Board approves largest pay increase for employees in the university’s modern history

During its quarterly meeting held earlier today, East Tennessee State University’s Board of Trustees approved the largest pay increase for employees in the university’s modern history.  This includes raising the university’s starting hourly wage for full-time, benefits-eligible employees to at least $13.65, a 19.3 percent increase over the current starting rate of $11.44.

The starting wages for employees of ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine and Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy will be at least $15 per hour. Additionally, full-time, benefits-eligible employees will receive a 4.5 percent increase, capped at $7,500 per person. The $7,500 maximum does not apply to employees of the Quillen or Gatton colleges. Employee raises will be effective retroactively to Nov. 1, and increases will be reflected in November paychecks.   


Also, during the meeting, trustees unanimously approved a new five-year contract for ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland, whose existing contract expires at the end of December. 

“President Noland is a forward-thinking leader and an ardent advocate for our students and our communities,” Dr. Linda Latimer, chair of the ETSU Board of Trustees, said. “Leading an institution of the size and scope of ETSU, which includes a robust academic health sciences center including a medical school, is an enormous job that requires talent of the highest caliber. Dr. Noland has the rare gift of being both innovative and pragmatic. During his tenure, he has led numerous initiatives that have transformed our institution while ensuring stability and security for our students, faculty and staff. Anyone who meets him — or his wife, Donna — can see that they are both deeply committed to expanding opportunities for students and uplifting our region. I look forward to seeing what we will accomplish with him at the helm for another five years.”

“My family and I are honored to be part of this community and to call East Tennessee home,” Noland said. “I am grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to continue serving ETSU and this region. Together with our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners, we are building something truly special here.”      

Noland became the ninth president of ETSU in January 2012. Under his leadership, ETSU has undertaken a series of groundbreaking initiatives to advance the university’s longstanding mission to improve the quality of life for people in the region and beyond. During his tenure, ETSU has welcomed its largest ever incoming class of students; achieved its highest graduation, retention and employee satisfaction rates in history; and secured record-breaking levels of research funding.

Noland has secured resources for and overseen some of the institution’s largest and most transformative capital projects, including the complete renovations of the D.P. Culp Student Center, Brown Hall and Lamb Hall as well as the construction of William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium, the state-of-the-art Martin Center for the Arts, the Interprofessional Education and Research Center, a new academic building and a new integrated health services center.

Sustaining ETSU’s focus on regional service, Noland has partnered with civic and corporate entities to position the university as a national leader in interprofessional health care research and training and in the field of rural health. Under his leadership, ETSU has launched several state- and privately funded health research and care centers, including the ETSU and Ballad Health Strong BRAIN Institute, a first-of-its-kind institute dedicated to promoting the awareness and study of adverse childhood experiences; the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation in Women’s Health; the Addiction Science Center; the Center for Rural Health Research; the ETSU/NORC Rural Health Equity Research Center; the Center for Cardiovascular Risk Research; and the Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement. In 2023, working closely with members of the Tennessee General Assembly,  Noland helped secure recurring public funds for ETSU’s Gatton College of Pharmacy, which previously had been funded entirely through tuition and private donations.

Noland has guided ongoing innovations within ETSU’s academic portfolio and curricula. This includes the launch of the BlueSky Institute, a 27-month computer science program developed hand-in-hand with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee through which students receive training and mentoring onsite at BCBS’s headquarters and earn job offers immediately following graduation. In 2022, he guided the development and launch of the “Go Beyond the Classroom” initiative, which expands the university’s focus on community-engaged learning and aims to provide all undergraduate students with real-world, hands-on experiences, such as internships, community service, research-intensive projects and study abroad.

Not long after he arrived at ETSU, he helped relaunch the university’s football and marching band programs, which had been inactive since 2003. The football team quickly established itself as a leader in the Southern Conference while the Marching Band boomed — literally and figuratively. The band grew to more than 300 members strong in just a few short years and was selected for the prestigious honor of performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  

The Nolands and their son Jackson also have established a strong tradition of leadership through service having launched or expanded initiatives such as the ETSU Elevates service grant program, Bucky’s Food Pantry, Bucky’s Career Closet, the Ron and Edith J. Carrier Center for Student Success and Engagement, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Plaza, the Military Affiliated Student Resource Center and other efforts to ensure all students have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and successfully earn a college diploma.  

“I have never been more excited than I am right now about the future of this institution,” Noland said. “I would like to thank the entire university community, including our students, faculty, staff, board of trustees, public representatives and community partners for their ongoing support of ETSU. Everything we have accomplished, we have done together. This is an institution that puts people first, and it is truly a remarkable place to be.”

For information about ETSU Board of Trustees meetings, visit


East Tennessee State University was founded in 1911 with a singular mission: to improve the quality of life for people in the region and beyond. Through its world-class health sciences programs and interprofessional approach to health care education, ETSU is a highly respected leader in rural health research and practices. The university also boasts nationally ranked programs in the arts, technology, computing, and media studies. ETSU serves approximately 14,000 students each year and is ranked among the top 10 percent of colleges in the nation for students graduating with the least amount of debt.

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