Dr. Brian Noland became the ninth president of East Tennessee State University 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 achieved its highest graduation, retention, and employee satisfaction rates in history and secured record-breaking levels of research funding. President 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 Greene 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, President 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 (CARE) 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, President Noland helped secure recurring public funds for ETSU’s Gatton College of Pharmacy, which previously had been funded entirely through tuition and private donations.
President 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.
President Noland is a board member for the American Council on Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, Ballad Health, Bank of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.