Haslam Appoints Mike Krause to Lead Tennessee Higher Ed Commission

(Photo: Samuel M. Simpkins, The Tennessean)

(Photo: Samuel M. Simpkins, The Tennessean)

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has appointed Mike Krause to the role of director of the state's Higher Education Commission.

The commission is responsible for the overview of the University of Tennessee system, as well as nine additional state universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 technical schools.

"Mike's enthusiasm for higher education and his passion for making college accessible to all Tennesseans have led to the success of Tennessee Promise," Haslam said. I know he will use that same drive and focus to help lead THEC during this exciting time for higher education in Tennessee."

Krause will take over on August 1 for interim director Russ Deaton, who was named deputy director. Deaton has been with THEC since 2000 when he started as a policy analyst. He later served nine years as director of fiscal policy analysis.

Krause has served as executive director of the "Drive to 55" campaign since it was created by Haslam in 2014. The efforts of the program hope to raise the number of residents of the state who hold a postsecondary degree to 55% by 2025, reports Rob Canning for WKMS.

Discussing the campaign, Krause said it has helped to increase the number of citizens enrolling in college. He said he expects to continue to work with legislators, employers, and higher education leaders to ensure that those numbers continue to increase.

 "In Tennessee, we're working to make sure that every student – from the high school graduate to the returning adult – has the tools he or she needs to access and succeed in higher education and find a quality job in the workforce," Krause said.

He also oversaw the implementation of the Tennessee Promise Initiative.

Before he joined the Drive to 55 campaign, Krause was assistant executive director for academic affairs at THEC. While in that role he successfully expanded the Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support (SAILS) program across the state. In addition, he was responsible for pioneering state efforts in massive open online education and the coordination of several grant programs.

Krause served in the United States Army and Tennessee National Guard for eight years before joining the state government. He completed three combat tours with the 101st Airborne Division and received the Bronze Star during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Krause is taking over the THEC as it increases its role under the Focus On College and Student Success (FOCUS) Act. The department will be responsible for additional coordination of the Tennessee higher education systems throughout the state, including capital project management, institutional mission approval, and higher education finance strategy.

Originally created in 1967, THEC is responsible for the overseeing of the development of the master plan for higher education in the state. In addition, the commission makes recommendations for capital appropriations within the governor's budget, establishes tuition levels, and approves new academic programs.

In his new role, Kraus will be also jointly lead the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), responsible for the administration of state and federal student financial assistance programs, which includes the state lottery scholarship program that serves 100,000 students with $300 million in awards.

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