The board's policies and practices reflect decentralized decision-making and operations. Standardized policies are established to ensure institutional accountability while maintaining campus prerogatives.
The board maintains a strong committee structure through which all policies and other significant considerations are deliberated. Board members, as well as student and faculty representatives from the institutions, serve on these major committees: Academic Policies and Programs, Finance and Business Operations, Personnel, Student Life, Tennessee Technology Centers, Compensation, and Business, Community and Public Affairs. Additional committees are established on an ad hoc basis to address special concerns.
The chancellor is the chief executive of the system and is empowered to act on behalf of the board. The chancellor and his staff serve at the pleasure of the board and perform those duties prescribed by the board. As the board staff, they ensure implementation of board policies and directives, initiate and conduct studies, serve as liaison between the institutions and other state offices, provide certain centralized services, and provide leadership in the management of the system.
The board subscribes to a concept of strong presidencies in which the president is the chief executive officer of the institution with broadly delegated responsibilities for all facets of campus management and operations. The president serves at the pleasure of the board, reports to the board through the chancellor, and is the official medium of communication between the campus community and the chancellor. Students, faculty and staff share responsibilities in campus governance.
The policies through which the board implements its statutory responsibility for governance and management of the system establish both standards for consistency among the institutions and defined parameters to promote institutional flexibility and discretion. To ensure appropriate participation in the consideration of proposed board policies and system-wide decisions, all such matters are reviewed by a structure of system sub-councils, the presidents as a council, the board staff, and a board committee prior to their consideration by the board.