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President Obama Cites Tennessee’s Efforts at Higher Ed Reform and APSU’s Degree Compass Program as Innovative Initiatives in Plan to Make College More Affordable

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 22, 2013) — The White House released a fact sheet this morning on President Barak Obama’s plan to make the nation’s colleges more affordable. Included in it and noted in the President’s speech today is recognition of Tennessee’s innovative higher education reform efforts and Austin Peay State University’s Degree Compass program.


Part of President Obama’s plan challenges states to fund public colleges based on performance, a practice already in place in Tennessee with the implementation of the outcomes-based funding formula.  The funding formula was a key part of the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010. TBR Chancellor John Morgan was part of the team instrumental in drafting and implementing the act.


Tennessee is on the forefront of improvements in higher education to focus on student success,” said Morgan. “The leadership provided by Governor Haslam, the General Assembly, and the previous administration have paved the way for this recognition. This is arguably the boldest attempt by any state in the country to focus the energies and resources of its public higher education enterprise on meeting the state’s development needs.”  


The White House fact sheet also highlights the Degree Compass program developed by Dr. Tristan Denley, Tennessee Board of Regents vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, who was provost at APSU when he created the software program. Degree Compass uses predictive analytics to increase student retention in college by helping them select courses they need and would most likely complete – in the same way Netflix might recommend a movie.


Among other innovative challenges in the President’s plan for higher education is the use of technology to redesign courses.  TBR is in the process of testing new technology platforms for online and blended learning that provide early feedback and analysis of interactions to help improve student learning. 



The Tennessee Board of Regents is among the nation’s largest higher education systems, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions.  The TBR system includes six universities, 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology, providing programs to more than 200,000 students across the state.




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