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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

3-5 finalists to be interviewed for Motlow presidency

March 23, 2015
by Kelly Lapczynski
, Tullahoma News

Selecting finalists to succeed retiring Motlow College president Dr. MaryLou Apple is the task of an advisory committee that met Wednesday to discuss the process of choosing a new leader.

Warren Nichols, vice chancellor of community colleges for the Tennessee Board of Re-gents, discusses the duties of the president of Motlow College Wednesday at a public meeting of the presidential search committee. The committee is tasked with selecting appropriate candidates from the field of applicants to fill the position that will be left vacant by Dr. MaryLou Apple's June retirement. - Motlow College Photo
Opening the public forum, committee chairman Fran Marcum, a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), outlined the responsibilities of the presidential search committee.

"The presidential search is one of the most important jobs the Regents and chancellor have and they take it very seriously," she said. "We will dedicate our time and attention to finding the very best president for this college."

The presidential search committee is made up of 19 members, each representing some segment of the diverse constituency of the college. Serving are Regents, faculty, staff, students, members of the business community and members from the community at large.

"This is a screening committee," Marcum said. "This is an advisory to the chancellor and it has responsibilities to provide three to five names of potential candidates to the chancellor for consideration."

To date, Motlow has received roughly 40 applications for the position that will be left vacant by Apple upon her June 30 retirement.

The committee will evaluate each of those applications, but only three to five finalists will ultimately be brought to the Motlow campus for an interview.

Following those interviews, Chancellor John Morgan will recommend one of the candidates to the TBR for approval. If approved, that person will become the college's new president.

Any applicant not selected to interview at the college as a finalist will remain unnamed, Morgan said, allowed confidentiality by a 2012 change in the Tennessee open meetings and public record laws.

"The law allows us that process to offer confidentiality until the final stage," said Morgan. The change, he says, allows qualified applicants to express their interest in an open position without compromising any position they currently hold.

"It's important that we get the best leadership we can find," said Morgan. "The kinds of candidates we really hope will be attracted to this opportunity are hesitant to put their name out there until they get to a point where it's a short enough list there's a real opportunity."

Once the finalists have been named - most likely in April - there will be a required 10-day to two-week waiting period before the board can vote.

Warren Nichols, TBR vice chancellor of community colleges, explained that "the duties of the president are varied and many but when you get down to the crux of it, it is the responsibility of leading an organization to fulfill the needs of the state in producing students for the workforce and for transfers to universities and in working with business and industries to help economic development issues.

"In my opinion, it's about 'how do we make our students successful?' If you make students successful, then the economy becomes successful. Business and industry is successful. But it's all about making sure you are leading an organization that has responsibilities for students, faculty and staff, administration, business and industry. It's a very complex job."

"The president reports directly to Chancellor Morgan but has day to day administrative management responsibilities and accountability for everything that happens in the Motlow service area."

The application date for best consideration (March 11) has passed, but Morgan said, "We will continue to get materials and will continue to look at them."

The committee is expected to select finalists for interviews in April. The chancellor is expected to make his recommendation to the board in May or June.

More information on the presidential search process, including the criteria for selection, can be found at

Motlow State Community College is a public, multi-campus college offering associate degrees, certificates and flexible learning pathways. The main campus is located in Moore County with learning centers in Fayetteville, McMinnville and Smyrna, a teaching site in Sparta and a partnership in Shelbyville at the Middle Tennessee Education Center.

The TBR 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 the 27 colleges of applied technology, providing programs to more than 200,000 students across the state.