persistence to graduation within a community college.

She has served on more than two dozen committees, some as chair and co-chair, leading various initiatives at Northeast. And she is a Northeast Outstanding Faculty Award winner.

Her complete resume is available on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/hr/executivesearches/president-jackson-state-community-college

The next president will succeed Dr. Bruce Blanding, Jackson State’s fourth president, who retired in September after leading the college since February 2004. Horace Chase, JSCC’s vice president of financial and administrative affairs for 17 years, was named interim president of the college on Sept. 2 and will serve until the next president is selected and arrives on the campus, probably in January.

The search for a new president began in June when the Board of Regents approved the criteria for the search and the president. A 16-member search advisory committee was appointed in August, composed of three Regents and 13 representatives of faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community. Its charge was to identify and interview candidates and narrow the applicant pool to three to five finalists. The committee held its first meeting and a campus and community public forum on Sept. 1.

The committee nominated four finalists on Nov. 7, and each of the four spent a day on the Jackson campus participating in meetings and open forums for faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community at large during the week of Nov. 14. The campus forums were also live streamed and are archived on the TBR website. In making his recommendation, the chancellor took into account input from the search committee and from across the campus and community received after the visits and forums.

The Dec. 15 Board telephone conference call is open to the public and media. Those wishing to dial in to listen should contact Richard Locker, TBR interim communications director, at rick.locker@tbr.edu or 615-366-4417 by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Jackson State Community College is a public, comprehensive, multi-campus college offering associate degrees and certificates in a learning-centered environment. Its primary service area encompasses 14 West Tennessee counties. The main campus is in Jackson, Tenn., with additional campus locations in Humboldt, Lexington and Savannah. It also offers courses in several high schools and other sites across the region. Jackson State has been ranked as one of the most tech-savvy community colleges in the country.