Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's effort to initiate improvements to the state's higher education system reflects the important goal that every college or university campus must improve the quality of education it offers to students who entrust their future to postsecondary education. Admittedly, the necessary changes will be very difficult, given the history and structure of the current governance model. Yet Haslam has already demonstrated in several ways his awareness of the needs.
During the last six months the governor has suggested that the University of Memphis have a board with designated authority, proposing to end the current model that gives the Board of Regents complete control of the university. A second action occurred when he had board nominees of both the Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee systems go before the education committee of the legislature. Later last spring Haslam obtained the authority to designate the head of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. These three actions indicate that Haslam understands governance of higher education in Tennessee needs to be reassessed.