Tennessee Board of Regents on Thursday, Dec. 12 approved 12 new training programs at nine Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology across the state, and expanded learning-support programs for students of the TCATs.

Among those new programs is the addition of Building and Electrical Technology at TCAT Livingston.

In other action during the board’s quarterly meeting, Regents received a report on various measures of student success, including dual enrollment of high school students taking college courses and earning college credits.

Last year, students from all 95 counties participated in dual enrollment programs. The number of dual-enrolled students at community colleges doubled over the last decade – from 7,788 in Fall 2009 to 15,594 in Fall 2018. They comprised 19% of all Tennessee community college students in 2018, up from 8% in 2009. More details, including dual enrollment numbers by college, is available on TBR’s Data Dashboards at https://www.tbr.edu/policy-strategy/data-and-research.

The Board of Regents governs the College System of Tennessee – the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology.

Board members were also updated on the launch of a new review of the TBR Strategic Plan for 2015-2025. A 22-member Strategic Plan Steering Committee representing the board, college, and system level leaders and other state agency partners convened Wednesday for the first time to begin developing recommendations to the board for updating the plan.

The review is prompted by major state policy alterations since the current plan was adopted, including the Tennessee Promise and Reconnect scholarships and the FOCUS Act of 2016, which altered the board’s mission. The 10-year plan provided for periodic reviews and revisions.

Any recommendations for revisions must be approved by the board, probably at its September 2020 quarterly meeting.

The 12 new programs proposed by nine different TCATs will allow the colleges to be more responsive to the needs of students, businesses and industries in their regions. There were no new program requests at the community colleges this quarter.

The newly approved TCAT programs include Masonry Technology at TCAT Crossville.

The board also approved a new Technical College Learning Support policy expanding co-requisite learning-support courses to TCATs that have been offered at community colleges. Co-requisite classes are non-credit and offered concurrently with related for-credit courses, for students who need extra help. At the TCATs, the learning supports are to help students develop competencies in applied mathematics, graphic literacy, and reading for information necessary for success in technical college programs.

The Board also received results of the newest survey of recent TCAT graduates and their employers, which is conducted annually to assess the effectiveness and relevance of training programs.

The newest survey, of the 2017-18 cohort of graduates, found that 94% of survey respondents listed “excellent” or “good” when asked how well their program prepared them in terms of technical theory and knowledge needed to perform their jobs, and another 5% listed “satisfactory”. And among employers who responded, 95% rated the graduates’ overall job performance as “excellent,” “good” or “satisfactory”.

Those results were echoed in an update on the College System’s Program Warranty for Graduates of Technical Programs, which provides tuition-free retraining for graduates of technical programs whose employers say cannot perform the competencies and skills listed for their program – for up to one year after graduation.

The warranty began with Fall 2018 graduates. A total of 7,592 warranties were awarded through Summer 2019, and no claims have been filed.

The board’s complete agenda, supporting material, and an archived webcast of the meeting are available on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/board/december-quarterly-board-meeting-1.

The College System of Tennessee, governed by Tennessee Board of Regents, is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, and the online TN eCampus serving more than 110,000 students.