Saturday, February 19, 2011
TSU's President Dr. Portia Shields: Change Gonna Come
Dr. Portia Holmes Shields is officially at helm of Tennessee State University. Dr. Shields reminds every one of her favorite song when she addresses concerns about Big Blue; “Change is Gonna Come.” The first female president of the 99-year-old university was named interim president in mid-December and officially began her duties on January 2. Dr. Shields has 18 months on the job and is not wasting a moment. She is determined to turn things around.
At a recent general assembly meeting attended by more than 400 faculty and staff members, Dr. Portia Shields gave updates to the campus on a number of upcoming changes, including more visitor parking, a reduction in force, the installation of a SACS Leadership Team, implementing Saturday make up classes, community engagement, inference from individuals regarding reaffirmation and security issues. Shields also announced the appointment of Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, Dr. Pamela Burch-Sims, as the University’s liaison to SACS.
Shields called the meeting to order and asked members of her cabinet to provide updates on a number of upcoming changes that would affect the campus. Cynthia Brooks, vice president for business and finance, announced a reduction in force (RIF) and explained how the RIF would be conducted. Dr. Dennis Gendron, vice president of communications and information technologies, gave an overview of how the newly adopted Tennessee Complete College Act would effect performance funding dollars. Finally, Dr. Michael A. Freeman, vice president of Student Affairs, gave an update on how reserved parking would be eliminated in favor of increased visitor parking.
Shields also introduced the installation of a SACS Leadership Team, headed by Burch-Sims, who has been appointed the University’s liaison to the SACS Commission on Colleges. The other members of the SACS Leadership include Dr. Peter Nwosu, special assistant to the President for institutional planning, and Dr. Timothy Quain, a faculty member in the Department of Language, Literature, and Philosophy. The trio delivered a plan and timeline for the report the University has to submit for reaffirmation.
Change is coming. Get ready.