September 13, 2016

New Tennessee Education Organization Aims to Increase Number of College Grads

Complete Tennessee launches with mission to promote higher education attainment statewide

NASHVILLE, TN – Complete Tennessee, a new education advocacy group focused on increasing postsecondary attainment in Tennessee, officially launched today with former Tennessee Board of Regents assistant vice chancellor Dr. Kenyatta Lovett serving as executive director. The organization will work with local communities statewide to identify opportunities and best practices to promote college completion and increase graduation rates.

Dr. Lovett said, “Tennessee has taken bold action to raise the bar on student achievement in public K-12 schools, significantly raising high school graduation rates to almost 90 percent. Despite this progress, postsecondary achievement has room for serious improvement, with graduation rates near the single digits at some public institutions and an overall average of less than 45 percent for all public two- and four-year institutions. This means that more than half – and, in some cases, more than three-quarters – of college students in Tennessee are not achieving their dream of earning a degree or certificate – and that is unacceptable.”

Dr. Lovett continued, “As we work to dramatically increase the number of Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate, we need an organization that can spearhead and align community investment and engagement on the ground. Complete Tennessee will prepare local stakeholders, community leaders and families with the data and resources necessary to identify and follow pathways to postsecondary success.”

Complete Tennessee’s mission of supporting increased postsecondary access and completion will be advanced through four objectives: enhanced community engagement, improved research and accountability metrics, advanced leadership development through a new Leadership Academy, and heightened innovation through shared best practices. Complete Tennessee will also explore pathways to mobilize and engage student voices. To learn more about Complete Tennessee’s work, click here.

Dr. Lovett has been a fixture in Tennessee’s higher education community for years. In his role as assistant vice chancellor for community college initiatives for the Tennessee Board of Regents, he led the operational strategy to implement Tennessee Promise and implemented several initiatives to improve the community college system. Prior to joining the Tennessee Board of Regents, Kenyatta spent nearly a decade working at Volunteer State Community College, where he served in a variety of demanding roles, including director of public relations and, ultimately, chief of staff for the institution’s president.

Dr. Lovett will lead Complete Tennessee with help from a robust board of directors that includes leaders in business and higher education from cities across Tennessee. Complete Tennessee has also assembled a dynamic 22-person steering committee comprised of representatives and students from across the state who will help ensure the organization’s activities and initiatives can effectively engage communities in diverse regions of Tennessee.

For more information about Complete Tennessee, including a full list of board and steering committee members, visit www.CompleteTennessee.com.

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