With the passage of the Focus on College and University Success (FOCUS) Act by the 109th Tennessee General Assembly, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) began the transition from governance by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) to an institutional board of trustees. The FOCUS Act granted the state’s six public universities in the TBR system additional autonomy to empower each individual institution to be successful as Tennessee works to achieve its goal of 55 percent of adult Tennesseans having a postsecondary degree or credential by 2025.
Eight of the ten-member Board of Trustees for ETSU have been appointed by Governor Bill Haslam, and the ETSU Faculty Senate has elected the faculty representative who will serve on the board. Once convened, the Board will determine a process for the selection of a student representative. The university’s newly appointed trustees will appear before the Tennessee General Assembly for confirmation hearings, and if confirmed, will receive orientation and professional development from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), the state level coordinating body. The ETSU Board of Trustees will have authority to appoint the campus president, manage the university budget and set tuition, and oversee other operational tasks.
The ETSU Board of Trustees will assume responsibility upon the first called meeting by Governor Haslam anticipated for the Spring of 2017.