MBJ: U of M to get major boost from home rule
It’s always difficult for colleges like the to break free from the shadow of larger state schools such as the .
For years, Memphians have grumbled that the local university was regularly overlooked by the public school’s governing board — and they may have been right on many occasions.
But, earlier this year, U of M advocates received good news when the Focus on College and University Success (FOCUS) Act passed. The law allows the University of Memphis — as well as Austin Peay State University, East Tennessee State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, among others — to have its own governing board going forward.
The board will now be in charge of appointing the next campus president, managing the university budget and setting tuition and overseeing other operational tasks.
We are encouraged and optimistic about the new board and its direction. There will be no more excuses for Memphis Tigers.
The state has effectively given the car keys to Memphis locals and alumni to drive the school’s future.
Having lost out on the bid to join the Big 12 Conference — perhaps to its long-term benefit, considering the mess the conference seems to be mired in now — the school is at a crossroads.
The U of M has a lot of big plans for growth and expansion over the next 10 years, and having local leadership at the top will be a huge boon going forward.
Just having the new local board won’t be enough to raise the profile of the school. That will still require continued engagement from alumni, students and the community at large.
But, at least now, a board tied to Memphis will have its hand on the wheel.